Flu Vaccine: Steps Are Needed to Better Prepare for Possible Future Shortages

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Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Until the 2001 flu season, the production and distribution of influenza vaccine generally went smoothly. Last year, however, several people reported that they wanted but could not get flu shots. In addition, physicians and public health departments could not provide shots to high-risk patients in their medical offices and clinics because they had not received vaccine they ordered many months in advance, or because they were being asked to pay much higher prices for vaccine in order to get it right away. At the same time, there were ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. May 30, 2001.

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Description

Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Until the 2001 flu season, the production and distribution of influenza vaccine generally went smoothly. Last year, however, several people reported that they wanted but could not get flu shots. In addition, physicians and public health departments could not provide shots to high-risk patients in their medical offices and clinics because they had not received vaccine they ordered many months in advance, or because they were being asked to pay much higher prices for vaccine in order to get it right away. At the same time, there were reports that providers in other locations, even grocery stores and restaurants, were offering flu shots to everyone--including younger, healthier people who were not at high risk. This testimony discusses the delays in production, distribution, and pricing of the 2000-2001 flu vaccine. GAO found that manufacturing difficulties during the 2000-2001 flu season resulted in an overall delay of about six to eight weeks in shipping vaccine to most customers. This delay created an initial shortage and temporary price spikes. There is no system in place to ensure that high-risk people have priority for receiving flu shots when supply is short. Because vaccine purchases are mainly done in the private sector, federal actions to help mitigate any adverse effects of vaccine delays or shortages need to rely to a great extent on collaboration between the public and private sectors."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • May 30, 2001

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  • June 10, 2014, 6:42 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Flu Vaccine: Steps Are Needed to Better Prepare for Possible Future Shortages, text, May 30, 2001; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc289584/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.