CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – A drug given to children and adults that can help ease flu symptoms is in short supply.

A local pharmacy has very little Tamiflu.

There is a major demand for the medicine because there are so many flu cases.

What was painful in the beginning might be worth it now.

“Were you brave?” asked Edward Ernst to his three-year-old son, Emett.

Emett and his 5-year-old sister Ada got COVID shots, a booster, and a flu shot.

“We feel like we’re protecting them the best we can at this point,” said Ernst.

Urgent Cares like the one at StarMed are packed because there are so many flu cases that pediatricians and primary care doctors send patients to urgent cares for them to be seen the same day.

“It’s definitely really scary, but I think we feel better with the kids vaccinated against COVID. They had their flu shot,” said Ernst.

The rise in flu cases early in the season is also straining pharmacies.

At Oakhurst Pharmacy in southeast Charlotte, they have very little Tamiflu left, a drug that helps ease flu symptoms.

“There’s just so many cases this year compared to what it has been for the last two years, so it’s showing up with a vengeance. I almost feel like it’s making up for lost time,” said Nate Ikner, a pharmacist.

The pharmacy is also running short on Tamiflu alternatives, drugs similar to Tamiflu, and they don’t have much Amoxicilin for children, an antibiotic used to treat illnesses like ear infections that are secondary to viral infections.

“So it’s a ripple effect,” said Ikner.

It’s trickling down to the youngest ones.

“Yeah, we’ve been lucky,” said Ernst.

Ada and Emett’s dad is thankful they’ve been virus-free.

Unfortunately, the pharmacist says this might get worse before it gets better. That’s because we’re so early in the flu season, but if you need Tamiflu and your pharmacy doesn’t have it, ask them or call around and see if they can track it down at another pharmacy.