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CBO Eyes Cheaper Pandemic Vaccine Strategy

September 22, 2008
by John Reichard, CQ HealthBeat Editor
CQ HealthBeat

Washington, D.C. (September 22, 2008) - Evidence that vaccine supplies to treat pandemic flu could be stretched using certain additives might allow federal officials to spend less money to build vaccine manufacturing capacity and more to spur development of highly effective, next-generation vaccines, says a new report by the Congressional Budget Office.

Circumstances have changed in at least one important way since the Department of Health and Human Services released a plan in 2005 to prepare for a global outbreak of the flu that could take millions of lives, says the report.

Jeffrey Levi, executive director of Trust for America’s Health, noted that the report pegs the yearly cost of maintaining and replenishing a pandemic flu vaccine stockpile at between $350 million and $1.1 billion because of the expiring shelf life of vaccines. HHS hasn’t figured that into its budget calculations but should do so, he said.

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