Vaccine runs out fast after offer of free shots in Orange County

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —

The Florida Department of Health in Orange County was offering free flu shots Thursday, but the number of shots was limited and they went fast.

When Channel 9 got to the health department, there were only a few people there because only 100 flu vaccines were available, and tickets to get a vaccine were gone within minutes.

Officials said about 30 people were turned away at 10:20 a.m., because no more vaccines were available.

Victoria Ward was one of unfortunates.

"I know how this game is played, first-come, first-serve type of thing," she said.  "It doesn't really surprise me."

A health department representative said department workers have fewer than 2,000 vaccines in stock, so they have to ration them at events like Thursday's in order to keep plenty available for those who walk in for a flu shot.

"We feel like it's what we can give out during this event," said Dain Weister of the Health Department. "They only have so many doses left so 100 doses is what they were giving out today."

Local health departments rely on Tallahassee for its shots, and the state is struggling to keep up with demand just like other big retail chains like CVS and Walgreens, Castro said.

Channel 9's Bianca Castro said she saw people of all ages coming in for shots.

Officials said the flu season should peak around mid-February.

According to health officials, getting a flu shot doesn't offer immediate immunity. They said it takes about two weeks for the full immunity to build in your system.

Several people Castro spoke with Thursday said they were at the health department because they have procrastinated up until now.

"I was just thinking about it. I was procrastinating, and then all of a sudden I heard that they’re doing it at the community center. (I said), 'Let me go take care of it, let me put it on my to-do list,'" said Orlando resident Anthony Singleton.

There are two more clinics planned for Friday and Monday.