Spike in Flu Cases Leads to Vaccine Shortage
MESA COUNTY, Colo. - Mesa County health officials say this year's flu season spike is coming two weeks earlier than last year's.
Debbie Riggle, vice president of ancillary services at Community Hospital, told NewsChannel 5 that it's been about five years since the Grand Valley has seen such a heavy flu season.
Mesa County Health and Human Services can't say exactly what is causing spike because every strand of the virus is different each year.
As of Friday, there had been 15 hospitalizations from influenza and that number is very likely to rise.
"The cases that have been seen through a physician or a medical provider are twice as many now, as they were all of last year['s flu season]," said Jeff Kuhr, executive director of the Mesa County Health Department.
"We vaccinated about 2,200 people through the normal vaccination period, which is Oct., Nov., Dec., so there's not much [of the vaccine] left," added Riggle.
The Mesa County Health Department has cautioned health care providers to brace for the influx of not only sick patients, but those seeking the vaccine.
Many pharmacies around the Grand Valley have run out. A local Walgreens reported being without the vaccine for the last two weeks. They provided shots to around 80 people Thursday after receiving another shipment and had just four left.