Seasonal Flu Vaccine Shipping Early, Demand Up

By: AP
By: AP

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ Some drug companies are shipping flu vaccines weeks ahead of schedule.

The companies say vaccines are moving out early because of expectations of increased demand brewed by H1N1 virus fears and the
need to clear the deck for making the swine flu vaccine.

The pandemic also means tighter supplies. The top U.S. supplier of flu vaccine, Sanofi Pasteur, stopped taking orders back in June. A spokesman says last year, they were available through Thanksgiving.

Still, one health expert says there's no need to panic. American Academy of Pediatrics' committee member Dr. Henry Bernstein says
there should be adequate supplies.

Sanofi Pasteur says production of the H1N1 vaccine began back in June. Once the federal government tells vaccine makers the exact dose needed for each shot, it can be packaged for shipment.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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