U.S. scrambles in flu vaccine shortage

Oct. 6, 2004 at 2:00 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- On news the U.S. supply of flu vaccine is cut in half, the American Medical Association called Wednesday for only high-risk patients to seek it first.

The crisis emerged Tuesday when British authorities temporarily suspended Chiron Corp.'s vaccine manufacturing license in Liverpool. As a result, some 40 million doses will not be shipped to the United States.

The AMA then issued a plea for conservation measures.

"We are calling on healthy individuals who are not at high risk for flu complications to do the right thing and defer vaccination, so those who are most at risk can get flu shots," said AMA trustee Ron Davis.

The high-risk group includes people aged 65 or over, children between 6 and 23 months of age, those living in nursing or long-term care facilities, anyone with chronic lung conditions, women who will be pregnant during flu season and healthcare workers.

Wednesday morning on ABC's "Good Morning America," Dr. Anthony Fauci said the MedImmune company had some 2 million doses of its intranasal FluMist in stock, and said for healthy people it was just as effective as the vaccine.

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