Curtatone on Flu Vaccines: 'There is Ample Supply Right Now' [Video]
Although the city's health department has run out, there are plenty of flu shots available in Somerville, and the city has requested more from the state, the mayor said.
Update, 2:50 p.m.: The mayor's office announced this afternoon the Cambridge Health Alliance has offered to donate 100 doses of flu vaccinations to the city. Here's the full message from the mayor's office:
Earlier this afternoon, we received word from our partners at the Cambridge Health Alliance – which has several offices and clinics in the City of Somerville – extending an offer to donate 100 doses of Flulaval, an influenza vaccine for adults ages 18 and older. The additional 100 doses will be available at flu clinics, as supplies last, on Thursday evenings – beginning today - from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Somerville Health Department, 50 Evergreen Ave. Residents with questions about the vaccination, supply, or other general information should contact the Public Health Nurse Manager, Maureen Monagle, at 617-625-6600 ext. 4320. Please note, the City of Somerville is not the only local source for flu vaccines. As of Thursday, January 10th, local pharmacies have reported that they still have some doses. You should also check with your primary care provider.
After running out of flu vaccinations Tuesday, the city of Somerville has requested more doses from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, according to Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, who held a press conference about the matter Thursday morning.
Curtatone cautioned people not to panic at news the Somerville Health Department has run out of vaccinations.
"There is ample supply right now in the community," he said about flu shots. "It appears that all our local pharmacies—CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and even Target—have vaccines available."
The city of Somerville is also working with the Cambridge Health Alliance, which operates Somerville Hospital and other clinics in the city, to make sure enough vaccines are available, Curtatone said.
The mayor said the city's health department, which administers free flu shots to residents, ran out of vaccines because the city began an outreach program early in the season to get people vaccinated.
"We reached out heavily and intensely," particularly to vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, Curtatone said.
It's a result of the city's successful outreach program, and because the region has seen a long flu season, that the health department ran out of vaccines, he said.
Curtatone said the city received 420 injectable vaccines from the state's public health department in October of 2012, and the city requested, and received, an additional 300 vaccines in December.
Curtatone did not know when the city would hear back from the state on its request for even more doses, but he said, "We're going to follow up today."
"I'm sure we're not the only community that's made an additional request for supply," he said.
On Wednesday, Boston declared a public health emergency in connection to the flu, but Somerville has remained a bit more calm. There have been 25 reported cases of the flu in the city this season, Curtatone said (most case go unreported), and there have been no reported deaths. Across the state there have been 18 reported flu deaths, according to WVCB.