My Family Clinic Says: “We Can’t Get the Vaccine!”

Every year I try to get in on flu shots as early as possible. Not just for me but for my family as well. I always check first with the local clinic that is part of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center to determine when we can get signed up for the shots. This year with all the worry about H1N1 virus and the vaccine that will not be available until October, we thought we would get in early to get the normal flu shot taken care of to eliminate at least one risk. 

This started to disturb me as these types of things do and I started to ask questions and dig around the net. I found several things off the World Health Organization site:

http://www.who.int/csr/disease/influenza/Influenza_vaccine_manufacturers2009_05.pdf - Flu manufacturers; http://www.who.int/immunization_standards/vaccine_quality/pq_suppliers/en/index.html

Sanofi, Novartis AG and GlaxoSmithKline PLC all have begun shipments of seasonal flu vaccine earlier than usual, with Glaxo and Novartis both starting shipments Wednesday and Sanofi on July 27. Novartis said it was starting “weeks ahead of schedule;” Sanofi is about two weeks early, and Glaxo is a little ahead of its normal mid-August start. - http://blog.taragana.com/n/manufacturers-shipping-seasonal-flu-vaccine-early-as-swine-flu-pandemic-concerns-boost-demand-132002/

Novartis announced on August 5th that it was shipping vaccine ahead of time - http://www.novartis.com/newsroom/media-releases/en/2009/1332676.shtml (didn’t say to whom).

I check GlaxoSmithKline and find that you can order it if you are a healthcare professional https://www.gskvaccinesdirect.com/gsk/en/US/adirect/gsk?cmd=GSKSysUserPreRegData&GroupKey=103&Action=NewRegistration&isFirstTime=true  so why wouldn’t the medical center order it?

When I search the Sanofi-Aventis site for flu, influenza, vaccine; I cannot find anything for the 2009 year.

What perplexes me about this whole situation is that this seems to smack of a purely profit making venture not in the spirit of healthcare but of corporate profits. What worries me even more is that schools, colleges and universities are prime breeding grounds of flu and H1N1 (the death this past weekend of a student at Cornell form the H1N1 and other universities experiencing huge numbers of sick students are indications of the seriousness of the H1N1).    If I can get a normal flu shot for my kids who spend six hours a day in one of the prime breeding grounds, what are we going to face with the H1N1 when the vaccine is ready for distribution? Are we going to face a decision between corporate profits and a pandemic situation? Who is going to get the vaccine first for this?

Something just does not seem to be right here but I just do not have enough insider information as yet.

I have tried one solution that seems to be working so for (see picture above) but I may be under investigation soon for cruelty to stuffed animals and my kids are voicing some concern as well. Does anyone out there have any insights as to how drug companies and pharmacies work together and why hospitals cannot seem to get the vaccine first?

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