US Fears over Vaccine Shortage

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), October 20, 2004 | Go to article overview

US Fears over Vaccine Shortage


Byline: CLARE USHER

FEAR is beginning to spread after a Speke-based firm lost its licence to produce flu vaccine, leading to massive shortages in America.

Chiron Vaccines was one of just two suppliers of the immunisation Fluvirin to the whole of the USA and now their whole year's campaign is held in quarantine.

The National Institute of Health's infectious disease chief, Dr Anthony Fauci, said that there was likely to be a ``significant shortage''.

Police have reportedly been called out to calm flu-shot hunters who are queuing round the block for the injection, some elderly people saying they have stood in line from 6 am according to the Washington Post newspaper. Supermarkets have been running clinics but using all their doses before midday, leaving many to search for other sources.

Nearly two thirds of the Aventis Pasteur supply of 55. 4m doses has already been distributed and cannot be recalled.

Chiron have reported on the situation and called the incident ``a public health tragedy of substantial magnitude'' but they ``vow to assist the men and women of the public health service as they handle the challenges of this season''.

The report added: ``We will make all the necessary investments in people and processes to bring our Liverpool facility up to the highest standards of regulatory compliance'', which includes research into new methods of vaccine production using cell culture technology rather than injecting into eggs. …

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