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Obama Administration Might Recommend Three Flu Shots for Americans This Fall
Date:5/5/2009

ontinues to work to prepare a vaccine, although "the decision doesn't need to be made now whether to manufacture a vaccine" for the next flu season.

Federal health officials will be looking for clues to what the swine flu virus -- officially designated H1N1 -- will do in the fall by monitoring what happens in the Southern Hemisphere, where the flu season there is just getting under way. "That will tell us a lot about whether the virus is changing, whether it's becoming more severe and what measures we might want to take in the fall," he said.

As with the previously tested strains of the swine flu virus, new testing has found that the pathogen remains susceptible to the two common antiviral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza, according to the CDC.

And that has led to a boom in sales of the two drugs in the United States, the AP reported Tuesday. Frightened by the prospects of the swine flu, Americans are snapping up the two antiviral medicines that treat the virus, whether they have it or not.

More than one-quarter of a million prescriptions for Tamiflu pills alone were filled at retail U.S pharmacies in the week ending last Friday. That's 34 times higher than the week before -- as the regular flu season wound down -- and more than double the peak of last winter's flu season, the news service said.

WHO officials stressed that the swine flu cannot be transmitted through the consumption of pork products.

U.S. Human Cases of H1N1 Flu Infection
(As of May 5, 2009, 11:00 AM ET)
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