Deaths caused by influenza in 2013 reached epidemic levels late last week, according to a report in the New York Times, but the government-run Center for Disease Control (CDC) says it may have peaked.
Either way, the organization says those who have yet to receive a flu shot should still do so, as the current outbreak continues to work its way through the country. The height of flu season is February, according to the CDC.
While the CDC says this season's flu vaccine is anywhere between 50 and 70-percent effective, the inoculation is hard to come by in the Long Valley area.
Employees at Long Valley Pharmacy said it won't get its next shipment of the vaccine in until late Wednesday, and will be available for residents early Thursday. Vaccines are available on a first come, first-served basis, and cost $25 without insurance. Employees said the pharmacy has received an escalated number of calls and customers this season.
In Califon, the Rite Aid on Rt. 513 said it expects a new shipment of vaccines on Tuesday. That shipment should have 100 doses, the pharmacy said, but the store already has 50 customers on a waiting list.
Cost at the Rite Aid is $29.99 without insurance, and is only available to customers 18 years and older.
Just over the Washington Township border in Hackettstown, pharmacist Angie Shorette of Walgreens said the demand has become greater than the supply–one that is already limited.
Shorette said the pharmacy was expecting a new shipment of vaccines to arrive Monday afternoon, but it would be a limited number, likely around 20 doses. Cost at Walgreens for the vaccine is $31.99 without insurance.
The current strand of influenza ravaging the nation has claimed the lives of 20 children, the New York Times reported. In a typical year, the report said, just 37-percent of Americans receive the inoculation.
Long Valley Pharmacy is located at 67 East Mill Road in Long Valley. Call for more information at 908-876-9000.
Califon Rite Aid is located at 428 County Road 513 in Califon. Call for more information at 908-832-7117.
Hackettstown Walgreens is located at 1982 Route 57 in Hackettstown. Call for more information at 908-850-3529.