Demand for influenza vaccines is soaring this year due to fear and paranoia over a possible “twindemic” of seasonal flu and the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).
Walmart Inc., Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., CVS Health Corp., and Rite Aid Corp. have all indicated that they are administering substantially more flu shots this year compared to last year, generating tens of millions of dollars in new profits.
As federal officials urge Americans to get jabbed for the flu, lingering worry over COVID-19 appears to be driving many more people than usual to pop into their local pharmacies for a fear shot.
“Right out of the gate, we saw much more volume than last August,” indicated Rite Aid Chief Pharmacy Officer Jocelyn Konrad.
Rite Aid, one of the smaller of the pharmacy chains, says it ordered 3.9 million flu shots for 2020. This is compared to 2.6 million jabs in 2019, a roughly 40 percent increase.
Walmart likewise says it has seen a surge of customers demanding flu shots, especially as shuttered workplaces are no longer offering their usual “flu shot clinics.” The big box giant says it is seeing a doubling of demand for flu shots.
While about 50 percent of Americans would normally get a seasonal flu shot, this year that figure appears to be jumping to around 60 percent.
GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK), Sanofi SA, and CSL Ltd., three major flu shot manufacturers, have all increased production by between 10 and 20 percent. Collectively, they will produce around 190 million flu shots for the American market.
CVS, meanwhile, says it plans to jab 18 million people in 2020 for the flu. Last year, the company only jabbed nine million people, meaning demand has roughly doubled due to COVID-19 hysteria.
While a normal year would see a bulk of flu shot recipients getting jabbed at the workplace, this year has seen a sharp uptick in people working from home due to the plandemic. As a result, pharmacies are seeing record sales.
According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 23 percent of employed Americans are working from home as of September, meaning all of these folks are not able to get jabbed at work. Consequently, many of them are rushing out to the nearest pharmacy to get jabbed there instead.
The Trump administration also loosened rules allowing children who cannot go to a pediatrician’s office to be vaccinated to be jabbed elsewhere, such as inside a Walmart store.
“As we see people continue to be concerned about health in general, we may well see this higher volume of vaccination carry on into the season,” stated Walmart Chief Medical Officer Tom Van Gilder, glowing with dollar signs in his eyes.
The 1976 “swine” flu outbreak saw a similar fast-tracked vaccination campaign that ultimately led to at least 450 people developing Guillain-Barré syndrome, a neurological disorder that can cause muscle weakness, paralysis or even death.
“It wasn’t picked up in the clinical trials,” warns Dr. Glen Nowak, who previously worked at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as its National Immunization Program Communications Director.
“And it wasn’t detected until millions of people were vaccinated because it was a one-in-100,000 event. You needed probably 10, 20, 30 people to experience Guillain-Barré syndrome before the light bulb went off, and you said, ‘Wow, this may really be related to the vaccine.’”
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