Government Signs Contract for Bird Flu Vaccine
But Amount, Total Cost, and Date of Delivery Still Not Known
WebMD News Archive
Dose Numbers Undetermined
Still, officials still don't know how many effective doses of the vaccine
will be attainable from the bulk form or when it will be ready for use in the
event of a pandemic.
Government studies conducted at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
concluded that two 90-microgram doses of the vaccine were needed to produce an
effective immune response in humans. That dose is more than 12 times higher
than the single 15-microgram dose usually needed for protection from seasonal
The NIH is conducting more studies to determine how much the vaccine can be
diluted while retaining its effectiveness, or what amount of other vaccine
ingredients used to boost effectiveness will be required.
Until the studies are complete, company officials won't know how many
vaccine doses will be available or what the final price per dose will be.
"It's so speculative right now that any number I give is sure to be
wrong," Lavenda says.
Bush administration health officials have faced tough criticism from some
lawmakers over the government's pandemic flu response plan. The plan was due
for completion several months ago and was promised by officials no later than
August, but it has still not been completed.
In an interview, CDC director Julie Gerberding, MD, said that officials have
had to update the plan in light of this summer's vaccine trials and projected
numbers of vaccine that will be available for the national stockpile.
"The plan has had to be modified and has evolved," she said.