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 May 13, 2005
U.S. Child Vaccine Supply Running Low
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The United States' stockpile of childhood vaccines is nearly gone, and there are no immediate prospects of it being replenished, the Washington Post reports.

Since the shots aren't delivered until the government calls for them in emergencies, three of the four makers of the vaccines announced last year that they would no longer participate in the program, the newspaper said. The vials traditionally have been held in the makers' warehouses, where auditors and investors consider them unsold, the Post reported.

The stockpile currently contains about 13.2 million doses of vaccine, less than one-third of the goal of 41 million. The reserve is supposed to contain a total of eight shots that protect against a combined 11 childhood diseases, including diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox. Some of the specific shots are entirely depleted, the Post said.

Created in 1983, the Pediatric Vaccine Stockpile is supposed to contain enough supply to serve the entire nation for six months. The stockpile has never reached its targeted amounts, the newspaper said.


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