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Are We Running Out of Flu Vaccine?


Dec. 5, 2003 — If you haven’t however had your flu vaccine, don’t hold up any longer. Contrary to media reports, supplies haven’t run out — yet.

“There is flu vaccine out there within the commercial center,” CDC spokeswoman Karen Seeker tells WebMD. “We are working to see what the actual status of the flu antibody in the U.S. really is. But it is not unusual at this time of year for all flu supplies to be conveyed by their manufacturers. A parcel of places already are winding down their flu immunization programs. But on the off chance that we discover pockets of places that are brief of flu immunization, we would see that vaccine shipments go to them.”

Media reports have made much of the truth that Chiron Corp. and Aventis Pasteur Pharmaceuticals have already dispatched all 83 million doses of the killed flu antibodies they make. Along side 4 million to 5 million measurements of MedImmune’s FluMist nasal immunization, that’s the entire U.S. supply.

But just because the immunizations have been shipped doesn’t cruel state, neighborhood, and private health-care suppliers have run out.

“It is like we are a turkey farm,” Chiron representative John Gallagher tells WebMD. “Fair because we transported all out our turkeys by Thanksgiving doesn’t mean there aren’t any within the stores.”

MedImmune representative Lori Weiman says her company still has more of the nasal FluMist antibody. Indeed though it was affirmed only final June — for individuals matured 5 to 49 — the company was able to produce a few 4 million to 5 million dosages.

“We are not out,” Weiman tells WebMD. “We still have supply and would love to help ensure people this year.”

It’s Presently or Never

But on the off chance that you still haven’t had a shot or mist of flu immunization, don’t hold up. The maximum number of doses for this year, counting FluMist, adds up to 88 million at most. The CDC gauges there are 180 million Americans — children, elderly people, and health-care specialists — who truly ought to get inoculated. Fears of a more severe flu this year are greatly increasing request, says Michael Decker, MD, MPH, Aventis vice president for scientific and medical issues.

“I’d be surprised if individuals do not run out of vaccine. It is easy for that to happen this year,” Decker tells WebMD. “Nobody knows how much is sitting in doctors’ refrigerators. But the finest guess so distant is there’s likely not a part out there.”

Decker’s advice for individuals who still want the antibody: Get moving.

“If you move quickly, you can still get yourself a flu shot,” he says. “But it is like shopping on Christmas Eve. The first one or two places you go may be sold out.”

Why isn’t there more flu vaccine? There’s really more flu vaccine this year than last year — and last year, Decker says, demand was so moo that some 10 million measurements got thrown out. In the event that everyone who is assumed to urge their flu vaccine each year would get it, there would always be money related incentive for manufacturers to make more.

And more for this year is out of the address. The whole prepare takes around four months. This year’s immunization supply was started in February and began shipping in August.

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