Cases of the flu continue to climb in Iowa as spot shortages of the flu vaccine are being reported around the state. Iowa Department of Public Health medical director Patricia Quinlisk confirms the availability is dwindling, but it’s not too late to get a flu shot. “If you get the shot today, you’ll have a little bit of immunity and tomorrow, a little more,” Quinlisk said. “Depending on how your system responds, you could have full immunity in a week to two weeks.” Last year’s mild flu season prompted some hospitals and other flu vaccine vendors to order less this year and now those locations may be out or have limited supply. But, the vaccine is available.
“People always have to try and predict how many people are going to come in and want the flu shot. In general, there is plenty of vaccine out there, it may just be the one place you try – they may not have it,” Quinlisk said. “There should still be plenty available in the community, you may have to try a couple of places, but you should be able to find the flu shot.” Many Iowa hospitals are busy because of the flu outbreak.
In Des Moines, a group of hospitals issued a press release urging residents to avoid visiting emergency rooms for non-emergent medical care. The release states the hospitals are experiencing “heavy volumes of patients and long wait times due to a large number of flu cases.”