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WASHINGTON, Oct 21, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- U.S. health officials Thursday said MedImmune Inc. has made available an additional 1 million doses of its FluMist nasal spray flu vaccine.
"This is for people who are healthy ... who should not be getting the injectable vaccine," Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson told reporters during a telebriefing. "This is very good news and a lot of people have been concerned. This is an alternative for them to be able to get vaccinated and be protected. It is safe and it is effective."
Thompson encouraged healthcare workers to use FluMist and save the injectable vaccine for priority patients, such as the elderly and chronically ill, who are at high risk of getting the flu.
The additional 1 million doses bring the FluMist supply this year to 3 million doses and the total U.S. flu vaccine supply to 61 million doses -- 58 million of it coming from Aventis Pasteur.
FluMist is approved for those ages 5-49.
The U.S. flu vaccine shortage occurred when 46 million doses expected from Chiron Inc. was canceled after its plant in England was shut down and its vaccine supply deemed contaminated.
Copyright 2004 by United Press International.