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Americans Traveling To Canada For Flu Shot

October 20, 2004

Americans Traveling To Canada For Flu Shot
October 20, 2004 – Many Americans are crossing the border into Canada to receive flu shots, as there is a shortage of flu vaccine across the country. Clinics and pharmacies across the border are offering to inoculate U.S. residents.

The U.S. vaccine shortage was caused when British regulators shut down U.S.-bound shipments from Chiron Corp., after some batches of the vaccine were believed to be contaminated with bacteria. The decision cut the U.S. supply of flu shots almost in half.

Canada does not purchase the vaccine from the British supplier and is not experiencing a shortage.

Some health officials in Canadian provinces are concerned about the effect a massive influx of American patients could have. British Columbia’s Health Minister, Colin Hansen, said recently that the drug supply situation was too much for the provinces to deal with individually and that it should be tackled by the federal government.

"When we hear both candidates for the presidency of the U.S.A. talk about allowing Americans easier access to medicines purchased from Canada, there has to be a federal government response," and not just each province keeping an eye on the impacts of cross-border shopping, Hansen said.

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