Ala. Health Officials Pushing Flu Shots, but Fewer Takers

By  | 

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - There is usually a shortage of influenza vaccine, but this year Alabama health officials are facing a surplus as fewer people are signing up to get vaccinated.

The state is making one final push to remind the public to receive flu shots to try to use up the excess. If that's unsuccessful, the extra doses may be recalled from local health departments and sent to Montgomery to be redistributed to private providers.

Alabama, and the Southeast, has already seen widespread flu activity, but 25,000 doses of the 139,000 the state purchased are still unused.

Last year, the health department ordered 121,000 doses and about ten percent went unused.

Doctors, hospitals and pharmacists can now order additional vaccine through the department's Web site, but they may not need the state's help.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 1.27 million people have received a flu shot in Alabama. That's only slightly more than a quarter of Alabama's population of 4.5 million people.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)