An estimated 600,000 children have been vaccinated in the past week and a half, federal health officials said on Thursday.
A lack of doses and expired cartridges of the vaccine caused widespread disruptions to pre-school vaccinations in some states in recent weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Illinois sent out about 9,000 doses, while California sent out 3,000.
With about half of the 600,000 doses finally received last week, more than a million of the 12 million vaccine doses are now expected to reach patients, said Melanie Montgomery, acting director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
States typically end the immunization programs about a month before they are set to close their doors, she said.
“Based on the demand we’ve seen, we expect the level of registration to continue,” Montgomery said. “We are not sure how many children have left.”
Federal officials said that in 32 states that have canceled the immunization programs, between 1.7 million and 2.5 million children have been vaccinated. That includes potentially elderly people, who may require long-term antibiotics.
The vaccine program has seen delays because of malfunctioning nasal spray cartridges, even though the expiration date for each cartridge is January 1.
Montgomery said inoculations will continue to arrive at state health departments over the next few weeks as additional batches are distributed.
In some states, many more doses are needed, as the ones coming are under-filled, and the unmet need is overwhelming supply. The states are not required to report the viruses that cause outbreaks or other signs to the CDC or to state health departments.
In six of the states most severely affected by the vaccine delays, more than 100,000 doses were supposed to arrive by the end of April, but never did. One of those states, Arkansas, reported its most recent immunization program went inactive, five days after the termination of its contract.
Other states experiencing the delays include California, Maine, South Dakota, Nevada, Michigan, New Jersey, Washington and South Dakota. The Michigan clinic was briefly closed after the pharmacy that served it was not able to produce the required number of patients.
The affected children in the states affected by those delays had one week’s worth of vaccine available, Montgomery said. Others had less than two weeks.
Nine states have eliminated immunization programs: Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Georgia, Tennessee and New Jersey.
In Connecticut, vaccinations for people under the age of 18 have been canceled and the department of health is currently working with the state insurance commissioner to determine the impact on healthcare costs.
“I’ve had the worst flu season of my lifetime this year, and we’re on the path to record low flu cases,” said Harlan Krumholz, senior vice president for health policy and research at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “This is a heartbreaking situation.”
Read the full story at CNBC.
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