Flu Shot Shortage Reports From CDC, Manufacturers Tell Different Stories About Vaccine Supplies

Flu Shot Shortage Reports
The 2013 flu season is shaping up to be a particularly bad one, as cases of seasonal influenza, rotovirus and other viruses continue mount throughout the United States.As the not quite-epidemic spreads across America, reports are emerging that there may be a shortage of flu vaccines both in shot and mist form, as well as Tamiflu, as Americans flock to pharmacies and doctor's offices to get innoculated against the virus.

The 2013 flu season is shaping up to be a particularly bad one, as cases of seasonal influenza, rotovirus and other viruses continue mount throughout the United States.

As the not quite-epidemic spreads across America, reports are emerging that there may be a shortage of flu vaccines in both shot and mist form, as well as the drug Tamiflu, as Americans flock to pharmacies and doctor's offices to get inoculated against the virus.

But some of the drugs' manufacturers say there is no shortage, pointing to stockpiles of doses that are ready to ship nationwide at a day's notice as proof, while others say they are running low.

The 2013 flu season has arrived early, and a particularly vicious strain of influenza may be causing more people to get vaccinated against the sometimes-deadly and always-uncomfortable viruses.

As such, the Centers for Disease Control report that it may be difficult to find vaccines, especially in areas of the country that have been particularly hard hit already this year:

"We are hearing of spot shortages. Given the time in our flu season, it isn't surprising," said Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the CDC, according to Reuters. "People who haven't been vaccinated and want to get the vaccine may have to look in several places for it."

Sanifo SA, America's largest flu vaccine manufacturer, told CNN on Thursday that four of the six different dosages of Fluzone -- a vaccine against the seasonal flu virus -- have sold out due to the high demand.

"At this point we are not able to make any more vaccine because we are gearing up for next year's vaccine," Michael Szumera, a spokesman for Sanofi, told Reuters.

However, CNN reports that the company still has adult flu vaccine stock that can be shipped immediately.

And CNN reports that other vaccine manufacturers claim that reports of shortages are exaggerated, and that they still have large stockpiles of doses.

MedImmune, which makes FluMist -- the only nasal spray flu vaccine on the market -- reportedly produced 12 million doses to fill customer orders during this year's flu season, according to CNN, in addition to a stockpile of 620,000 extra doses.

"Right now we currently have 310,000 extra doses that could ship tomorrow," Tor Constantino, a spokesperson for MedImmune, told CNN. "All of those expire next month. Another 70,000 doses are available that could ship tomorrow, and those expire in March."

Another 250,000 FluMist doses are being held in reserve to share with Medicaid's Vaccines for Children Program and the Department of Defense.

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