MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - The Minnesota Department of Health said some clinics in the state won’t be getting the flu vaccine on time, primarily the federal funded clinics that help poor families.
The delay is a result of manufacturing problems. As of now, there’s only a delay on the flu mist and certain injectable flu vaccines. It’s not worrying health officials who are just calling it an inconvenience. But for some patients who wanted the vaccine this month, they may have to wait.
The Minnesota Vaccines for Children program helps families who are uninsured or underinsured, especially during flu season. This year, the MDH says the flu mist and certain injectable flu vaccines are shipping later than expected, leaving clinics that serve about one third of the kids across the state, in a tough situation.
“We aren’t hearing from our providers that they are turning people away at this point,” Doug Schultz, Department of Public Safety, said.
But health officials say there is still plenty of flu vaccine available in other delivery methods. And more flu mist is arriving each month, with the bulk of it coming in December.
“Maybe this is the year you have to kind of grit your teeth and get a flu shot,” Schultz said.
Medimmune Astrazenca is the sole maker of the flu vaccine in the form of a nasal spray making it easier for kids and anyone afraid of needles. The company ran into some manufacturing problems, causing these delays.
At this point, the company is still planning on fulfilling most of the orders by this time. As for private clinics, many like Edina urgent care serve patients in this federally funded program. A spokesperson was unable to say how these delays would impact the practice.
Flu season can start anytime between now and January. The Department of Health says call your doctor or clinic about supply, and keep checking back if your preferred delivery method is unavailable.