MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - By this time last year, flu shot clinics were already stationed across Madison County doling out the vaccine for free.
We've gotten several calls from viewers asking why they haven't heard anything about them this year.
Health officials said the county will indeed give out free flu shots in the coming weeks. What's still up in the air though, is if there will be clinics around the county, or if folks will have to health offices to get them.
The county received just over 2,500 doses of the flu vaccine this past Friday, much later than anticipated, and fewer doses than they had to give out the year before.
According to the Department of Public Health, getting the vaccine has been a challenge, with manufacturers slow on production. Typically, shipments start arriving around August.
On top of that, there's a staff shortage at the Madison County Health Department.
Add in the fact that the county commission just cut their budget by $200,000, leaving only $100,000 for this fiscal year - a decision that commissioner Roger Jones was totally against.
"I'm saddened; I think government should be there to serve the people," Jones said. I look for ways to serve the people and I think the flu shots was one of the very important ways that we could serve the people."
It's still unclear how those budget cuts will affect the county health department, like hiring more staff.
In the meantime, officials are working on a flu shot schedule for the public. We will pass along that information once it is released.