Swine Flu Hype Makes It Hard to Fight Seasonal Flu

H1N1 concerns prompting vaccine shortages

By Ashley E. Brown
|  Tuesday, Oct 13, 2009  |  Updated 8:29 AM EDT
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Swine Flu Concerns Prompting Seasonal Flu Vaccine Shortage

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Swine flu concerns are making the seasonal flu vaccine hard to come by this year.

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Swine Flu Concerns Prompting Seasonal Flu Vaccine Shortage

Concerns surrounding swine flu are making more difficult to prevent the seasonal flu from spreading. Health care providers say heightened H1N1 concerns have lead to unprecedented demand for the seasonal flu vaccine.
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The H1N1 flu has gotten so bad that it's even kicking the snot out of the seasonal flu.
 
More specifically, the concerns surrounding swine flu are making more difficult to prevent the seasonal flu from spreading.

 
Remember the seasonal flu? That little bug nobody really cared about as much in years past, even though it too had sometimes deadly outcomes?
 
Well there's an unprecedented demand for seasonal flu vaccines this year. There were at least 77 million doses of the vaccine shipped to the United States by early October, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention -- way more than the same time last year. But overwhelming demand has already kept many people from getting the seasonal flu shot.
 
Health care providers chalk it up to heightened fears about swine flu. They say since most people don't yet have access to the H1N1 vaccine, they're snatching up seasonal flu vaccines like crazy. This is despite the fact that getting a seasonal flu shot won't protect you from H1N1.
 
So don't expect an instant inoculation if you visit your local pharmacy. CVS and Walgreens -- two of the nation's largest pharmacies -- are already reporting shortages of seasonal flu vaccine at some of its stores.
 
The earlier you get vaccinated for either strain of flu, the sooner you'll be protected. But some experts are urging us not to freak out if we have to wait a little longer for the shots. We're in for a lengthy flu season.
 
"Flu season around this area doesn't peak until January, February, or March," said Rachel Lynch, of Inova Health Clinics. "So getting a flu shot now is great, but there is still some time in November, December, and January."

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