If flu shots are difficult to find this year, it will likely be because of a delay in shipping rather than a shortage, local health experts say.

Major facilities in Limestone County, such as Athens-Limestone Hospital and the Limestone Health Department, have not received their allotments of shots and some local pharmacies, such as Athens Pharmacy and Joe’s Pharmacy, are waiting. These facilities are hoping to set flu shot clinic dates or make the shot available to the public around mid-October or the first part of November.

“There aren’t shortages but…we may not get ours until mid November,” said Donna Shelton, clinic supervisor of the Limestone County Health Department.

Hospital spokeswoman Barbara Ferguson said the hospital receives its flu shots to vaccinate employees around mid-October and then will offer flu shots to patients.

Athens Pharmacy has received shipments of flu shot to fill orders for area doctors’ offices and plans to receive another shipment soon to offer flu shot clinics to the public in October. Athens Pharmacy managers are not sure of the dates the clinics will be offered but expect no shortages of the shots, said nurse Christie Gilliam.

Joe’s Pharmacy in East Limestone has offered one clinic and plans two more during the flu season. The pharmacy will offer clinics to the public from noon until 4 p.m. on Oct. 21 and Nov. 11. Shots will cost $25 each.

“The supply is about a month behind,” said Joe Shunnarah, owner and pharmacist at Joe’s Pharmacy.

Shunnarah said the suppliers of his flu shots are prioritizing their deliveries.

“They said they were going to be plentiful this year, but they’re making sure the nursing homes, hospitals, and the health departments have theirs first. The rest are secondary,” he said.

He said his first order for flu shots came up short.

“I ordered 1,000 but I only received 100 and they said I was lucky to get that,” said Shunnarah. “I think for the initial orders for the year, they were trying to be very cautious to make sure they were providing for the hospitals, health departments, and nursing homes.”

He said the pharmacy has 300 shots confirmed for its next shipment but expects to have requests for at least a 1,000 total throughout the season.

“From what we heard, they say they are going to have enough to cover everything, but that’s what they told us last year. However, last year we did lose a major supplier, so that dropped a lot of the flu shots out of the picture,” Shunnarah said. “My advice to people is to not wait until the last minute to get them.”

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