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Gov. Blagojevich working with Cleveland Mayor Campbell to secure 4,500 doses of flu vaccine     Send a link to a friend

[NOV. 29, 2004]  CHICAGO -- Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Cleveland Mayor Jane L. Campbell announced Sunday that Illinois and the city of Cleveland are working to secure an additional 4,500 doses of flu vaccine from Europe for Cleveland's most vulnerable residents.

"Flu season is here, and many of our elderly, sick and young are still waiting for the protection vaccine can provide. They need flu shots now -- and we can provide them if the FDA moves quickly to approve the vaccine we've purchased from licensed suppliers in Europe," Gov. Blagojevich said.

"We are not giving up," Cleveland Mayor Campbell said. "We are pleased to join Governor Blagojevich's effort to encourage the FDA to let us obtain the vaccine we need to immediately help our at-risk citizens and save lives."

Illinois has contracted to buy nearly 300,000 doses of flu vaccine from Europe to meet the needs of its high-risk citizens. Blagojevich also helped New York City buy 200,000 doses of European vaccine and helped the state of New Mexico locate 150,000 doses to meet its critical need. Altogether, Illinois has located nearly 655,000 doses of flu vaccine from Europe that can be shipped to the U.S. within hours of FDA approval.

Illinois officials met with the Food and Drug Administration on Oct. 29 to provide information for the FDA's evaluation of the GlaxoSmithKline and Aventis Pasteur vaccine secured by the state and its partners. To date, Aventis Pasteur has failed to provide the FDA with the manufacturing and clinical records needed to complete the review. Gov. Blagojevich and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson have called on Aventis to cooperate with the FDA in order to get flu vaccine to those who desperately need it.

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"Cleveland's call for help is just one more reason for Aventis to act immediately to provide the FDA with the documents they need," Blagojevich said.

The United States is facing a severe flu vaccine shortage as a result of problems found with doses produced by Chiron Corp., a manufacturer that was expected to produce nearly half of the 100 million doses needed for U.S. residents. Now the FDA is looking for alternative supplies to help supplement the 55 million doses of vaccine manufactured by its other supplier, Aventis Pasteur. The agency recently announced that it is investigating the safety of nearly 5 million doses of vaccine, made by two different companies in Germany and Canada, that could be ready later this winter.

[News release from the governor's office]

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