"The take-home message is that the flu vaccine is moderately effective this year, and people who are vaccinated have about a 60 percent lower risk of getting the flu compared to someone who is not vaccinated," Dr. Edward Belongia, an epidemiologist and a lead researcher on the report, said in a statement Friday. "It's a safe vaccine that can help prevent the flu and its complications in both children and adults," he said.
The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated. The agency urges people at higher risk for severe disease -- including young children, pregnant women, anyone with a chronic health problem and the elderly -- to get the vaccine.
However, spot shortages of vaccine and the antiviral drug Tamiflu may make preventing and treating the flu more difficult for some people.
The pharmaceutical company Roche is reporting shortages of the liquid form of Tamiflu, according to USA Today. Liquid Tamiflu is often given to children unable to swallow pills.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Sarah Clark-Lynn told The New York Times that the FDA is working with the company that markets Tamiflu, Genentech, to increase supplies. The agency is also telling pharmacists that in emergencies they can compound the adult Tamiflu capsules to make liquid versions for children.
Meanwhile, drug maker Sanofi is reporting a shortage of Fluzone vaccine, according to published reports.
Sanofi has said it has produced all the vaccine it can for this year and has started work on next year's vaccine.
"The FDA is aware of reports of some spot shortages of influenza vaccine," FDA spokeswoman Rita Chappelle said. "At this time, we believe that there is an adequate supply available, but there may be some delays in distribution. We think it is important that pharmacies, h
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