The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said up to 132 million doses of flu vaccine are expected to be available this year. Last year about 121 million doses were produced, of which 102.5 million were distributed, leaving at least 18 million unused, CDC officials said.
"We expect to have the largest supply we've ever seen," CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding said at a news conference today from the National Press Club in Washington. She said the production and distribution delays that hurt vaccination coverage last year are not expected this year.
CDC officials complained of persistently low vaccination coverage rates in many groups who should be immunized. In 2005-06, for example, only 18% of children aged 6 to 23 months received shots, and the immunization rate for health care workers has been stuck at about 40% for the last 10 years.