The Carroll County Health Department and area pharmacies are reporting that there are very limited quantities of the flu vaccine available in the area.
A health department representative said that they are out of children's vaccines and have a handful of vaccines for adults left.
Several Westminster pharmacies including Target, Weiss and Rite Aid said they are out of the vaccine. A Giant Pharmacy representative said they have a very limited supply.
"We are out," a representative of the Westminster Target Pharmacy said. "They have been on backorder, we're having trouble getting them in."
Pharmacies in the Sykesville area, including Walgreens and WalMart, said they are out of the vaccine. The CVS at 1438 Liberty Rd in Eldersburg has "minimal" quantities according to a pharmacy spokesperson.
Recent reports suggest that the flu season may have already peaked in Maryland.
The week ending Dec. 29, 10.1 prcent of people visiting doctors were for the flu and the week ending Jan. 5 only 3.5 percent of people visiting doctors were there for the flu, according to a report from the state.
"We're seeing more in the last few weeks than we saw at this time last year," Elizabeth Fuss, RN and Infection Control/Associate Health manager at Carroll Hospital Center recently told Patch.
Fuss said that she expects one reason there is a higher incidence of the Influenza virus is that it hit the community prior to the holidays.
"It hit at a time when people generally get together and are more social," Fuss said.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggests people take the following steps to help avoid getting the flu.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- Practice good health habits. Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.