"Tripledemic" Highlights The Necessity of Vaccinations

Pharmacy Practice in Focus: Health SystemsJanuary 2023
Volume 12
Issue 1

Some US pharmacies are experiencing medication shortages as a result of COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus cases.

Cases of COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus are creating a so-called tripledemic, and medication shortages are the result in some US pharmacies.1

Not only are pharmacies experiencing shortages of some prescription drugs, such as the antibiotic amoxicillin and the influenza antiviral medication oseltamivir phosphate (Tamiflu), even ordering OTC medications, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, is proving challenging in some areas. Children’s medications are reportedly particularly hard to order and stock.1,2

Recently, CVS Health Corp said it is restricting both in-person and online purchases to 2 children’s pain relief products, while Walgreens Boots Alliance has limited online purchases to 6 OTC fever reducers per transaction, but it does not have an in-store purchase limit.3

The answer, once again, to another winter of infections is getting vaccinated for both COVID-19 and influenza, which limits both the frequency and severity of these illnesses—meaning that fewer individuals will need access to medications. Pharmacists can lead the charge in encouraging patients to get the vaccines if they have not done so already.

In the Clinical Focus article in this issue, Joanna Lewis, PharmD, MBA, discusses the importance of staying up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccine and boosters and the latest recommendations, which vary based on age, first vaccination received, and time since the last dose.

Also in this issue, the Cover Feature explores how deprescribing can help optimize medication use. We also have several new features: Biosimilar Spotlight, Hazardous Drug Handling, and Transitions of Care.

We hope you and your patients stay healthy this winter.

Thanks for reading!


1. Cohen J. As flu, RSV and COVID-19 tripledemic surges, drug shortages are impacting children most. Forbes. December 4, 2022. Accessed December 20, 2022. https://www.forbes.com/sites/joshuacohen/2022/12/04/as-flu-rsv-and-covid-19-tripledemic-surges-drug-shortages-are-impacting-children-most/?sh=18d2ae3a48db

2. 2022-2023 influenza season: availability of antiviral medications. FDA. Updated December 5, 2022. Accessed December 20, 2022. https://www.fda.gov/media/120654/download

3. CVS, Walgreens limit purchases of children’s pain-relief medicine. CNN. December 19, 2022. Accessed December 20, 2022. https://www.cnn.com/2022/12/19/health/cvs-walgreens-children-limits/index.html

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