Changes to flu vac­cine sup­ply chain could save thou­sands of lives in US

Iran Daily - - Health -

Prob­lems with flu vac­cine dis­tri­bu­tion in the US may cost lives and pose a se­ri­ous threat in the event of a flu pan­demic, re­searchers warned.

How­ever, a com­puter model shows that pro­posed changes to the cur­rent dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem could save thou­sands of lives, said study co-leader Pi­nar Ke­skinocak, UPI wrote.

She and her col­leagues rec­om­mend re­plen­ish­ing flu vac­cine stocks in re­gions where they are be­ing used up and not re­plen­ish­ing them in ar­eas where vac­cines are pil­ing up be­cause peo­ple aren’t get­ting flu shots.

Re­stock­ing vac­cine sup­plies where they are ac­tu­ally be­ing used would have a pop­u­la­tion-wide ben­e­fit by in­creas­ing the to­tal num­ber of vac­ci­nated peo­ple. They would then be less likely to get sick and to in­fect oth­ers, re­duc­ing the over­all flu wave, ex­plained Ke­skinocak, a pro­fes­sor at the Ge­or­gia In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy School of In­dus­trial and Sys­tems En­gi­neer­ing.

This change to flu vac­cine dis­tri­bu­tion could save thou­sands of lives in a reg­u­lar flu sea­son, and even more in a flu pan­demic, she said in a uni­ver­sity news re­lease.

About 80,000 Amer­i­cans died of the flu dur­ing the 2017-2018 in­fluenza sea­son — far more than the 19,300 mur­dered in 2017, the in­ves­ti­ga­tors pointed out.

“Even sea­sonal flu kills thou­sands to tens of thou­sands of peo­ple each year, so we would ben­e­fit im­me­di­ately” from up­dates to the flu vac­cine dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem, Ke­skinocak said.

“In a pan­demic, nearly no one would have nat­u­ral im­mu­nity, so the death toll could be sig­nif­i­cantly high if we don’t im­prove vac­cine cov­er­age,” she added.

The sug­gested changes could re­duce leftover vac­cine by about 20 per­cent, lead­ing to sig­nif­i­cant cost sav­ings. And data about ar­eas that were not re­sup­plied could be used to con­duct pub­lic health cam­paigns en­cour­ag­ing more peo­ple in those ar­eas to get im­mu­nized, the re­searchers said.

How­ever, they noted that there is a lack of data in the US vac­cine dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem.

“Sur­pris­ingly few states have sys­tems in place that tell them how much vac­cine has been ad­min­is­tered where and how much is still left in in­ven­tory at provider lo­ca­tions,” said study coau­thor Julie Swann, from North Carolina State Uni­ver­sity.

drug­tar­ge­tre­view.com

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