IL Gov. seeks vaccine abroad for nursing home residents

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Saying he has found as many as 30,000 doses of flu vaccine in the hands of overseas drug wholesalers, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich (D) wants permission from the federal authorities to buy the doses for elderly residents of his state.

Blagojevich on Monday asked the Food and Drug Administration for permission to buy the added doses through European wholesalers at a previously negotiated rate of $7 a dose.

It is unclear how quickly the FDA might respond to the governor's request or whether the administration will decide such a purchase is safe or appropriate.

Blagojevich's aides said the governor intends to use the extra 30,000 extra doses of flu vaccine for the state's most vulnerable residents, those in nursing homes.  State officials contend that the 35,000 flu shots promised to the state by federal authorities will fall significantly short of what is needed to adequately cover the residents of Illinois's nursing homes--an estimated 100,000 residents.

The U.S. is currently experiencing a flu vaccine shortage due to the license of the manufacturer of half the expected supply being taken away because of poor quality.