Some SWFL pharmacies experiencing high-dose flu shot shortage

People who have not received a flu shot in Southwest Florida and intend to may be out of luck. Some local pharmacies say they are out of the high-dose vaccine. The dose is usually given to those who are 65 and older.

We spoke to pharmacists in the area who say, as of Thursday, they are experiencing a shortage of high-dose vaccines to combat the flu this season.

“It’s not a good thing,” said Jerry Miller in Fort Myers. “I’ll just have to get in line, I guess.”

The high dose is double the dose of a regular shot.

“Over 65, they’re recommended to get a double dose because they’re more prone to the flu,” said TJ DePaola manager at Cypress Pharmacy in south Fort Myers.

“We’ve already sold more this year than we did all of last year,” DePaola said. “We met our allotment in one week for what we had for the year.”

When we met DePaola at Cypress Pharmacy, he told us the bad flu season in Australia is a good indicator of what is likely to be seen in the United States. Now, Cypress Pharmacy is out of the high dose.

“We have to tell them they’re going to have to take their name and call them when we get more in,” DePaola said.

Corporate pharmacies like Walgreens may also be experiencing shortages or complete supply depletion in the area.

Dominic Cordisco at T-RX Pharmacy in Cape Coral said the shortage has actually increased traffic in his store.

“We have had a lot of people coming in and asking if we have the flu shot on stock or if we can order it,” Cordisco said.

Cordisco has been able to help most people visiting his pharmacy for the high-dose vaccine.

Pharmacists say vaccine shortages are common. They recommend anyone over 65 or older who is unable to receive a high-dose vaccine in their area to get a regular dosage.

There is no estimated timetable for high-dose vaccines to become widely available again, so it’s recommended to continually follow up with your local pharmacies to confirm when it has the shot that you need.

And, of course, you can receive a flu shot at a local doctor’s office.

For help finding a location that offers the flu shot in Southwest Florida, visit the VaccineFinder website.

Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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