National Vaccine Advisory Committee

Published 30 November 2005

The National Vaccine Advisory Committee, in meetings yesterday and today in Washington, D.C., have concluded that supplies of an experimental vaccine may cover nearly eight million people by the end of the year. The vaccine, in production by Sanofi Pasteur SA of Lyon, France, and Chiron Corp. of Emeryville, California, is tailored to the current strain of avian flu and may or may not be effective against a hypothetical future human-transmissible strain. The two companies are producing doses under government contract, though, with the goal of stockpiling a significant reserve in case of a pandemic. Scientists says that current supplies and methods would vaccinate about four million people, but experimentation is under way to explore dilution measures that could stretch the supply significantly.

The administration’s attention to this threat is laudable, but one has to wonder at the level of coordination. Charles Helms, a University of Iowa doctor and chairman of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, told the Washington Post, “I didn’t realize there was so much going on. It’s incredible.”

-read the Washington Post report here