HHS buys 1.2 million flu vaccine doses from abroad

first_imgDec 7, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – The federal government is buying 1.2 million doses of flu vaccine made in Germany to augment the strained US supply, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today.HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson announced the purchase of the vaccine, made by GlaxoSmithKline, at a news teleconference. “We’ll have it available this month,” he said. “This will allow us to get more vaccine into the hands of those who need it most.”Because the vaccine is not licensed in the United States and licensing is a lengthy process, it will be used under “investigational new drug” (IND) rules, Thompson said. That means people will have to sign a consent form acknowledging their awareness of possible risks before getting a shot. But Thompson and Lester Crawford, acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said the vaccine is safe.The vaccine, called Fluarix, is used in 30 countries. The FDA reviewed GlaxoSmithKline’s manufacturing processes and inspected the plant that makes the vaccine before HHS decided to buy it, Thompson said.The consent form will explain “what the public should expect in terms of risk,” said Crawford. “What the public should know at this point is that the vaccine is not investigational because we have real questions about it, but because the company elected not to enter the US market last year, so they didn’t apply for approval.” He called the probability of safety problems with the vaccine “very low indeed.”Thompson said GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to supply up to 4 million doses to the US under IND rules, but he didn’t predict how many doses HHS might buy beyond the initial 1.2 million.The 1.2 million doses will increase the total US supply for this season to slightly more than 62 million doses, which includes about 58 million doses from Aventis Pasteur and 3 million doses of MedImmune’s FluMist, Thompson said.Thompson said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will distribute the GlaxoSmithKline vaccine doses where they are needed and will release a distribution plan in a few days. The company is charging HHS about $7 per dose, but there will be some additional costs for distribution, he said.GlaxoSmithKline said the IND rules provide that the vaccine can be given to people at least 3 years old who qualify for vaccination under the current US guidelines, which reserve the shots for people in high-risk groups.Another foreign firm viewed as a potential supplier of flu vaccine to the United States, Canada’s ID Biomedical, announced today that it must save its remaining doses for Canada, according to a Canadian Press (CP) report. HHS officials had previously said they were considering buying 1.2 million doses from the Vancouver, B.C., company.The company said it was selling the doses on the Canadian market at the request of the government, according to the CP report. The story said reports of the US vaccine shortage spurred an unusual Canadian demand for flu shots earlier this fall, sparking fears of a shortage in Canada.At the news conference, Crawford acknowledged the ID Biomedical announcement but said the FDA was still discussing the possibility of buying some vaccine from the company. The CP report said FDA officials spent a week inspecting the firm’s vaccine plant in Ste.-Foy, Que.Crawford also said that two companies have announced this week that they want to enter the US flu vaccine market, one as early as 2005 and the other by 2007. This year Aventis Pasteur and MedImmune are the only companies providing licensed flu vaccines in the US. California-based Chiron Corp. was to have supplied up to 48 million doses before contamination problems at the company’s plant in Liverpool, England, prompted British authorities to shut down the plant, triggering the American vaccine shortage.Crawford didn’t name the two companies planning to enter the market, but ID Biomedical yesterday announced a long-term agreement to sell flu vaccine to three US wholesalers, starting as early as next year, depending on licensing of the vaccine. The company said the agreement covers at least 8 years. The firm’s production capacity in 2005 will be about 22 million doses, officials said.GlaxoSmithKline, in a news release about the sale of doses to HHS, said it has “a long-term strategy” to seek FDA licensing of Fluarix.In other comments, Crawford said the FDA has been reviewing proposals by Illinois, New Mexico, and New York City to buy a total of 750,000 doses of non-US-licensed flu vaccine made abroad by Aventis. “By the end of the week we expect to have gotten through all of the information,” but he didn’t predict whether the FDA will approve the plans.last_img read more

