Vaccine Shortages on the Rise as Flu Plagues US

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Millions of Americans head back to work and school Monday. With this year's flu at epidemic level, they're all at risk.

Germs are on everyone's mind, more so than usual, as the flu continues to affect people from Oregon to Boston.

"Refrigerator handles, microwaves, TV remotes, light switches, door handles, keyboards, things like that are very germy," Dr. Granada S. Neil, with Doctors Express, said.

"You know I never thought about the gas pumps, but you know everybody touches it so I can imagine it would be pretty dirty," one person said.

Forty-seven states are reporting widespread flu activity, and more than 28,000 cases have been confirmed.

But health officials say the number of sick people is likely much higher because many people choose not to seek treatment.

Doctors say getting this year's flu shot is still the best defense against getting sick.

"Every day you've had a flu shot you're better protected than you were the day before," said Kris Stapp, vice president of community public health services at the Omaha Visiting Nurse Association.

But a growing shortage of vaccines across the country has pharmacies and drug stores concerned.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a public health emergency this past weekend, suspending a state law that only allows people over the age of 18 to get vaccinated.

Now pharmacies across the Empire State are scrambling to meet the heightened demand.

"This morning on my way, I thought it might be tourists outside, but it was just patients waiting for us, prior to us arriving." Kelly Court, a medical assistant with New York Doctors Urgent Care, said.

Children are especially at risk from the lack of supplies. Without the vaccination, their developing immune systems may not be able to fight the virus off.

One sick child said, "Hopefully, the doctors can make me better."

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