Commentary on medical news by a practicing physician.

  • Epocrates MedSearch Drug Lookup


    "When many cures are offered for a disease, it means the disease is not curable" -Anton Chekhov

    ''Once you tell people there's a cure for something, the more likely they are to pressure doctors to prescribe it.''
    -Robert Ehrlich, drug advertising executive.

    "Opinions are like sphincters, everyone has one." - Chris Rangel

    email: medpundit-at-ameritech.net

    or if that doesn't work try:


    Medpundit RSS

    Quirky Museums and Fun Stuff

    Who is medpundit?

    Tech Central Station Columns

    Book Reviews:
    Read the Review

    Read the Review

    Read the Review

    More Reviews

    Second Hand Book Reviews


    Medical Blogs


    DB's Medical Rants

    Family Medicine Notes

    Grunt Doc




    Code Blog: Tales of a Nurse

    Feet First

    Tales of Hoffman

    The Eyes Have It


    SOAP Notes


    Cut-to -Cure

    Black Triangle



    Kevin, M.D

    The Lingual Nerve

    Galen's Log



    Doctor Mental



    Finestkind Clinic and Fish Market

    The Examining Room of Dr. Charles

    Chronicles of a Medical Mad House



    Health Facts and Fears

    Health Policy Blogs

    The Health Care Blog

    HealthLawProf Blog

    Facts & Fears

    Personal Favorites

    The Glittering Eye

    Day by Day


    The Business Word Inc.

    Point of Law

    In the Pipeline


    Tim Blair

    Jane Galt

    The Truth Laid Bear

    Jim Miller

    No Watermelons Allowed

    Winds of Change

    Science Blog

    A Chequer-Board of Night and Days

    Arts & Letters Daily

    Tech Central Station





    The Skeptic's Dictionary

    Recommended Reading

    The Doctor Stories by William Carlos Williams

    Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82 by Elizabeth Fenn

    Intoxicated by My Illness by Anatole Broyard

    Raising the Dead by Richard Selzer

    Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

    The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

    The Sea and Poison by Shusaku Endo

    A Midwife's Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich



    American Academy of Pediatrics

    General Health Info

    Travel Advice from the CDC

    NIH Medical Library Info



    Wednesday, September 29, 2004

    Vaccine Shortages: There is a vaccine against the pneumococcus bacteria, a bacteria that causes pneumonia and occasionally meningitis, that has been in short supply for some time. Wyeth, the maker of the vaccine says that the shortage is over. Last week, I was at a conference on infectious disease in which one of the speakers arched his eyebrows at us and insinuated we'd better be vaccinating kids now or we might get sued. And the CDC has been busy notifying the media that children should start getting the shots again:

    There have been on- and off-again shortages of Prevnar, but the maker, Wyeth, has returned to full production, the CDC and other health groups said.

    That means small children can return to the recommended four-dose schedule, the Atlanta-based CDC said.

    'The manufacturer has assured CDC that PCV7 (Prevnar) supplies are now adequate and health-care providers should return to the full schedule,' Dr. Steve Cochi, acting director of the CDC's National Immunization Program, said in a statement.

    I've been trying to buy the vaccine since July when the company first announced that its supply problems were improving, but I've had no luck. My most recent attempt was three days ago. The medical supply companies I use can't seem to get their hands on it. I tried contacting Wyeth myself to order it without the middle man - still no luck. I was told the vaccine was on "allotment," and they couldn't tell me when it would be available. They haven't been forthcoming in explaining why I can't buy the vaccine, but according to this document, they aren't selling it to distributors - which is odd, since that's how most doctors get their medical supplies. Even the military can't get it. Once again, there's a vast disconnect between the CDC's public statements and reality. I hope they've got a better handle on the supply of vaccines against bioterror agents.

    UPDATE: A reader:

    Weird that you can't get any -- my son just got his 4th shot on the
    23rd. I hope you get some soon -- I don't hink my 18 month old needs
    it nearly as much as the newborns out there!

    Yes. Vaccine supply is oddly managed. I've been in touch with colleagues who say they haven't had trouble getting vaccine at all, even when it was in short supply. I was able to meet with a Wyeth rep today who's making arrangements for me to buy some vaccine. Turns out you can only buy the vaccine from the manufacturer, and you have to special account to do it. They've been supplying their established costumers with rationed amounts of vaccine, depending on their needs, and are just ramping up supply enough now to meet the needs of new customers. Unlike most vaccines, you can't buy it from medical supply distributors. (It would be nice if the medical supply companies would let their customers know that instead of just saying it's on "back order" for ever.)

    But what this means is that some young infants, who need the vaccine the most, are going without the vaccine because their doctors are waiting for supplies to catch up, while other (older) children, are getting less critical booster shots. It's enough to make one long for some sort coordinated oversight of vaccine distribution.

    posted by Sydney on 9/29/2004 08:05:00 AM 0 comments


    Post a Comment

    This page is powered by Blogger, the easy way to update your web site.

    Main Page


    Home   |   Archives

    Copyright 2006