H1N1 vaccine delays and shortages in the news

News accounts continue to circulate of long lines of anxious Americans waiting for H1N1 vaccinations. A Business Roundtable survey last month also cited the availability of the H1N1 vaccine as the top business concern.

H1N1 influenza vaccines are being manufactured by five multi-national companies: Paris-based Sanofi Aventis SA (NYSE:SNY); London-based concerns Glaxo Smith Kline Plc (NYSE:GSK) and AstraZeneca Plc (NYSE:AZN); Melbourne, Australia-based CSL Ltd (CSL.AX); and Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS).

The U.S. government contracted for 250 million doses and had shipped 11 million doses as of 23 Oct, far below earlier government projections of 120 million doses for the month.

H1N1 vaccines are manufactured using the same processes as seasonal flu, by harvesting virus strains grown within fertilized eggs. Novartis Vaccines and Sanofi Pastuer reported the initial H1N1 seed strains were not growing well and this had resulted in lower vaccine yields. Better seed strains were not delivered until August.

MedImmune, the vaccine unit for AstraZeneca which manufactures the live-virus nasal spray vaccine, did not experience yield problems but had encountered logistical difficulties in packaging the vaccine. Glaxo Smith Kline had not yet received FDA approval.

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AP: New powers given as swine flu declared national emergency
CNBC: H1N1 Vaccine Is Top Flu Concern For U.S. Businesses
Flu.Gov: 2009 H1N1 Influenza Vaccine Supply Status
NY Times: A Nation Battling Flu, and Short Vaccine Supplies
USA Today: Flu vaccine rush puts focus on calls for faster delivery

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  1. […] fell far short of projections. Long queues of American families waiting for scarce vaccines were striking visuals broadcasted around the world. School vaccinations also had controversial optics, but worked well in […]

  2. […] fell far short of projections. Long queues of American families waiting for scarce vaccines were striking visuals broadcasted around the world. School vaccinations also had controversial optics, but worked well in […]