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FLU SHOTS PROVE EASY TO GET IN FORT ERIE

Senior citizens around the United States have been standing in lines to get flu shots.

There wasn't much waiting Sunday in Fort Erie, however.

"Not even 10 minutes," Kathy Wachowicz, 56, said of the time it took to get a flu shot in the Holiday Inn, 1485 Garrison Road.

The Buffalo resident said crossing the border was quick and hassle-free, too.

The flu shot clinic proved convenient for those who could afford $40 and find a way there. It also eased their concerns about the flu season, even as others still wait for their shots amid a nationwide shortage.

Like a lot of other people across Western New York, Wachowicz looked elsewhere for a flu shot when her doctor's office told her it didn't have flu vaccine for her and other patients.

"I was worried," she said. "You have to be careful. I work with the public. And you can bring anything home."

Wachowicz was among the 300 or so Americans who traveled across the border for a flu shot from a Canadian physician, Dr. Mark Greenberg.

Greenberg, who has a family practice in Toronto, administered the shots to a steady flow of senior citizens and others who suffer from lung or heart disease, asthma, or some chronic illness such as diabetes. Most spent more time filling out forms than waiting their shot.

Two of Greenberg's employees helped people fill out consent forms and questionnaires and then collected their payments. Greenberg sat in the back of the fourth-floor conference room and administered the shots.

About two dozen people were waiting when Greenberg arrived at 9 a.m. to begin administering shots.

Greenberg and his partner, Dr. Peter Garber, administered flu shots the past three weekends and plan to administer more during the next two weekends in the hotel, and beyond that if their supply lasts.

The two started with 2,300 doses, and they've gone through about 700 doses so far, Greenberg said. The U.S. supply of flu shots was cut almost in half this fall because British regulators shut down shipments from Chiron Corp.

The two Canadian doctors set up the flu shot clinic "because of your situation in the United States," Greenberg said. "We wanted to help out."

Leonard Manuszewski, 78, a retired butcher who lives in Kaisertown, said he would have to wait too long to qualify for a flu shot at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. So he decided to pay the $40 for his flu shot Sunday, even though "I'm hurting for the buck, too."

"It's ridiculous living in the United States with so many pharmaceuticals that I have to come over here for a flu shot," Manuszewski said.

e-mail: plakamp@buffnews.com

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