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WASHINGTON, Dec 09, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Federal health officials said Tuesday the flu vaccine shortage in the United States has become so severe, they might go to Europe for additional doses.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to "look at how we can first of all purchase whatever doses are remaining ... not only here in the U.S., but licensed vaccine in Europe," Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the federal public health agency, said during a press briefing.
The European vaccine is made by Chiron, which manufactures the medication in the United States but also has offices in Germany and Italy.
Last week, the CDC announced the two major U.S. vaccine manufacturers had distributed all of the 83 million doses of vaccine they made for this year's flu season.
Gerberding added that the flu season has not peaked and authorities expect to see more cases and deaths from the disease. However, most people who come down with the disease will only have mild illness and will recover, she said.
Copyright 2003 by United Press International.