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Several Mass. Communities Facing Flu Vaccine Shortages

By Bree Sison, WBZ-TV
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NATICK (CBS)- As Massachusetts faces a spike in the number of influenza cases, health officials in towns across the state say they’re running out of vaccinations.

Natick and Framingham are the latest to run out of flu shots. The communities say they haven’t been able to purchase or borrow more from other towns.

“We’ve received dozens of calls over the last two days looking for a vaccine, and unfortunately we don’t have any to give out,” Jim White, Director of Natick Public Health, told WBZ-TV Friday morning.

White says the town’s selectmen and school officials purchased extra doses earlier in the season, but even that wasn’t enough. The Board of Public Health vaccinated 1,700 Natick residents between September and January.

The town has received 22 reports of influenza so far, up from just 4 cases for the entire previous flu season.

Some towns, like Norton, are able to borrow doses from neighbors. But of the 1,200 flu shots acquired, Norton only has about 20 left on hand. Norton’s public health agent says their department received phone calls from surrounding towns asking if they had any extra doses to share.

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Norton has had about a dozen cases of the flu reported to their office.

In an email Friday, state health officials told WBZ-TV there is still an ample supply of immunizations available through health care providers and pharmacies. The Department of Public Health says it’s distributed more than 760,000 doses of free flu vaccine across the state this season and is working to provide more to municipalities through a commercial provider.

Natick says it could put those extra shots to good use.

“When we tell them there’s none available, they are a little nervous because obviously they want protection,” said White. “If we received some more we would gladly give them out.”

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