A new study out today finds the nation's pediatric vaccine supply is in "precarious" condition. The research, which appears in the May/June issue of Health Affairs, concludes that the vaccine supply could face problems in the event of a major influenza outbreak or a possible repeat of the manufacturing problems which interrupted production last year. The authors note that five-of-eight makers of childhood vaccines recommended by the federal government have only one supplier. Health Affairs looks at the reasons pharmaceutical companies are less interested in vaccine production these days and discusses financing options which might theoretically help, including advance purchasing agreements.
A second study brings up a problem that's less talked about but no less real: the issue of insurance coverage for vaccinations. Researchers found that more than 15 percent of children and 30 percent of US adults lack insurance that covers the costs of vaccinations. That's despite broad support for vaccinations among voting age adults. Insurance plans are increasingly less likely to offer such coverage, according to authors Matthew Davis and Kathryn Fant of the University of Michigan.