Dr. John Treanor, a professor of infectious disease at University of Rochester in New York, said Fluzone is by far the most widely used flu vaccine in the United States.
"But at this point obviously most people who are going to be vaccinated already have been, so the effects of a vaccine shortage would probably be minimal -- although frustrating for those people who do still want vaccine," he said.
Shortages of Tamiflu would be more problematic because this is the middle of the outbreak, Treanor said.
"General recommendations are that antiviral therapy should be targeted to those individuals with higher risk of influenza complications or with severe disease, and not used routinely in otherwise healthy individuals with uncomplicated flu," he said.
Dr. Marc Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said 135 million doses of flu vaccine were manufactured and 128 million doses have been distributed. "The question is how many of the flu shots that were distributed actually got used," he said.
Siegel said Tamiflu is the most effective antiviral for flu, although there are alternatives. "Tamiflu significantly reduces symptoms, severity and length of contagion," he said.
Siegel is concerned, however, that people might panic and hoard Tamiflu. "We need calm... The flu should be declining by a month from now," he said.
For more information on flu, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCES: John J. Treanor, M.D., professor of infectious disease, University of Rochester, N.Y.; Marc Siegel, M.D., associate professor of medicine, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City; Rita Chappelle, spokeswoman, U.S. Food and Drug Admi
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