The November survey found that vaccine providers had received over 214,000 doses of flu vaccine, more than 60 percent of the total ordered. That total was up almost 65,000 from the survey done just two weeks earlier in October and will increase further as more doses are still being shipped to South Dakota. In 2004, vaccine providers received just over 220,000 doses for the whole season.
"We are seeing significant improvements in the vaccine supply, but there are some local areas that don't yet have the vaccine they need," said Hollingsworth. "Until the supply evens out, we are encouraging pro-viders with vaccine to do what they did last year, and make vaccine available to their colleagues who are still waiting. We're hearing that's already happening in
many communities in South Dakota."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to emphasize that there is not a shortage of flu vaccine, but there are frustrating difficulties with the supply chain. "The message from CDC is to be patient, there is more vaccine on the way," Hollingsworth said.
Nationally, the CDC indicates that by the end of November, more than 81 million doses of flu vaccine will have been distributed, one of the largest supplies ever.
To date, South Dakota has reported just one flu detection and flu activity is also light on the national level so there is still time for individuals to be vaccinated and be protected against the flu. The department also encourages South Dakotans to protect themselves with good personal hygiene:
? Wash your hands often with soap and water.
? Use hand gel.
? If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth.
? Don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
? If you're sick, stay home.
More information about flu is on the department Web site at http://flu.sd.gov.