Disposing of excess swine flu vaccine: government pays again
Posted Apr 12 2010 12:00am
This article from the Bucks County Courier Times doesn't address how the 25 mcg. mercury-containing doses (in multidose vials) will be handled, since release into landfills and rivers is not safe or acceptable. Most swine flu vaccine used in the US was packaged in multidose vials, including a mercury preservative, with small stocks of single dose vials reserved for young children and pregnant women.
Too bad the vaccine product wasn't made with a longer expiration date, since this vaccine will be included in the 2010 fall-winter flu vaccine shot. So our taxes pay to destroy excess vaccine capacity and then pay to buy more identical vaccine antigen for the coming winter's vaccine. What a brilliant business model.
Stuck with thousands of unused swine flu shots, local health care providers find themselves paying to discard flu vaccine for the first time in recent memory...
Meanwhile, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesman said the agency is preparing a swine flu vaccine disposal plan but won't offer suggestions in the meantime...
Hello? The US ordered 251 million doses of swine flu vaccine, according to the LA Times , or 229 million doses, according to Reuters . It used 1/3 of this stockpile. Yet instead of admitting there are about 150 million excess doses, most or all of which will expire before the next flu season, A "US health offical" loses 4 decimal places (4 orders of magnitude) and suggests that only tens of thousands of doses may have to be discarded.
Yet vaccine cost about $10/dose in the US, so that was about $2.5 billion alone. The cost to administer the vaccine (wages for those holding clinics, costs of advertising the clinics, syringes, gloves, etc.) is approximately $10-20/dose. Add to that the costs of Tamiflu and Relenza. So the cost of the swine flu preparedness program in the United States alone exceeded the alleged cost to the world of swine flu preparation.
Do our government health agencies think the public has no memory and cannot do arithmetic? Where are the names of these anonymous spokespeople? Is anyone accountable for these spending decisions and shifting of health priorities?