Sunday, January 20, 2013

CDC: Flu deaths increase "sharply" as epidemic continues


Dr. Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, told reporters during the conference call that some areas of the country are experiencing shortages of liquid Tamiflu, shortages that may persist for the remainder of the flu season. The liquid formulation is most often given to children.

Because of these shortages, Hamburg reported that Tamiflu-maker Genenetech has received permission to release 2 million more units of Tamiflu pills, which pharmacists can then use to create liquid formulations for children. She said the FDA will continue to update the public on antiviral supply through its website.

The CDC and FDA also reported spot shortages of vaccines during Friday's conference call. Companies that provide the vaccine were projected to give out 135 million doses of vaccine for this flu season, and to date 129 million doses have been distributed. Hamburg said another 10 million doses will be distributed, raising the total to 145 million flu vaccines; however, some formulations of the vaccine may be harder to come by. Doctors will be able to order more flu vaccines, she said, and people looking for shots should use the interactive map on to find available doses.

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