Flu Vaccine: Supply Problems Heighten Need to Ensure Access for High-Risk People

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Until the 2000-2001 flu season, the production and the distribution of flu vaccine generally went smoothly. In the fall of 2000, however, stories began to circulate about delays in obtaining flu vaccines. GAO reviewed (1) the circumstances that contributed to the delay and the effects the delay had on prices paid for vaccine, (2) how effectively current distribution channels ensure that high-risk populations receive vaccine on a priority basis, and (3) what the federal government is doing to better prepare for possible disruptions of influenza vaccine ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. May 15, 2001.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Until the 2000-2001 flu season, the production and the distribution of flu vaccine generally went smoothly. In the fall of 2000, however, stories began to circulate about delays in obtaining flu vaccines. GAO reviewed (1) the circumstances that contributed to the delay and the effects the delay had on prices paid for vaccine, (2) how effectively current distribution channels ensure that high-risk populations receive vaccine on a priority basis, and (3) what the federal government is doing to better prepare for possible disruptions of influenza vaccine supply. GAO found that manufacturing difficulties resulted in an overall delay of about 6-8 weeks in shipping vaccine to most customers and a temporary price spike. Manufacturers experienced unprecedented problems growing a new viral strain, while two of four manufacturers halted production--one permanently--to address safety and quality control concerns. There is currently no system to ensure that high-risk patients have priority when the supply of vaccine is short. Although the federal government has no direct control over how influenza vaccine is purchased and distributed by the private sector and state and local governments, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has several efforts underway to help cope with future influenza vaccine shortages and delays. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised guidelines to extend the recommended timeframe for receiving immunizations. CDC is also helping to bring together manufacturers, distributors, providers, and others in the private and public sectors to explore ways to improve distribution to high-risk individuals."

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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 15, 2001

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Flu Vaccine: Supply Problems Heighten Need to Ensure Access for High-Risk People, report, May 15, 2001; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc293741/: accessed October 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.