Flu vaccines are expected to meet everyone's needs this year according to state and federal officials who are encouraging anyone who wants to be vaccinated to get a shot.
Annemarie Beardsworth, adult-immunization manager at the state Department of Health said that the groups which run Rhode Island's public flu clinics, which started on Oct. 2, said they have an adequate vaccine supply and are receiving regular shipments.
Beardsworth said, "Anyone who wants to be protected from the flu should get a flu shot." This time officials are so confident that the supplies will hold up that they are not even giving recommendations that those most at-risk receive top priority.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that 110 million to 115 million doses of the vaccine will be produced this year or 17 million more doses than distributed in any other flu season.
Rhode Island expects to become the first state to centralize the distribution of flu vaccines by the following year although officials aren't sure yet exactly how the distribution will work.
Beardsworth said, "The CDC and several other states are kind of watching to see what's going to happen in Rhode Island. Other states may be looking to do something similar."
November to March are usually the months of the annual flu epidemic.