Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Flu Shots: Kudos to Sanofi Pasteur

As many of you know who regularly read this blog, my pulse rises a little bit when talking about flu shots. (image credit) I admit that I directed much of this frustration at the companies who produce the flu shots. Check out my posts - Flu Shot Rant and Flu Shot Rant: Part Deux.

Someone in my office mentioned flu shots last week. As my almost started another rant right there in the office, my staff told me that we just received our first partial shipment of flu shots from Sanofi Pasteur. Hmmmm.... That's interesting.

As I did some investigating on this, I found this news story from the AP and I also found a press release from about three weeks ago.
Swiftwater, PA. - Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi-Aventis SA, has started shipping the first of about 50 million doses of flu vaccine it expects to produce this season.

The first doses are being shipped to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support the Vaccines For Children program and to private doctors and other health care providers.

Sanofi Pasteur makes about half the worldwide supply of influenza vaccine and more than 40 percent of the U.S. supply, the company said in a statement.

The distribution, sent to providers in partial shipments, is scheduled to continue through the end of October. Influenza rates typically peak in February, according to CDC data.
So, I'm going to give credit where credit is due. Of course, there was very little press at the time. News is only made when the flu shots are late as they have been the past few years. However, congratulations to Sanofi Pasteur for being ahead of the curve this year.

Here are the big questions that my office is now asking: When should we announce to our patients that we have some flu shots? What date should be pick to give out the flu shots? What happens when our patients find out when we have some flu shots?

As stated by the Centers for Disease Control, an influenza season may extend as far as the late spring. So, theoretically, someone could get the flu shot too early and not be protected for a possible late influenza epidemic.

Of course, when our office begins giving the flu shot will be determined by market forces. This means that when some of the supermarkets and other retailers start giving out their shots, that's definitely when our office will be getting the phone calls.

But, getting back to my point, I'm glad that we received a partial supply in August. If your office ordered flu shots this year, have you received a partial shipment yet?

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