Flu vaccine: Supplier short changes VNA

By Juan Carlos Fanjul - bio | email

STUART, FL (WFLX) - Usually the Visiting Nurse Association's mobile clinic would be on the road, but instead, the RV is parked at a Stuart parking lot, empty and lacking the usual activity.

The VNA planned to hold seasonal flu vaccine clinics; however, "We've had to cancel most of our clinics that we've had throughout the state," said VNA of Florida's CEO Don Crow.

That's because the supplier of the seasonal flu vaccine has short changed the national VNA.

Locally, there was supposed to be a negotiated 7,500 vaccine allotment, but the VNA says they are only getting 3,000 vaccines.

Nurses had an extensive list of different venues they planned to visit to provide the shots but that has been cut.

"We cater to smaller groups, assisted living facilities. Those people can't get out. They require someone to go to them. So they definitely will be missing out," he said.

Crow doesn't know why some for-profit corporations got their vaccines and the non-profit VNA was told to get lost.

Making matters worse he says the flu clinics actually pay for the operation of the RV which is also used to provide basic healthcare to the poor where they live.

Nationally, flu vaccines are being delayed by some providers or allotments are being cut by 10 percent.

In case you have problems, experts says, http://www.findaflushot.com/ is a great clinic locator by zip code, or call your local pharmacy or grocery directly.

But the Palm Beach County health department says they have not seen a slow down yet and have plenty of shots on hand.

As for the VNA, "What's frustrating is there is an abundance of flu shots around, we just didn't get ours," said Crow.