610,000 unused flu shots now expired

This isn’t good: CNN.com – 610,000 unused flu shots now expired.

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of flu shots ordered from Europe last year amid fears of a nationwide shortage now have expired and may go to waste, potentially costing taxpayers millions of dollars, officials said Wednesday.

Illinois never even received the vaccine because the Food and Drug Administration would not approve its importation. Nor has it paid for the shots, though a British wholesaler has demanded its contract with the state be fulfilled.

New Mexico and Cleveland — which have also balked at paying — were part of the deal as well, along with New York City.

The overseers of international health keeps telling us there’s a pandemic of either plain-old flu, or avian flu, or SARS just around the corner, and they’re doing a lot of planning.  However, this shows that when there was a shortage of vaccine for a known, seasonal disease the FDA not only couldn’t fix the problem, it wouldn’t let the states do so, either.

I’m hopeful things would be different if there were a true pandemic, but this gives me pause.