Flu Vaccine 2000- Why The Shortage?

First of all, there is not going to be a "shortage" of the flu (influenza) vaccine this year!

That's right. You heard it from MedicineNet.com. There is NOT going to be a shortage of the flu vaccine for Y2K.

So, what IS the problem? There IS going to be a "delay" in getting the vaccine to those that need it.

Here's the scoop.

Two unfortunate problems occurred coincidentally that have lead to the delay. First, the production was of too low a yield for a particular new strain of the virus for some of the vaccine manufacturers. Therefore, it took longer to produce an adequate amount of vaccine that is powerful enough to guard against this strain (influenza A H3N2 ). Second, two of the major companies of flu vaccine had manufacturing problems, so that their production was simply unavailable.

According to information provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA): "Based on information received from manufacturers, the FDA currently estimates that the total number of doses of vaccine available for administration will ultimately be approximately 75 million doses in 2000-2001. This compares with approximately 74 million doses distributed in 1999-2000. While a major vaccine shortage has not occurred, and supplies of vaccine should ultimately be sufficient to allow vaccination of high-risk individuals, there will be delays in the distribution of the vaccine. In most years, the majority of flu vaccine is available by October. However, due to a variety of factors (see below), in 2000-2001, the majority of flu vaccine will likely become available considerably later, e.g., in November-December. As a result, temporary shortages could occur, depending on supply and demand."