The Department of Health and Human Services said on Wednesday it will release prescription flu medication from the strategic national stockpile amid an unusually early and severe flu season.
Parts of the United States are being hit hard by a combination of respiratory viruses, including the flu, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), and COVID-19.
Tamiflu, or oseltamivir phosphate, comes in liquid and capsule form and fights the flu by stopping the virus from multiplying in an infected person’s body.
The FDA does not currently list Tamiflu as being in a nationwide shortage, but is aware of “localized shortages where demand is especially high.”
Other medications are also in short supply. Some pharmacies, including Walgreens and CVS, have placed limits on purchases of children’s pain relief medication.
The FDA warned last month of an “acute shortage” of amoxicillin, an antibiotic used to treat bacterial respiratory infections.
The CDC estimates that there have been at least 15 million illnesses so far this flue season, resulting in 150,000 hospitalizations, and 9,300 deaths.
For the week ending Dec. 10, 48 jurisdictions were experiencing high or very high flu activity, while just three were experiencing moderate activity, according to the CDC.