Flu vaccine abounds in several states, still lacking in others

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As the height of the flu season approaches, many states now say they have more than enough vaccine to meet demand while a few states still are coping with localized shortages.

According to a report in USA Today, several states, including California, Arizona and Minnesota, Massachusetts and Washington are struggling to use up the doses they have. The report said Arizona doctors canceled 10,000 dose orders because of weak demand and Minnesota has about 20,000 left over even after shipping some to Louisiana.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Dec. 22 that states with adequate supplies loosen flu-shot restrictions. The new guidelines include anyone 50 and older -- down from the earlier cutoff at age 65 -- and people in other high-risk groups.

Still, Pennsylvania has a waiting list of 15,000 and Florida recently purchased 68,000 doses from California sources. Louisiana also has patients awaiting shots. The country lost nearly half its vaccine for this flu season when manufacturer Chiron's 48 million doses were declared unusable in October because of contamination fears.