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US Faces Shortage of Flu Vaccine  - 2004-10-05

The United States is facing a major shortage of flu vaccines after one of the world's leading suppliers said it would not provide any this season.

Britain announced Tuesday it was suspending the manufacturing license of U.S.-based Chiron Corporation because it failed to comply with "good manufacturing practices." Chiron had expected to provide nearly half the vaccines for the U.S. - but it delayed shipping the vaccine back in August because it failed to meet sterility standards.

Top U.S. health officials say they have a contigency plan that prioritizes who should be vaccinated this season. It includes children between the ages of six and 23 months, adults over the age of 65, people with chronic health problems, and health care workers.

Officials are asking otherwise healthy individuals to delay getting the vaccine.