Blagojevich charges politics as flu shots expire

Remember those 700,000 flu shots that Gov. Blagojevich bought from Europe last year? Well, they have expired and may be a giant waste at a cost of $2.5 million of taxpayers’ dollars.

Illinois officials last week made that announcement in Chicago, according to the Associated Press. Deputy Gov. Bradley Tusk said Illinois never got the vaccine because the federal Food and Drug Administration would not permit it being imported. The shots expired more than a week ago. They must be used in the year they were manufactured.

The governor ordered the vaccine last October amid fears there would be a national shortage of flu shots. Illinois agreed to pay $2.5 million for 256,000 doses of the medication with the remainder going to Cleveland, New Mexico and New York City, which also were part of the deal.

The FDA, however, said it could not guarantee the safety of the vaccine and refused to give permission for it to be brought into the U.S. Gov. Blagojevich said the FDA was playing politics.

This year, there are fears among scientists that a bird flu pandemic may erupt as the virus spreads from continent to continent in very rapid succession.

The New York Times reported last week that a vaccine for avian flu has been successfully developed. Nonetheless, it takes several months to produce, and there may not be enough of it when it is needed. Researchers say to date, there is only one drug that is effective against avian flu, and supplies of that drug also are limited.

From the Aug. 10-16, 2005, issue

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