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Flu season is officially here and there could already be a shortage of the high-risk vaccine

It may still feel like summer but health experts say don’t be fooled.

Flu season is officially here and officials expect conditions to really ramp up November through January and could last through April.

“I’ve got asthma and I’m old and I don’t wanna get sick,” said Lynn Menefee of Santa Barbara.

Menefee is gearing up for a trip out of state and didn’t want to be on an airplane without a flu shot.

“I actually got it early this year because last year I tried to get it in October and I couldn’t,” said Menefee, referencing the specific vaccination for patients over the age of 65.

It’s a good thing Menefee already got her high-risk flu vaccine because health officials say they’re seeing a delay with the manufacturer when it comes to that higher dosage.

“We have already given out more than 1000 doses of the high dose and we know that many patients 65 and older are coming in and asking for the high-dose we only have probably about 200 doses left and we expect our next shipment the second week in October,” said Dr. Marjorie Newman, Sansum Clinic Medical Director.

Sansum Clinic’s Medical Director says it’s too early to tell at this point how bad this year’s flu season is going to be.

“What I can say is that we’ve already seen some cases of the flu and a little bit earlier than we anticipated so we already know that there are patients coming into urgent care, and patients seen in the emergency room who are coming in with the flu,” said Dr. Newman.

Dr. Newman says simply put, the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to get vaccinated.

“We tell all patients, make sure you get vaccinated before the end of October ideally,” said Newman.

Newman says it can take a couple of weeks for the antibodies to build up in your system after getting a shot which is why it’s so important to act fast.

“I need all the help I can get so yes, anything is better than not,” said Menefee.

The CDC indicates that if a vaccine is available and is appropriate for the patient, you should not wait for that high dose if it’s not available.

The Sansum Clinic offers flu shot clinics for the community. For more information, click here.

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