Byline: STEVE ECHEVERRIA Jr. firstname.lastname@example.org
When it comes to battling the flu this season, state and local health officials are determined to avoid the panic caused by last year's vaccine shortage.
Thousands of people rushed to clinics for shots to help ward off a particularly virulent influenza strain that claimed lives in several states.
Florida was forced to ration the vaccine after local clinics ran out of supplies.
"Last year was terrible," said Dr. Brian Garby, Sarasota Memorial Hospital emergency room specialist. "We had a high volume of people with flu symptoms and a relative lack of vaccine available."
This year, officials ordered more of the vaccine and visits are already being made to nursing homes to educate residents about the need for early inoculations.
There are reasons for concern.
Although the flu season has yet to start, a couple of cases have been reported in Manatee County. And …