Health officials ask for corporate donations

Wednesday, October 13th 2004, 6:17 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahoma Health Department officials want private companies to donate unused influenza vaccines so high risk groups can be immunized.

Oklahoma is short more than 300-thousand doses of flu vaccine and health care providers are scrambling to find enough shots to vaccinate high risk groups like the elderly, children and care givers who might be exposed to the virus.

State Health Commissioner Doctor Michael Crutcher says many companies have purchased vaccines for employees and may be willing to share their vaccinations. Crutcher says the companies could get a tax break or the state could pay them for the vaccine.

Last week when British regulators shut down a major U-S supplier of the flu vaccine, it threatened the supply of vaccine to the Health Department's 100 locations, including county health departments and physicians who serve Medicaid clients.

The CDC said it is working with Aventis Pasteur, the one remaining licensed supplier of influenza vaccine, to distribute unshipped vaccine to areas of need throughout the United States.

Oklahoma is likely to receive some of those doses, but health officials are uncertain how much they can expect.