Flu vaccine expands this fall to prevent shortages

CDC: Start campaigns in October

The supply of influenza vaccine will be increased this year in an effort to prevent the shortages that occurred during the past flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced.

Manufacturers will make 90 million to 100 million doses for the 2004-2005 season, compared with 87 million doses available last year, the agency said.

Media attention about influenza led to an "unprecedented demand," the CDC said.1

If vaccine shortages occur, the CDC said it may stagger the availability, giving priority to high-risk groups, such as health care workers and people at risk for complications from the flu.

The CDC also made these points:

• Vaccination campaigns should begin in mid-October because supply cannot be ensured for early fall.

• The new vaccine will contain three strains, including A/Fujian/411/2002 (H3N2)-like, A/New Caledonia/20/99 (H1N1)-like, and B/Shanghai/361/2002-like antigens.

• "If a health care worker receives LAIV, the health care worker should refrain from contact with severely immunosuppressed patients for seven days after vaccine receipt. No preference exists for inactivated vaccine use by health care workers or other persons who have close contact with persons with lesser degrees of immunosuppression."

Reference

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevention and control of influenza: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR 2004; 53:1-40.