ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) — Flu vaccine manufacturers expect to make a record number of doses for the next flu season despite concerns that demand may drop because this year’s vaccine was largely ineffective.
The five companies that make flu vaccine for the U.S. market plan to make at least 143 million doses for the 2008-09 season. They made 140 million doses for the current season, the worst in four years for adult deaths from flu and pneumonia.
Part of the problem was that the vaccine didn’t work well against the viruses that ended up circulating.
Each year, health officials essentially make an educated guess and formulate a vaccine against three viruses. Their guess usually works well.
But two of the three strains for the current season were not good matches, and the vaccine was only 44 percent effective overall, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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