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

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    Friday, November 11, 2005

    Clueless in Atlanta: The CDC stands by its claim that there is no flu vaccine shortage:

    As many Americans express frustration that they cannot get an influenza shot because of production and distribution problems, a top federal health official offered reassurance yesterday and urged patience.

    ....So far, at least 71.5 million doses of influenza vaccine have been distributed, including 55 million from Sanofi Pasteur, a unit of Aventis Pasteur; 8 million from Chiron; 7.5 million from GlaxoSmithKline; and 1 million from Medimmune.

    About 81 million doses, just short of the record 83 million, will be distributed by the end of this month, Dr. Gerberding said. Shortages have become a common problem as health officials have broadened the recommendations for influenza immunizations in recent years. About 180 million people should be vaccinated this year, but fewer than half will try to get a shot.

    Public health agencies and private vaccine manufacturers cooperate to provide influenza immunizations, and collaboration has been very good this year, Dr. Gerberding said.

    Has it? Even the big buyers of influenza vaccine have not been able to meet demand, and have had to cancel flu shot clinics.

    And hospital systems are having the same problems:

    Just this week Inova Health System, worried that it probably will be 25,000 vaccine doses short of its target for the season, again restricted its hospital-based program to high-risk groups and canceled its remaining clinics at libraries, churches and workplaces.

    "We are very disappointed that this situation has occurred once again this year," said Beth Visioli, a spokeswoman for the Northern Virginia not-for-profit medical organization. "We are attempting to secure other vaccine supplies, but as other providers across the nation face a similar situation, we are not finding many available additional supplies."

    There is a startling disconnect between the CDC and the reality on the ground, as even Dr. Gerberding partially acknowledges:

    A precise map of the shortages will not be available until her agency collects more information, Dr. Gerberding said.

    Maybe the agency should refrain from making pronouncements on plentiful supplies since they lack the data. Or maybe they should just ask some the people who buy and sell the vaccine how things are going.

    posted by Sydney on 11/11/2005 06:23:00 PM 0 comments


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