Flu Vaccine Shortage Alert
Oct 5, 2004 -- The US. faces a significant shortage in flu vaccine. This became evident today after Chiron Corp., manufacturer of the influenza vaccine Fluvirin, announced it is unable to release flu vaccine for at least 3 months. Fluvirin, which is manufactured in England, accounts for almost half of the total US influenza vaccine supply.
It has been recommended that the available flu vaccine be reserved for the following high-risk groups, which are considered of equal priority:
These guidelines have been jointly agreed upon by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), and the AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians).
The inhaled flu vaccine FluMist is appropriate for healthy people 5-49 years of age in close contact with infants 0-6 months of age and for health care workers who are not in contact with severely immunocompromised persons.
On October 5, 2004, CDC was notified by Chiron Corporation that none of its influenza vaccine (Fluvirin®) would be available for distribution in the United States for the 2004-05 influenza season. The company indicated that the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the United Kingdom, where Chiron's Fluvirin vaccine is produced, has suspended the company's license to manufacture Fluvirin vaccine in its Liverpool facility for 3 months, preventing any release of this vaccine for this influenza season. This action will reduce by approximately one half the expected supply of trivalent inactivated vaccine (flu shot) available in the United States for the 2004-05 influenza season.
The remaining supply of influenza vaccine expected to be available in the United States this season is nearly 54 million doses of Fluzone® (inactivated flu shot) manufactured by Aventis Pasteur, Inc. Of these doses, approximately 30 million doses already have been distributed by the manufacturer. In addition, approximately 1.1 million doses of live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV/FluMist ®) manufactured by MedImmune will be available this season.
Because of this urgent situation, CDC, in coordination with its Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP), is issuing interim recommendations for influenza vaccination during the 2004-05 season. These interim recommendations were formally recommended by ACIP on October 5, 2004, and take precedence over earlier recommendations.
Priority Groups for Influenza Vaccination
The following priority groups for vaccination with inactivated influenza vaccine this season are considered to be of equal importance and are:
Other Vaccination Recommendations