Flu Vaccine and Tamiflu Shortage, What Can You Do?


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There's a shortage of flu vaccine in 2013. Image by zeathiel

There’s a shortage of flu vaccine in 2013. Image by zeathiel

The 2012-2013 flu season is the worst it’s been in a decade – reaching epidemic levels – and now the news has hit that there is a shortage of flu vaccines and Tamiflu. With many states seeing widespread flu activity and cities like Boston declaring a health emergency, what will you do if you get sick?

Flu Vaccine and Tamiflu Shortage

The 2012/2013 influenza season has hit hard, and now there’s a flu vaccine shortage as well as a Tamiflu shortage. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccine manufactures made 135 million doses of flu vaccine. Sanofi SA, the largest flu vaccine manufacture, told the Chicago Tribune that they have sold out of four of the six different types of flu vaccines, and have been unable to make more because they are busy working on next year’s flu season vaccine. However, an estimated 35 percent of the U.S. population receives the flu vaccine, so there are still vaccines to go around if you want to get the flu shot – you just may have to go to a few different places before finding a provider that has not sold out.

There is also a shortage of the liquid form of Tamiflu given to children. According to the Chicago Tribune, there is a delay in the shipment, which is causing the shortage. While waiting for the liquid Tamiflu, pharmacists can dissolve Tamiflu capsules in a sweet liquid as a substitute.

Flu Symptoms: Alternative Treatment Options

According to the CDC, most flu cases are mild and do not need a prescription medication, so managing the symptoms is a good way to start feeling better. Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, fatigue, headaches, and in some cases vomiting and diarrhea (though mainly seen in children). These symptoms can be mild to severe; if you or your child have severe symptoms, you need to be seen by a medical professional.


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