As expected, now it appears that there's too much of influenza vaccine shots. Surprise? Not really. Despite mass media attacks on the consumer to push these rather useless shots and secure profits of pharma corporations, the customers are not in a hurry to get an injection against flu. Who knows, maybe we are a bit less ignorant and more resistant to panic news than it was expected.
HAWAII - This year you won't see long lines at makeshift vaccination clinics. What you will see at health insurer HMSA are vials and vials of unused flu vaccine.
"It appears that the demand based on the estimates that everyone provided to us just didn't arrive," said Sr. Vice President Cliff Cisco.
The past two years, demand exceeded supply so much that the shortage left some going without a shot. So everyone, doctors and health insurance companies, increased their orders.
The state Health Department said this year, Hawaii purchased more flu vaccine than ever before. It's like that nationwide.
"This year we've been ordering more and more," Cisco said. "Employers thought they'd have more of a demand and when we finished all the clinics we had some left over."
HMSA ordered 50,000 shots. It has 7,000 left. That's a lot late in the year.
It takes makers four months to test, manufacture and distribute vaccine. The peak demand is October and November. And there is a shelf life.
"Most of the flu vaccines are designed for the year that they're given," said Dr. Ron Fujimoto.
After that, the vaccine is no good. Doctors and health insurance providers absorb the cost of every unopened vile.
"We don't want to run out and be short with a lot of people standing line waiting for it. But we hate to be left with a lot of product left over," Cisco said.
HMSA will try to use up the rest at vaccine clinics later this week.
And there's a parting shot to the surplus - leftovers will determine the amount of flu vaccine ordered next year.