Will higher demand for flu vaccines lead to a shortage?

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — With a possible “twin-demic” of influenza and COVID-19 looming, more people are flocking to get their flu vaccines. But is this causing a vaccine shortage? According to Dr. William Schaffner, Professor of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University, widespread shortages are unlikely.

Dr. Schaffner told News 2, “I have not heard of any kind of major shortages. I have heard of spot shortages. That is one provider or another either a doctor’s clinic or a pharmacy may not have influenza vaccines or the specific influenza vaccine that you would like to get. But I haven’t heard of anything general yet. I hope that is not the case because there is still time to be vaccinated and we all need to be vaccinated. If you are older than six months of age, please get your flu vaccine.”

One major reason why shortages are unlikely this flu season is because manufacturers made more flu vaccines this year than in previous years.

“There isn’t any doubt that the manufacturers are still in the process of making even more influenza vaccine, more than we’ve had in years past. Because they knew that persons, such as myself, across the country, were going to really get out there and get the word out and encourage people to get vaccinated,” Dr. Schaffner said.

The best time to get your influenza vaccination is right now. It can take anywhere from 10 days to two weeks for the protection to build in. And it’s protection that you will want if you come into contact with the flu.

According to Dr. Schaffner, “The vaccine’s not perfect but it still does a lot of good. And let me say, even if you happen to get the flu despite having the vaccine, your illness is going to be milder, it won’t be as severe. You’re less likely to need hospitalization and it’s been well-demonstrated, you’re less likely to die. What’s wrong with that?”

COVID-19 in Tennessee

(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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