Nearly 50 More Medford Flu Cases Than Last Year
City public health director says city also out of flu vaccine but referring people to pharmacies.
Medford's public health director told Patch that the city has seen a marked increase in confirmed cases of the flu over last year.
In addition, Karen Rose said the city's health department does not have any flu vaccine at this time outside of a few doses of high-dose vaccine meant for individuals over the age of 65.
Despite that, Rose said there is no reason for panic and the city is re-directing people to local pharmacies and other locations where vaccine is available.
Rose said so far this flu season there have been 63 confirmed cases in Medford and that's up significantly from last year, when there were just 15 confirmed cases.
"We did our clinics in September and October," Rose said, adding the city gave out approximately 2,500 doses and that doesn't include what local doctors and pharmacies give out.
Rose said she took part in a meeting with other Massachusetts public health officials Friday morning and said many other municipalities are running into the same issue.
"The state has a waiting list for places looking for vaccine," Rose said.
Also Wednesday, the state Department of Public Health reported 18 flu-related deaths in the commonwealth so far this season.
Rose said they often "have to work hard to get people to do prevention" going to flu clinics and by the time the holidays are over that's typically the end of when people try to get shots.
In the last few years, Rose said Medford has purchased more flu vaccine on top of what the state distributes to meet demand.
Rose stressed people can still get flu shots locally if they want them.
The state said Thursday they have distributed over 760,000 doses of flu vaccine to date and are working to increase access to flu vaccine for people across Massachusetts.