WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- The Biden administration ordered the release of the flu medicine Tamiflu from the Strategic National Stockpile.
- The early arrival of the flu season caused a rise in winter illnesses and generated a high demand for flu medicines.
- Anyone above 2 weeks old can be prescribed the antiviral Tamiflu.
The Biden administration has ordered the Strategic National Stockpile to make available additional doses of the prescription flu medicine Tamiflu to supply the rise in demand for influenza medicines this year.
Even if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not listed a shortage of Tamiflu, the sharp increase in influenza cases has spiked the need for antiviral as well as over-the-counter medicines. Anyone who is over two weeks old can be prescribed Tamiflu.
Influenza hit early this year and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that 15 million people have fallen ill from the flu with 150,000 hospitalized and 9,300 deaths.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement, “Today we are taking action so that every jurisdiction can meet the increased demand for Tamiflu this flu season. State stockpiles can be utilized, and if jurisdictions need access to the Strategic National Stockpile, they now have it to respond to the current seasonal flu outbreak.”
Jurisdiction requests for Tamiflu from the Strategic National Stockpile will be evaluated by the HHS’s Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response.
Jurisdictions are allowed to use certain lots of Tamiflu procured for pandemic preparedness between 2006 to 2009 in the current flu season. For those who have exhausted their supply, supplemental doses can also be requested from the national stockpile.
Instead of the usual between October and May with peaks in December and January, flu season has arrived six weeks early. This time, it is also more severe. People ages 65 and older and children 4 and younger registered the highest cases.
After COVID-19 restrictions on masking and social distancing were lifted, people have become vulnerable to the flu virus.
There may have been a decrease in RSV or respiratory syncytial virus infections that caused children’s hospitals to be overcrowded but flu cases have risen and so has COVID-19.
Source: The Hill