HOUSTON -

The flu scare is continuing to grow across the country and in the Houston area.

The H1N1 strain seems to be hitting Texas especially hard.

With several confirmed cases in Montgomery County and the first pediatric death in Houston, pharmacists are scrambling to keep up with the demand for flu vaccines.

"Even though you have an H1N1 strain that's going around, you don't always have 100 percent coverage with (the vaccine)," said Dr. Happy Alagarsamy with St. Michael's 24-hour emergency room. "This year, the flu vaccine only covers about 60 percent effectively and reliably."

Still, Dr. Alagarsamy said the trivalent and quadravalent vaccine available this year is your best defense.

"There may be a reduced severity of the symptoms, less of the fever, less of the severity of the symptoms than we do see in patients who have not been vaccinated because it may protect you from a strain that may later be circulated," he explained.

Texas Children's Infection Control Officer Dr. Jeffrey Starke stressed the importance of getting the vaccine every year.

"The virus changes in very subtle ways meaning the vaccine that was effective last year, even though the virus sounds the same, H1N1, may not be as effective as the vaccine that's around this year," said Dr. Starke.

A spokesperson with the Houston Department of Health and Human Services told Local 2 the flu vaccine is readily available, though spot shortages may be found, some we learned due to shipping delays with weather.

Contact your pharmacy or doctor to request the vaccine so they can reorder it as soon as possible.

Remember, the flu season is expected to peak in January and February.

Click here to visit the flu vaccine locator.