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No Shortage of Flu Shots, Say Health Officials

The flu season in California is heating up, and the best way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated, health officials say.

As the flu season heats up in California, influenza vaccines in Palos Verdes are in high demand; however, there's no shortage of vaccines in Los Angeles County, according to a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

"Flu vaccine is available," said Dr. A. Nelson El Amin of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. "We're telling people, 'Just look around.'"

More have lined up to get flu shots now that the flu season is shaping up to be the worst in several years, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus is now geographically widespread in California.

"We're in the middle of flu season—about halfway through," said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden in a news conference with reporters on Friday. "It's shaping up to be a worse-than-average season and a bad season, particularly, for the elderly."

So far, 29 children across the country have died from influenza, Frieden said. Though flu activity in other states is decreasing, it's been increasing in California.

Vaccination is the No. 1 way a person can protect him- or herself from a severe case of the flu, according to the CDC.

Nationwide, about 145 million doses of vaccine were produced, and as of Friday, 129 million doses had been distributed, Frieden said. "That means that there is more vaccine out there for providers to order."

According to El Amin, there is a perceived shortage of vaccine in Los Angeles County because pharmacies initially estimated this season's order of vaccine based on last season's demand.

"We expect more people to get vaccinated this year than in the past," he said, adding that pharmacies have ordered more vaccine.

Calls placed to several South Bay pharmacies on Friday indicated that supplies varied from none to about 30 doses; pharmacists advised people interested in getting a flu shot to call in advance.

People can also log onto flu.gov and enter their ZIP code, or use the locator above.

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