October 12, 2004
Flu vaccine distribution limited due to national shortage
By Elaine Ray
The distribution of influenza vaccine will be limited this year due to the widespread and well-publicized shortage, officials at Vaden Health Center have announced. Vaccinations will not be administrated at this year’s benefits fairs and the flu vaccination clinics previously listed on the Vaden Health Center website have been cancelled.
The vaccine will be given by appointment to students who are pregnant or have chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, asthma or other lung disease; heart, kidney or blood diseases; or immune system problems. Student spouses and domestic partners who are established patients with Vaden Health Center and have those conditions also may receive the vaccine there. For an appointment, call 498-2336, ext. 1.
Medical students who are involved in direct patient care will be able to receive vaccine. For more information, those medical students should contact the director of student life at the School of Medicine at 498-4945.
Staff, faculty and retirees are encouraged to seek the vaccine from their primary care physicians. Pharmacies in major retail stores such as Costco and Safeway also are offering the vaccine to those most at risk. Once student needs are met, Vaden officials will determine whether they can accommodate others based on criteria set by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The shortage comes in the wake of an announcement by Chiron Corp. that none of its influenza vaccine—Fluvirin—will be available for distribution in the United States for the 2004-05 influenza season. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency in the United Kingdom, where Chiron’s Fluvirin vaccine is produced, has suspended the company’s license to manufacture the vaccine in its Liverpool facility for three months. This decision reduced by approximately one half the expected supply of vaccine available in the United States. Vaden Health Center has received 1,950 doses, down from the 4,000 doses the center distributed last year.
“Our first priority is to care for students who are at high risk. That’s the university’s primary responsibility,” said Vaden Health Center Director Dr. Ira Friedman. “In consultation with officials on campus and at the Medical Center, we have established a set of priorities under which to administer the available doses. Although we’ve offered vaccine to faculty and staff in the past, under the circumstances, we regret that we may not be able to provide that service this year.”
Friedman added that Medical School faculty and clinician educators in direct patient care will be included in the Stanford Medical Center immunization program based on the risk status of the patients they care for. They should look for notices from their clinic chief for direction regarding immunizations.