Vanishing vaccine

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Anyone keeping up with the latest news about flu vaccines might be somewhat bewildered.

Near the end of September, the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center had to cancel some clinics for the seasonal flu vaccine because its supplier said it was unable to fill requests for about half the vaccine that had been ordered. On the last day of September, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the Southeast Missourian there was no overall shortage. Two days later, the Associated Press reported widespread delays in deliveries.

Why so much confusing information?

The biggest reason is that there are two major flu concerns this year: the seasonal flu, and the H1N1 (swine) flu. Vaccine producers hurried to get the seasonal flu vaccine out earlier than normal so they could concentration on production of the H1N1 vaccine. But logistics appear to have thwarted those plans, resulting in snafus for both kinds of vaccine.

And demand for flu immunizations has been high this year. More people seem to want as much protection as they can get.

Some seasonal flu vaccine is still available. The Jackson School District is offering clinics next week. It's still a good idea to be protected as winter approaches.

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