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Archive for Friday, October 2, 2009

Seasonal flu vaccine suppliers face delays

October 2, 2009

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Waiting for the swine flu vaccine? Well, you might have to wait a bit longer for a seasonal flu shot, too.

The biggest makers of seasonal flu vaccines in the U.S. are running into delays or cutting back shipments — partly because of the crunch to produce millions of doses of the new swine flu vaccine.

Drugmaker Sanofi Pasteur said it has shipped more than half of the 50.5 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine ordered and it could be November before some U.S. customers get the rest of their shipments.

Novartis AG and GlaxoSmithKline PLC said Thursday their shipments are on schedule. But they’ve told customers they may get about 10 percent less than ordered.

The three companies account for about 100 million of the nation’s expected 114 million doses.

The delay and cutbacks have already forced some doctor’s offices to turn away patients and others to cancel clinics around the country.

Though several Kansas clinics have reported delays in getting seasonal flu vaccines, Kansas Health Director Jason Eberhart-Phillips said he doesn’t consider it a major issue, because there has been no outbreak yet of that version of the virus.

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