Impact of the 2004 influenza vaccine shortage on patients from inner city health centers.


In the fall of 2004, the FDA and British authorities suspended the license of one of only two manufacturers that provided the US supply of inactivated influenza vaccine. With a 50% reduction in supply, a severe vaccine shortage resulted. This situation necessitated the development of priority groups for vaccination including those > or =65 years, when ordinarily, influenza vaccine is recommended for those > or =50 years old. A sample of patients > or =50 years old (n = 336), who had been seen at one of four inner-city health centers, was interviewed in summer 2005 using computer-assisted telephone interviewing. Associations of survey responses were examined for three groups: those vaccinated in the 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 influenza seasons (n = 142), those vaccinated in 2003-2004 but not vaccinated in 2004-2005 because of the shortage (n = 63), and those unvaccinated in both seasons (n = 83). Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to determine factors significantly influencing the likelihood of vaccination status. A significantly larger proportion of patients 50-64 years of age were unvaccinated due to the shortage (73%) compared to those who were vaccinated during both seasons (36%, P or =65 years) and did not result in racial disparities in inner-city health centers.

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