The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is moving to ensure that influenza vaccines are in ample supply for the upcoming flu season. The effort is an attempt to head off what could be an overwhelming wave of flu and COVID-19 infections.
In Thursday testimony submitted to a House of Representatives committee, CDC director Robert Redfield said the agency is working with drugmakers to increase vaccine availability and testing options, so that Americans can be tested in safe environments, according to a Reuters report. The agency is also requesting emergency use authorization for a test that can differentiate flu from COVID-19, Redfield said.
Pharmacy chains are likewise expecting a viral surge and are planning on a big vaccination campaign push when flu season begins in October. CVS Health Corp and Rite Aid Corp, told Reuters that they are preparing for increased demand by ordering additional vaccine doses. Drugmakers are responding by ramping up production, the news outlet found.
While fewer than half of Americans usually get vaccinated for the flu, this year about 60% of U.S. adults say that they plan to do so, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted in May.