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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking providers of influenza vaccine to assess their vaccine needs and to share their supply, wherever possible.
Orders of influenza vaccine were placed earlier than usual this year, as providers anticipated possible supply problems. The CDC then became concerned that some providers may have over-ordered, possibly creating an imbalance in the availability of vaccine to high-risk individuals. "[The] CDC is asking for this reassessment to facilitate a broader distribution of early season vaccine to providers with high-risk patients," the agency reported.
There will be no shortage of vaccine supply this year, but the release has been delayed, the CDC says. Its influenza officials say approximately 60% of the total supply should be distributed by the end of October. About 30% of the total influenza vaccine supply will be delivered in November, and the final 10% is expected in early December. Influenza activity usually peaks in January or later.
Persons at greatest risk from influenza include those more than 65 years of age, those in nursing homes, and those with certain chronic diseases, particularly of the lungs and heart. Health care workers who work with that high-risk population are also a priority for vaccination.
Based on manufacturing estimates, the CDC reports that 79.1 million doses will be available this season, a larger supply than last year and comparable to 1999.