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Despite recent reassurances from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 34% of Americans believe there will be an influenza vaccine shortage this year, according to a national survey conducted by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed said that they or their family members have already been inoculated or plan to get a flu shot this year, up from 50% who tried to get the vaccination last year.
"Unfortunately, consumers who are concerned about a shortage also are being deluged with a steady stream of media reports about a relatively small number of anthrax infections on the East Coast," says ASHP President Steven L. Sheaffer, PharmD, FASHP. "The similarity between flu and anthrax symptoms only confuses matters further."
Public health officials say there will be no shortage of the influenza vaccine this year. The vaccine is distributed in phases that are related to manufacturing capacity. Fifty-six percent of the total supply was available in October; 31% was delivered in November; and 13% will be delivered in December.