In the fall of 2004, the United States faced a national shortage of influenza vaccine after a major vaccine manufacturer was unable to produce millions of doses of the vaccine due to potential contamination. Many public and private sector entities had far fewer doses of influenza vaccine to allocate than they had anticipated. In response, federal, state, and local public health officials, private vaccine distributors, and healthcare providers collaborated to distribute available doses of influenza vaccine. However, the existing legal framework through which allocations were made is murky. This article examines major legal issues regarding allocation strategies involving limited supplies of influenza vaccines, addressing in particular (1) existing legal requirements for allocating and distributing influenza vaccines among public health authorities and healthcare providers at the federal, state, and local levels; (2) the legal capacity of public health authorities to acquire existing vaccine supplies from healthcare providers; and (3) specific legal responses implemented by states in response to the 2004-2005 influenza vaccine shortage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health