Several family physicians in North Texas are reporting that they’re running low on the flu vaccine and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tamiflu, the antiviral medication used to treat the flu is flying off the shelves at local pharmacies.
Steve Vincent from Garland said once upon a time, he got a flu shot and days later, he got the flu.
“My wife made me get it,” he said. “I got as sick as a dog and I don’t want that to happen again," he said.
He said despite his uneasy feeling about the flu vaccine in the midst of a flu epidemic, he wants to make sure that both he and his elderly mother are in good health.
Dr. Carlton Keith Clarke, a family physician from Broadway Medical Clinic in Garland, said his patients have been calling him around the clock to get a flu shot. However, the demand is greater than the supply.
"I ran out of the flu vaccine two months ago,” said Dr. Clarke. “We started giving the vaccine back in October, and I ran out of it twice and got restocked again."
"Every year, the virus changes its shape and form,” said Dr. Clarke. He states the specific strain in circulation is H3N2 and suggests that it doesn’t hurt to test twice for the virus.
“You can have false positive and false negative,” said Dr. Clarke. “Let’s say someone comes in with a two-day history of symptoms of fever, aches and pains, and we test them with a nasal swab, and it comes back negative. I would test again and air on the side of caution due to the clinical symptoms.”
According to the CDC, antiviral medications have been flying off the shelves of local pharmacies.
Dr. Clarke said he prescribes several medications in addition to the generic version of Tamiflu because it is affordable and readily available to his patients.