If you've ventured out in search of a flu vaccine in Salem over the last few weeks, you've probably found them hard to come by.
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino's declaration of a Public Health Emergency last week prompted a sudden rush on flu vaccinations and now city health officials are urging local residents to be patient, diligently wash their hands and contact their local pharmacy.
This year's particularly-dangerous influenza strain has had a far-reaching impact on day-to-day life in Massachusetts. Sick employees are being told to stay home, area churches are no longer asking parishioners to share wine or shake hands and city pharmacies are struggling to keep vaccinations in stock.
The Salem Board of Health is currently out of vaccines and they recently received word that they won't be getting any additional shipments, Director Larry Ramdin said Monday afternoon.
Amy Kelly, a pharmacist at the Essex Street CVS, said local residents cleaned them out during a mad rush last week and the store is currently out of everything but high-dose vaccines.
"It's been crazy, especially last week," Kelly said Monday. "Right now there's kind of a lull because we don't have any in stock."
Kelly said pharmacists at the store reached out to the local Board of Health when they didn't receive a shipment the expected to arrive on Friday - and now all they can do is wait.
The story is the same at the city's other CVS locations, she said, where flu vaccination supplies have been depleted and new shipments are still on back order.
The Walgreens on Boston Street was also out of flu vaccinations when we stopped by Monday afternoon, though a pharmacist there said she expected a new shipment would be arriving later in the day.
A sign in front of the store read "flu vaccines are here, it's not too late."
Did you get vaccinated this year? Have you gone out in search of a vaccine in Salem recently?
Let us know in the comments section below.