Oct 9, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – Lester Crawford, acting director of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), appearing before the House Committee on Government Reform yesterday, said he was pessimistic about the possiblility that any of the 48 million doses of influenza vaccine expected in the United States from Chiron Corp. can be salvaged for use this flu season, according to new service reports. FDA experts remain in England this weekend to make the final determination, with visits planned to the Liverpool plant whose manufacturing license was revoked earlier in the week, effectively cancelling half the US’s supply.Several lots of Chiron’s vaccine, Fluvirin, were found to be contaminated, leading to suspension of Chiron’s manufacturing license by Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). It came out this week that the organism implicated in the contamination is Serratia, a bacterium that lives in water, soil, plants, and animals and is not dangerous if encountered on environmental surfaces.When Serratia is harbored in medical equipment, however, it can cause illness and has been documented in numerous outbreaks (see link below for example of bronchoscope contamination). In commenting on the Chiron situation, Dr. Robert Belshe, director of the division of infectious diseases and immunology at St. Louis University, conjectured that it may have come from bottles, vials, or rubber stoppers, according to a Wall Street Journal story.Aventis Pasteur, the other large supplier of inactived flu vaccine for the United States, has said it will be able to supply 55.4 million doses of its Fluzone, according to an Associated Press story. This is somewhat more than it had originally commited to, but doses beyond that cannot be made in time for this year’s flu season.MedImmune, makers of FluMist, an inhalable form of flu vaccine, was asked by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to provide more than the 1.5 million doses promised. The company has said it can provide nearly 1 million extra doses by late November, according to the Associated Press. The doses will come from already-produced frozen bulk vaccine.FluMist is FDA-approved for use only in people aged 5 to 49, which is the group least in need of vaccination. Four million doses were produced for the 2003-2004 flu season but much of that supply went unused, partly because of its higher cost in comparison with injected vaccines. MedImmune has cut the cost of FluMist this year and is also working on a new formulation it expects to be available in 2007.Public health officials are working quickly to track down the doses of vaccine that are already in the hands of distributors and providers to ascertain how the unexpectedly limited supply can best be made available to the populations most in need of vaccinations (see link below to interim guidelines).See also:2003 New England Journal of Medicine article on Serratia contamination of brochoscopes [Abstract]CDC interim recommendations for flu vaccinehttp://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5339a6.htm
After the heart-break of missing-out on a medal in London four years ago, Murphy has clinched a silver medal today after a superb performance during today’s medal race in the Laser Radial Class.Murphy’s fifth place finish in today’s race was enough to see her move up one spot in the podium positions to claim silver.The gold medal went to Marit Bouwmeester of the Netherlands with Anne-Marie Rindom of Denmark having to settle for third.
Making neighborhoods more livable and improving traffic were among top priorities cited by neighborhood councils as their leaders gathered Saturday to refine their message to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and city leaders on where they want to see the city’s money spent. In a half-day session at City Hall, about 150 representatives from neighborhood councils voiced their goals for Los Angeles and its $5.4 billion budget. “It used to be, a mayor would prepare a budget, the City Council would approve it and that would be it. Today, it’s different,” Councilman Dennis Zine told the group. “You are part of the process and the budget will reflect your priorities.” Over the past several months, the city has surveyed neighborhood council leaders on what they think are their communities’ preferred budget priorities. While some members said Saturday they were upset with how the survey was conducted – including areas outside the city’s responsibility – most said they agreed with the priorities that resulted. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card Using a weighted factor, the surveys found most respondents were concerned with livable neighborhood issues such as sidewalk repair, parks, libraries and after-school programs for children. That was followed by traffic issues, economic development and homeland security. Zine and budget aides to the mayor cautioned that even with the priorities listed by the group, it did not necessarily translate into where the most money will go. For example, the city’s largest department – the Los Angeles Police Department – receives more than $1.1 billion of the city budget and will continue to receive the highest priority to meet Villaraigosa’s goal of hiring 1,000 more police officers in his four-year term. “But we aren’t seeing the people come in to be police officers,” Zine said. “The mayor and the council put the money in the budget to hire 700 officers this year. They aren’t coming in the front door to be hired. So we have to match our priorities with reality.” Assistant Finance Director Ben Ceja said the city also is facing some grim financial realities – including a structural deficit that has been estimated to result in a $245 million shortfall heading into budget deliberations. “The easy fixes are gone,” Ceja said. “The city has used up a lot of the one-time money that was used in the past. We need to look at real ways to have our revenues meet our expenditures.” Among the problems facing the city, Ceja said, is an expected $200 million increase in labor costs this coming year because of pensions and higher salary expenses. The city also is expected to face growing construction costs amid rising prices for materials, including lumber, steel and concrete. Villaraigosa has brought in efficiency experts to examine how the city can streamline its bureaucracy, Ceja said, but that will result in limited savings, given the demands for city services. One area that neighborhood councils will be asked to consider is a possible increase in fees for trash collection and sidewalk repair. Ceja said the city now pays 67 percent of the cost of trash collection; more than 40 percent of the neighborhood councils surveyed said they would support a $7 monthly trash fee to make up some of the $315 million annual cost. “The mayor is not saying there will be any increases of this sort, but it is something the neighborhood councils should consider as they look at the budget priorities,” Ceja said. The neighborhood councils now will be asked to select 14 representatives – two from each of the city’s seven planning areas – who will meet with Villaraigosa in February to discuss their recommendations. The mayor also will be meeting with department heads to get their budget requests before submitting a budget plan to the City Council in April. Neighborhood councils’ inclusion in the city’s budget process was started by former Mayor James Hahn. Villaraigosa has expanded involvement to include a ranking of city services. Rick Orlov, (213) firstname.lastname@example.org 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!