High Cost of Flu Vaccine Raises Concerns about a Possible Shortage
With the price of flu vaccines for the Department of Health Services more than doubling this year, the state has ordered only 270,000 doses, compared with 700,000 distributed last year, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. DHS has informed county health departments, which distribute the shots to public health clinics, nursing homes and hospitals, to expect one-third of the doses they received last year. Dr. Natalie Smith, chief of immunizations for the state, said that she will seek additional state funding to purchase the 430,000 doses. Initially, the state had budgeted $1.25 million for flu vaccines, the same amount as last year, but Aventis Pasteur, the largest producer of the flu vaccine, has raised prices to $4.50 per dose this year, more than double last year's price of $1.80. According to Aventis spokesperson Sherri Michelstein, the price has increased because the company expanded production, ading that the price has not "kept pace with research and development costs in recent years." With state lawmakers focusing on the energy crisis, local health care officials worry that the vaccine program will not receive the necessary attention, the Union-Tribune reports. Public health officials also fear doctors' offices will be offering fewer shots this year because of the increased price (Duerksen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/5).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.