Flu patients continue to fill hospital beds, while the flu vaccine is getting even harder to find.
Many North Texas parents recently have traveled from pharmacy to pharmacy waiting in long lines for a coveted shot or mist.
"I figured a lot of people would take advantage of the free clinic, especially because I've tried to go into Walgreens and everyone is always sold out as soon as they get it," said Dani Cox.
Fortunately, the non-profit organization Care Van has been there to fill in the holes. Its nurses travel to schools and churches giving free immunizations for uninsured children.
But even it ran out of the shots on Monday. Also, a batch of its mist vaccines expired so it will have to send the remaining 800 doses back and wait eight to 10 days for a new shipment from the government's manufacturer.
"We can't predict the flu season. Last year was a little bit lower season. This year is just rampant," said Beth Mcllhaney, a Care Van nurse.
Care Van does have clinics scheduled later this week for immunizations like chicken pox, HPV and MMR. But the clinic in Duncanville Tuesday won't have any flu vaccines and the one in Bedford on Thursday will only have a limited supply.
It's also the busiest time of the year inside the country's largest public hospital, so nurses are encouraging families to leave children at home.
"Sometimes when people have the flu they can spread illness before they know that they're sick. So a healthy-looking kid could be exposed to the flu and carrying it in with them," said Janet Glowicz, Parkland Hospital's director of infection prevention.
While children won't be turned away, they may be given masks to wear to protect them and the patients.
"We really prefer the children stay home where they won't be exposed to illness," Glowicz said.
KDFW FOX 4
Main Station Directory:
Didn't find what you were looking for?