Vaccine supply may be short, officials say

THE BALTIMORE SUN

LOS ANGELES - Flu vaccine will be late this fall and possibly in short supply because of production problems at four pharmaceutical companies, federal health officials said Friday.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending that the most vulnerable get flu shots first and that public health agencies delay drives for others to get shots. The CDC also advised health agencies to create contingency plans for vaccine shortages.

"If it's primarily a matter of delay, and if people are able to follow recommendations, things should go well," said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, chief of the influenza branch of the CDC's epidemiology section.

Supplies are expected to be late because the producers, which last year made about 85 million doses, have not been able to make enough of the vaccine, reformulated to fight a new flu strain.

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