WASHINGTON -- More flu vaccine, this time from Germany, will be available to help alleviate the crunch in the United States, but that still will leave the country with just two-thirds of what was initially expected.
Hopes for a million more doses from Canada have fallen through.
The Food and Drug Administration has been investigating German and Canadian manufacturers of vaccines that are not licensed for the United States to see if the vaccines could be sold here under a special agreement.
The deal is done for 4 million doses of the German vaccine, but the Canadian company is opting to keep its surplus shots at home.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said Friday his agency had authorized use of a vaccine called Fluarix, manufactured in Germany, and was immediately buying 1.2 million doses. About 250,000 doses are on hand, he said, and the rest should be available this month.
Thompson also said British manufacturer
Health officials had been hoping to buy extra vaccine from a Canadian manufacturer, but that company,
The company had been in negotiations since early October with US public health officials to sell its vaccine here this year. It had hoped this arrangement would help speed safety testing needed to enter the US market on a more widespread basis next year. But company officials recently learned that because of FDA requirements, the process for next year will take just as long as it would have otherwise, so they saw no advantage in selling the vaccine now, said Tony Holler, chief executive officer of ID Biomedical.
US health officials have been scrambling for flu vaccine for two months. They had planned to have more than 100 million doses of the vaccine this season, the biggest supply ever. In October, however, British authorities shut down vaccine maker