Video: Flu shot lottery

updated 10/19/2004 2:47:56 PM ET 2004-10-19T18:47:56

This township of 70,000 people has come up with a way to parcel out its 300 remaining flu vaccines: a lottery.

Flu shots in Bloomfield already were reserved for senior citizens, adults with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, and those living in nursing homes and health care workers.

Then officials in the township north of Newark learned they would be receiving less than half the 1,000 doses they ordered.

“We are hoping the public sees this as the most fair and equitable way to do this,” Trevor Weigle, the township’s health director, told The Sunday Star-Ledger of Newark. “The last thing we want is people to stand in line thinking they are guaranteed a shot.”

Across the country, people have lined up at pharmacies and supermarkets to battle for a shot at the suddenly limited supply of flu vaccine since Chiron Corp., which usually provides half the nation’s supply, announced it will not supply any this season because of problems at its plant in Britain.

Hundreds of people have been turned away and others have collapsed in exhaustion. In the San Francisco area, a 79-year-old woman collapsed and died Thursday after waiting four hours in a flu shot line. Two elderly women in Concord, Calif., were hospitalized after collapsing in a vaccine line.

“It’s unfortunate that we don’t have enough to give to everybody,” said nurse Hedda Volkman. “We have to prioritize and give it to those who need it the most.”

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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