ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Supply chain issues have impacted grocery and retail stores across the country. Now, pharmacies are starting to feel the effects with shortages in medicine such as Amoxicillin and Tamiflu. These medications are used to treat the flu, Covid-19 and RSV, as well as bacterial infections that can happen with flu like symptoms like Pneumonia.

According to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services, flu season came early this year. With colder weather spiking cases of the flu, Covid-19, and RSV, health professionals are calling it a ‘tripledemic.’ If you walk into your local pharmacy for a prescription or over the counter flu medication, you might notice some shelves are empty.

Matthew Pennington, Abilene pharmacist and co-owner of James McCoy’s Drug Store, said when he goes online to purchase Amoxicillin or Tamiflu from a wholesaler, he is greeted with messages that say an item is out of stock or delayed. In the instance that something is in stock, hospitals have priority, leaving shelves at the pharmacy empty.

“Hospitals are going to be the first ones to get the medication naturally. That’s where the sickest people are at. So, they are going to be first line to get the medicine. Whatever is left over, the community pharmacies will access too,” Pennington explained.

Pennington shared that his pharmacy has received calls from people and other pharmacies to ask if Amoxicillin or Tamiflu is in stock. He said that once he explains the supply chain issues, people are pretty understanding. However, he shared kids have a higher chance of getting a flu like illness as they interact with other children at school, daycare and the park.

“People understand that there is supply chain issues. It’s just now starting to hit the medications. It’s one thing if you can’t get a deep freeze, it’s another thing if you can get your antibiotic for your kids. You know that hits home,” Pennington expressed.

John Walker, father of a two-year-old daughter, said his child attends daycare, but the medication shortage is not a high concern for him since his daughter is young and has a pretty strong immune system. However, to prevent her from falling ill, he ensures her hygiene is well kept and takes action at the first sign of flu like symptoms.

“She gets like runny noses and a little cough every now and then, but just keeping her hydrated and giving her a nice warm shower. Sort of monitoring her temperature every now and then when she has those symptoms,” said Walker.

Dr. Gary Goodnight, Health Authority for the Taylor County Health District, said health trends are always changing. So, there may be spikes of the flu throughout the season. He added that even with medication shortages for flu-like symptoms, alternative medication exists.

“There are other good antibiotics that will cover some of those same microbes. It’s just a matter of talking to your doctor and telling them it wasn’t available,” said Goodnight.

Goodnight emphasized prevention is key. He recommended that people get the flu vaccine and wear a mask if they do get sick. He said this will help prevent getting other people sick, therefore reducing the number of cases in the area. Goodnight also encourages people to wash their hands, stay in well ventilated areas to prevent the spread of respiratory illness and to follow CDC guidelines when ill.

Visit Weekly US Map: Influenza Summary Update | CDC or Flu | Activity Report 2021-2022 (texas.gov) for Taylor County Specific data surrounding the flu or other illness.