A shortage of the flu vaccine? Not around here | AspenTimes.com

A shortage of the flu vaccine? Not around here

Eben Harrell

As health-care providers across America scramble to cope with a shortage in flu vaccine, health officials in Pitkin and Eagle counties are sitting on around 1,900 vaccine doses they can’t use.On Oct. 5, Chiron Corp., a major vaccine manufacturer, announced that no flu vaccine would be available for the nation for the 2004-05 influenza season. Within weeks of the announcement, federal health agencies set out strict guidelines on who could receive the vaccine: the young, the elderly and chronic disease sufferers.After treating as many patients within those guidelines as possible, Pitkin and Eagle officials have stockpiles left over. Pitkin County has around 1,000 doses and Eagle County has 900 doses.”If we could give this vaccine to other patients we would,” Pitkin County public health director Yvonne Hernandez said. “Unless something changes, we are in a situation where we will be throwing away vaccines come March.”Hernandez said county employees will lobby state and federal agencies to expand the age groups of those who can receive the vaccine. Currently, only adults over 64 can be vaccinated. Hernandez will lobby to include adults ages 50 and over.Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is eharrell@aspentimes.com

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