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Book and Media Reviews
March 15, 2006

Flu Vaccine

JAMA. 2006;295(11):1313-1318. doi:10.1001/jama.295.11.1316-b

This informative monograph, directed at the general public, uses anecdotes to illustrate many of the problems associated with the influenza vaccine shortage of 2004.

The first section, tangential to the main topic, describes the 1918 influenza pandemic. The next two sections get back on track by presenting a short history of the development of influenza vaccine followed by a description of current production methods. Regulatory burden has led many manufacturers to withdraw from producing vaccines. By 2004, only three companies were licensed to sell influenza vaccines in the United States.