Budget Constraints Force State To Decrease Number of Flu Vaccine Doses Purchased
Budgetary constraints have forced the Department of Health Services this year to reduce the number of flu vaccine doses it sends to county health departments, which may force counties to cut back on their vaccination campaigns, the Fresno Bee reports. The price of the vaccines increased 24%, from $5.90 per dose in 2002 to $7.35 this year, while the state budget for the 2003-2004 flu season remained flat at $3.8 million. The state has purchased about 700,000 doses of flu vaccine for the past several years, but price increases this year forced the state to reduce the number of doses purchased to 563,800, Nisha Gandhi, DHS' adult immunization coordinator, said. As a result, many counties will receive fewer doses this year than they did last year. For example, Fresno County will receive only 4,600 shots this year, compared with 10,990 last year, while Tulare County will receive 4,100 doses this year, compared with 6,000 last year. Kings County will receive 1,900 doses, compared with 2,400 last year. County health officials say they will "do all they can to keep supplies of the vaccine on hand well into the flu season, ... but they don't know whether they can pull it off," the Bee reports. Gandhi said that although counties are receiving fewer doses for flu shots this fall, the supply "should be ample," according to the Bee. She noted that the state is giving counties doses comparable to the number of flu shots they administered last year, instead of the number they received (Anderson, Fresno Bee, 10/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.