This year the shortage has not been in flu vaccines but in the number of people requesting them, state and local health officials say.

Alabama Health Department officials said the state has a surplus of vaccines, and two local clinics also have a large supply remaining.

The nurse manager at Medical East, a clinic on U.S. 72, said the volume of people getting flu shots is down from last year. But the shots are available for those at risk and the general population with no wait, said Mary Talley.

“We do recommend that people who have asthma, the elderly, or anyone with any type of lung infection or decreased immune system get a flu shot,” she said. “They can come in and they don’t have to wait.”

Shots are typically recommended to be given by the end of October but they are still effective if taken now.

Amy Beth Pressnell, clinic nurse at Limestone Health Department, said she feels not as many people came to the department for vaccines because its shipment was late.

“We have a lot left,” she said.

Many of the department’s usual clients may have gone to private physicians for vaccines, she said, but, if not, they can still come to the Health Department.

“People still can take it,” she said. “It still would work.”

Vaccines are offered to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays at Limestone Health Department at 310 W. Elm Street.

A few vaccines are also available to the public at Athens Limestone Hospital’s Education Department. Call 233-9536 for information on available vaccines.

State health officials are making a final push to remind the public to receive flu shots to try to deplete the excess. If unsuccessful, the extra doses may be recalled from local health departments and sent to Montgomery to be redistributed to private providers.

Statewide, 25,000 doses are still unused.

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