A US biotech firm Moderna has reported 'positive interim' results in early testing of a vaccine candidate
A US biotech firm Moderna has reported 'positive interim' results in early testing of a vaccine candidate AFP / Thibault Savary

U.S. pharmacies are bracing for a surge in demand for flu vaccines in October when the seasonal influenza kicks off. Many medical experts believe this may coincide with a second wave of COVID-19 in the country.

Big pharma companies are already stocking up on flu shots as the industry expects an increased demand by fall. CVS Health Corp., one of the largest pharmacies in the U.S., is already working on ensuring it has enough doses. Rite Aid Corp. has also ordered 40% more vaccines, Reuters reported.

Drugmakers are also working double time to meet the demand. Australian-based manufacturer CSL Ltd’s Seqirus said it has already seen an increase of 10%.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 39 million to 56 million flu cases from October 2019 to April 4, 2020. Of these, 18 million to 26 million led to medical visits and up to 740,000 flu cases will be hospitalized. An estimated 62,000 will die of the illness.

These numbers could surge to unprecedented numbers if it coincides with a second wave of COVID-19. So far, as of May 27, 5:54 AEST, there are already 1.725 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States and 100,572 deaths, Worldometer data revealed.

While getting a flu shot doesn’t protect from COVID-19, and there are no approved vaccines for the coronavirus, Americans still aim to get it in the fall. According to a Reuters/ Ipsos poll, 60% of adults plan to get vaccinated by October.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, has warned a second wave of the coronavirus is “inevitable.”

"If by that time we have put into place all of the countermeasures that you need to address this, we should do reasonably well," Fauci said. "If we don't do that successfully, we could be in for a bad fall and a bad winter."