Sen. Witkos Seeks Investigation into Seasonal Flu Vaccine Shortage

October 30, 2009

State Senator Kevin Witkos, R-Canton, today sent a letter to State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal calling upon him to commence an investigation into the procurement and receivership of flu vaccines in Connecticut. According to Sen. Witkos, local residents, including many seniors, are having difficulty finding a location that will provide the seasonal flu vaccine.

Sen. Witkos was told that one of the reasons for the shortage is the decision of manufactures to produce more H1N1 vaccines. He said that his local clinic operated by the Farmington Valley Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) usually provides between 4000 to 6000 doses of the seasonal flu vaccine to residents and ill homebound patients. This year’s allotment was ordered in excess of 4,300 doses; to date approximately 1,300 have been received.

“As the fall season passes, many of our most fragile citizens, especially our senior population, make a point to stop at their local clinic for their annual flu shot vaccination. This year, residents found a ‘closed for business’ sign hanging on the door if they were not first in line,” said Sen. Witkos. “I think people need an explanation as to why this is, and detailed information as to where they can get access to the vaccine.”

In his letter, Sen. Witkos said it is troubling that because of the shortage Non-profits and VNA’s have had to turn away thousands of patients who would have normally received the vaccination from their clinics (including emergency public safety personnel); meanwhile larger national “for-profit” facilities are receiving their vaccines without delay. He said that a local VNA representative told him that they questioned one of the distributors and were told that it was simply a business decision.

“As a member of the Public Health Committee, I am aghast and outraged that deep pockets command these decisions. Distributors should be required to uphold their agreed upon commitment to the VNA’s and non profits,” said Sen. Witkos. “It is my belief that the manufacturers have been less than truthful to our healthcare providers and need to be held responsible.”

For further information please contact John Titsworth at 860-240-8843 or 860-877-3543