Providers Prepare for Shortage of Flu Vaccine, Target Highest-Risk Individuals
Health care officials across the state Wednesday worked to develop a plan to ration flu vaccine doses in advance of an expected shortage, one day after Chiron announced it would not provide any inoculations to the United States this year, the Los Angeles Times reports (Chong/Saillant, Los Angeles Times, 10/7).
On Tuesday, Chiron informed the U.S. government that British regulatory authorities had suspended the company's license to manufacture flu vaccine at its Liverpool, England plant because of contamination issues. The plant manufactures Chiron's entire supply of flu vaccine for the United States, which accounts for half of the total U.S. supply each year. Prior to the announcement, the U.S. expected to have 100 million doses of flu vaccine (California Healthline, 10/6). Now health officials expect to have about 56 million doses, mostly produced by Aventis Pasteur (Manning, USA Today, 10/7). Maryland-based MedImmune will produce another two million doses of nasal flu vaccine spray.
In light of the shortage, federal health officials are recommending that providers limit vaccines to those at highest risk from influenza, including children younger than 23 months, seniors older than 65, health care workers and people with chronic diseases (California Healthline, 10/7).
According to the Times, clinics, pharmacies and physician offices on Wednesday were "thronged" with people seeking flu shots. In Los Angeles County, local health officials said they had "only a fraction" of the flu vaccine doses that were available last year. Officials are developing a plan to pool available vaccines to inoculate high-risk individuals. They also plan to launch a public-education campaign to help reduce exposure (Los Angeles Times, 10/7).
- "Providers scramble for vaccine" (Silber/Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 10/7).
- "O.C. feels effect of flu-vaccine shortage" (Liddane, Orange County Register, 10/7).
- "Supply hinders area flu clinics" (Weaver Teichert/Peyton Dahlberg, Sacramento Bee, 10/7).
- "County studies flu shot supply; Firm's reduced vaccine production prompts call to seniors to go to other providers" (Roberts, San Luis Obispo Tribune, 10/7).
- "Anxious scramble for flu vaccinations; Area patients worried about shortage flood public clinics" (Severens Lyons, San Jose Mercury News, 10/7).
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