CDC takes steps to ensure use of remaining flu vaccine supplies
NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 14, 2005
As the influenza vaccine season winds down and the flu season winds up, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed the broadening of recommendations for who should receive the vaccine in areas with ample supplies.
The agency also made available 3.1 million doses in the federal government's emergency reserve to physicians and other health care providers and permitted the use of flu vaccine in the government's Vaccines for Children program for use by those not usually eligible for it.
These steps were taken because of increasing concern that limited vaccine supplies might not be used. The nation's expected vaccine supplies shrank significantly from nearly 100 million to 61 million in October, when Chiron Corp. announced that it would not be providing shots because of contamination problems.
"Too many people who are at high risk for the serious complications of influenza are not vaccinated, and, quite frankly, that is just tragic," said CDC Director Julie Gerberding, MD, MPH.
The 3.1 million doses are being turned over to Sanofi Pasteur, formerly Aventis Pasteur, to sell directly to those who provide shots. These doses can be administered to anyone who wants one, and, unlike most flu vaccine ordered this season, unused doses can be returned to the company for a credit.
The actions were praised by physicians for encouraging additional use of the vaccine.
"It is our hope that increased awareness of this new availability of the vaccine will encourage those who have not yet been vaccinated to protect themselves from the flu," said AMA Trustee Ronald M. Davis, MD.
Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2005/02/14/hlbf0214.htm.