Seasonal flu shot supplies delayed

Some flu vaccine makers are having a tough time filling orders on time. Novartis made news in Connecticut yesterday, when the Visiting Nurses Association announced that it would get 72 percent fewer doses than it had ordered--and the state attorney general said he'd investigate. Now, it's becoming clear that Connecticut isn't the only state affected--and Novartis isn't the only company falling behind.

According to the Visiting Nurses, chapters in 21 states have seen their seasonal flu vaccine orders fall far short, endangering community clinics designed to get folks vaccinated quickly. Delayed shipments for other buyers have forced some doctor's offices to turn away patients and others to cancel shot clinics, the Associated Press reports.

Both Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline say their shipments are on schedule, but they've told customers to expect orders to fall short about 10 percent. Sanofi-Aventis so far has shipped half of its orders, and says some U.S. customers won't get their supplies till November.

Apparently, the seasonal shot has suffered from the vaccine suppliers' all-out push to develop and manufacture a vaccine for pandemic H1N1. And the CDC says that delays aren't that worrisome; about 70 million of the 114 million expected doses have been delivered already. It's just caused concern because people are asking for seasonal flu shots earlier than they usually do. The H1N1 flu is the dominant virus right now, anyway--and it requires a separate shot. The first doses of that vaccine are scheduled to be administered next week.

- get the release from the Visiting Nurses Association of America
- see the story in the Hartford Courant
- read the Reuters news
- find the AP coverage

ALSO: Sanofi-Aventis said tests on adults confirmed that a single dose of its vaccine against H1N1 flu was effective even for people aged over 65. Report