Martin Di Caro
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The early intensity of the flu season is causing spot shortages of the vaccine in the Washington metropolitan area.
"Nobody has any flu shots left," said D.C. resident Ingrid Larson, who finally found a business with a fresh supply of vaccines after four unsuccessful tries in the Columbia Heights neighborhood. She finally was able to get the shot at the Safeway supermarket on Columbia Road NW.
"I think a lot of them got their shipments months ago and now they are actually trying to buy them from different stores in the area. They haven't been able to give me much information about when to come back," Larson said.
The rush of flu shots is being driven largely by news reports detailing the severity of the flu season. While experts are unsure if this season will actually prove to be deadlier than seasons past, the flu is peaking earlier than usual. The flu season normally peaks in February.
"All the news reports made me want to get it, just to be safe," said another woman who walked into the Safeway seeking a vaccination.
The Safeway exhausted its supply yesterday but received another batch Friday morning. The availability of the vaccine was advertised on signs outside the storm with the enticement of a ten percent discount of groceries.
"All of our stores are equipped with pharmacists who are prepared to give shots on demand as you walk in, so no appointment is necessary," said Safeway spokesman Craig Muckle, in an interview with WMAL.com. "We take a read of what we anticipate the flu season to be like and try to order accordingly. There have been some instances in previous years when the vaccine was in such short supply coming out of the manufacturers that everyone was diminished."
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