California Newspapers Examine Statewide Availability of Flu Vaccine
With the announcement on Friday that influenza vaccine manufacturers Aventis Pasteur and Chiron have exhausted their supplies, several state newspapers looked at supply levels of the flu vaccine in California. Summaries appear below.
- Alameda County: The county's supply of flu vaccine is expected to be adequate, according to Dr. Anthony Iton, the county's public health officer, the Oakland Tribune reports. He added that the state on Wednesday granted his request for an additional 500 doses of the vaccine (Vesely, Oakland Tribune, 12/6).
- El Dorado County: The county is "in short supply" of the flu vaccine, and the entire remaining supply is "spoken for," immunization coordinator Cathy Dunbar said, the Sacramento Bee reports.
- Placer County: Flu vaccinations still are available in the county, according to the Bee.
- Sacramento County: The Bee reports that the county still has flu vaccine doses available. However, Kaiser Permanente spokesperson Jeff Hausman said that demand in the Sacramento region has led the HMO to assess whether it can continue vaccination efforts through this week as planned (Griffith, Sacramento Bee, 12/6)
- San Diego County: Several local physicians have run out of flu vaccine doses, San Diego County Medical Society President Dr. James Knight said Friday, adding that for those who have waited to receive the vaccine, there is "going to be a shortage," the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Clinics affiliated with the county's health department have about 700 of 62,000 doses remaining, and they are expected to be exhausted this week, according to county public health officer Dr. Nancy Bowen. Of 75 community clinics serving the uninsured, only four have am adequate supply of the vaccine for people who are not established patients, according to Vicki Mizel, interim head of the Council of Community Clinics (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/6).
- Santa Clara County: Some clinics in the county have begun rationing flu shots, reserving them for "the most vulnerable populations," while "shopping around" for more supplies, according to county health officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, the San Jose Mercury News reports. At the same time, health care providers have been "overwhelmed" with requests for the inoculations. For example, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation is receiving 200 requests each day for the vaccine -- 10 times more than last year, according to Jill Antonides, a spokesperson for the foundation's five clinics (Portner/Patel, San Jose Mercury News, 12/6).
- Sonoma County: County officials on Friday said that there are about 2,000 doses of the flu vaccine left in the county, but they cannot be certain that estimate is accurate because several health agencies are involved in redistributing the remaining supply to vaccination clinics, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. County Public Health Officer Dr. Mary Maddux-Gonzalez said local health authorities are working to obtain more doses of the flu vaccine from the Department of Health Services because they are "uncertain" whether the county's supply is sufficient. Sonoma County Health Department, Kaiser Permanente and Sutter VNA & Hospice, which all administer vaccination clinics, are redistributing the remaining supplies to allow the final scheduled inoculations of the season to be performed (Rose, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 12/6).
- Ventura County: Most county-sponsored inoculation clinics effectively ran out of the flu vaccine Friday afternoon, after county officials reported 19 cases of flu last week, the Los Angeles Times reports. However, Dr. Robert Levin, the county's public health officer, said he is working to obtain more doses of the vaccine from distributors (Barnes, Los Angeles Times, 12/6).
- Yolo County: The county ran out of the flu vaccine on Friday, according to county health officer Dr. Bette Hinton, the Bee reports. Hinton added that she is not aware of any shortages among local private physicians (Sacramento Bee, 12/6).