It`s time to think about flu vaccination

Federal regulators are planning a more measured approach to &to=http:// ' target=_blank>flu vaccinations for the 2005-06 flu season, telling lawmakers Wednesday it was too early to predict this year's vaccine supply.

Progress has been made, they said, in fixing manufacturing problems at Chiron Corp.'s factory in Liverpool, England, where bacterial contamination forced the company to withdraw more than 50 million doses of the vaccine — almost half the U.S. supply — from the market last season.

Chiron has received British approval to produce the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>vaccine, but regulators told a congressional hearing that the company had not received a license to produce the vaccine for the U.S. market, reports Los Angeles Times.

The elderly and others most at risk from the flu should be the first vaccinated this fall because of lingering uncertainty about vaccine supply, federal health officials said Wednesday.

The government is hoping to avoid the flu vaccine shortages of the past winter, when a problem with an overseas manufacturing plant caused the nation's supply to be abruptly cut in half.

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