Utah hospitals rationing tetanus-diphtheria vaccine

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Utah hospitals rationing tetanus-diphtheria vaccine

Wed, July 4, 2001 00:00:00

Standard-Examiner staff and wire services

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah hospitals, clinics and doctors' offices are rationing their tetanus-diphtheria vaccine, reserving it only for those who need it most, because of a nationwide shortage.

The shortage affects only versions of tetanus vaccine for those 8 and older, not the pediatric vaccine for younger children.

Supplies already were tight because of production difficulties when Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories decided in January to stop making the vaccine.

The remaining manufacturer - Aventis Pasteur - is working to brew more of the millions of doses needed, but each batch takes 11 months to produce, said Linda Abel, Utah Department of Health.

For now, only those who fit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention high-risk criteria will be able to get the vaccine at hospitals and country health departments.

Local health departments say they are rationing their supplies. Davis County has a waiting list for those want the vaccine and Weber-Morgan Health Department said they have enough in order to follow CDC guidelines.

Both expect to have a number of people come in for the booster since doctors in the private sector won't have any shipped to them.

"We are currently able to get small supplies on a monthly basis," said Davis Immunization Supervisor Ginger Nielsen

The vaccine is recommended for people who travel to countries where diphtheria risk is high, those recovering from wounds, others who have had fewer than three doses of tetanus and diphtheria vaccines in their life and pregnant women who have not received a tetanus booster in the past 10 years.

Claudia Price, director of nursing at Weber-Morgan, said most people only get the vaccine if they have an injury. "Most people don't even think about getting a tetanus shot."


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), July 04, 2001


Essentially the same situation can be found everywhere across the U.S.; it's not in any way limited to Utah.

-- Andre Weltman, M.D. (aweltman@state.pa.us), July 05, 2001.

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