December 24, 2004


Vaccine Surplus Is Flu Scare's Ill Effect (David Pierson, December 24, 2004, LA Times)

After months of strictly limiting who can get a flu shot, public health officials in California are left with far more available vaccine than they expected and are urging more people to get inoculated before the medicine reaches the end of its shelf life.

Demand for the shots, which just a few months ago was so high that seniors citizens waited in line for hours, has dropped off significantly in recent weeks, prompting fears that private doctors and clinics will stop ordering the vaccine even though many people who got inoculated last year have not this year.

Of the 540,000 doses of vaccine set aside by the federal government for California doctors, physicians have ordered only 370,000. That leaves about 170,000 doses unclaimed, and officials say the vaccine is good only until the end of this flu season. [...]

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 40% to 49% of the 10 million Californians at high risk have received the shot this year. Health officials believe that is about the same figure as last year.

In other words, there never was a shortage.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 24, 2004 9:25 AM

Well, at least this is going to cost California less than all those locked-in natural gas contracts Gray Davis signed when they had the fuel shortage panic out there two winters ago.

Posted by: John at December 24, 2004 9:49 AM

The geniuses in Harris County and Houston have thus far refused to let on up on the vaccination requirements, despite a big surplus of the vaccine.

What are they saving it for?


Posted by: kevin whited at December 24, 2004 10:38 AM

Either way it's somehow Rumsfeld's fault.

Posted by: Tom Wall at December 24, 2004 11:27 AM

Yet another campaign NON issue for the Kerry camp. Remember? Talk about grasping at imaginary straws.

Posted by: John Resnick at December 24, 2004 12:13 PM

NJ passed a law which made it illegal to inoculate anyone who was not a senior citizen or under 12.

Posted by: Bart at December 24, 2004 5:53 PM