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Drug maker to ration U.S. flu vaccine

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WASHINGTON, Oct 13, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A U.S. drug maker will distribute flu vaccines following a priority list set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention because of a shortage.

Aventis, the Swiftwater, Pa., unit of France's Sanofi-Aventis SA, said it will take 14.2 million doses promised but not yet shipped to customers, and redirect them to such CDC-designated priorities as pediatricians, nursing homes, the Department of Defense, Veterans Administration hospitals and state health departments.

The unusual strategy follows last week's announcement English vaccine maker Chiron would not be able to provide the United States up to 48 million doses of vaccine as planned after British authorities closed the company's Liverpool plant because of bacterial contamination.

That represents about half of the U.S. requirement and also led the U.S. Justice Department to start an investigation of Chiron, USA Today reported.

Julie Gerberding, director of the CDC said the agency center is mapping areas where vaccine has been sent and those where it is needed and also is tracking flu cases by county to quickly identify flu hot spots.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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