H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Jan 15, 2013 9:22 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Flu in California not rampant, but locals still rushing out for vaccine

The flu epidemic continues to take it's deadly toll throughout the country, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California is one of only two states where the illness has not been reported as widespread.

Doctor David Lennon with the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department said, "Perhaps its just our location, we just haven't seen it develop here in California yet. I don't really have any statistics on the amount of vaccines that's been given in California versus other states."

Mississippi and Washington, D.C. are the only other areas the CDC said have not been hit hard yet by the flu.

Though the flu may not be running rampant in California, many Californians are taking precautions against the flu.

Many locals are rushing to pharmacies and medical centers for a vaccine, that it is a causing a shortage. But, Doctor David Harris, head of the medical services at the Student Health Center at Cal Poly said people should not panic or worry. He said there isn't a production shortage, it's a shortage caused by a sudden increase in demand. So, just as soon as places are running out, they are quickly filling back up with the vaccine.

That is what happened at the Student Health Center on Monday. They ran out, but by Tuesday morning, 200 new doses had arrived. Other pharmacies in San Luis Obispo County, including CVS and the pharmacy at Von's say they've experienced similar run-outs, but they too have quickly received new shipments.

Dr. Harris blames the rush on what he calls media hype, and said people are also realizing how important it is to get the vaccine.

"Normally we'd see somewhere between 15 and 20 students a day from October, November, December, before break. Since we've been back from break, we've been seeing 80 patients a day, or more, for flu shots," said Dr. Harris.

The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department said people can go on this link and type in an address and see what locations offer the flu shot. But one county official said people should call a pharmacy or medical facility ahead of time to see if they are in stock.

Santa Barbara County Public Health said it has not noticed a trend of running out of the flu vaccine.

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