GFA, PLB signs up to Road Safety campaign

first_imgThe Ghana Football Association and the Premier League Board as part of their social responsibility will observe Remembrance Day for victims of road traffic crashes.Football is been used to raise awareness and positively affect the lives of people about ensuring road safety which remains a developmental concern.The third Sunday in November every year has been adopted by the United Nations to acknowledge victims of road traffic crashes and their family as the World Remembrance Day for Road Traffic Crash Victims.On this occasion, Ghana’s National Road Safety Commission – NRSC and the PLB wish to join several families and football fans to commiserate the deaths and injuries to their relatives while cautioning football fans across the country in or out of the stands to embrace best road use practices that will prevent the occurrences of crashes and their resultant casualties at all times.Speaking about the importance of Remembrance Sunday, Welbeck Abra Appiah, Chairman of the Premier League Board said: “Road safety affects everybody including football teams and fans. We are trusting that this gesture will revive our consciousness as football fans and road users generally for the public good.”A minutes silence will be observed ahead of the Glo Premier League match between rivals Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak at the Baba Yara Stadium on Sunday November 18, 2012. Ing. Noble John Appiah of the NRSC added: “This collaboration goes to emphasize the fact that road safety is a shared responsibility. It is our expectation that this observation will renew the responsibility of football teams and their supporters to embrace the safety culture required to deliver road safety especially before and after football matches.”Road traffic crashes account for an average of 2000 deaths and 14,000 injuries every year with almost 60% of crash victims falling within the productive age bracket of 18-55 leading to an economic loss of 1.6% of our GDP translating into US$ 418million in 2009 alone.last_img read more

Top storylines for the 2019-20 NHL season: Can the St. Louis Blues repeat?

first_imgCan the St. Louis Blues repeat as Stanley Cup champions?Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins were the last to repeat as champions (2016-17). Before that? The Red Wings (1997-98). It does not happen often.The Blues’ remarkable run last season did not start until January. The onus will be on head coach Craig Berube to inspire his locker room to play the same hard-nosed, defensively stifling hockey that won St. Louis its first Cup last June — for an 82-game slate. All eyes will be on the team’s goalies once more — Jordan Binnington has not yet played a full year as a starter. If the Blues’ defense proves as stingily as it played last season, the team should be well-primed for another deep playoff run.A few more goals wouldn’t hurt, either. MORE: NHL predictions 2019-20: Final standings, playoff projections, Stanley Cup picksLet’s take a look at the top storylines for fans to follow around the league:Who are the league’s ‘dark horse’ teams?In the Eastern Conference, the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers stand out as teams that could make sneaky playoff runs. Neither organization appeared in the postseason in either of the last two years and both teams cashed in this summer with big-name free agent signings.The Panthers acquired a highly-regarded coach in Joel Quenneville and one of the league’s top goalies in Sergei Bobrovsky. That’s an implicit message to the team’s talented core that it’s time to prove to the league that Florida can have two successful franchises. In New York, general manager Jeff Gorton hopes to bring veteran Henrik Lundqvist back to playoff contention after signing free agents  Artemi Panarin and Jacob Trouba to long-term contracts. New York also drafted a promising young goal-scorer in Kaapo Kakko in June’s draftIn the West, the Arizona Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks could play disrupters among teams who missed last season’s playoffs.Arizona addressed a major goal-scoring problem by acquiring Phil Kessel via trade. Kessel’s new team missed out on the postseason by just four points last spring; his infusion should help team stars Clayton Keller and Oliver Ekman-Larsson facilitate more offense this year. The team will lean on goaltender Darcy Kuemper, who signed a two-year extension Wednesday, for another rock-solid season in net; if he can produce, the ‘Yotes just may sneak into the playoffs.In Vancouver, the Canucks’ rebuild has been quickened by the emergence of dynamic young scorers Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser. Expect those two to chip in 25+ goals alongside Bo Horvat again this season. The team also made notable depth scoring additions in Micheal Ferland and JT Miller, who both would have been within the top six scorers on Vancouver’s roster last season.Can the Blackhawks jump back into contention?Recent NHL history featured Chicago Blackhawks success — three Stanley Cup victories and nine consecutive playoff appearances between 2009 and 2017, to be exact. The last two seasons have not proved as easy for the franchise, so much so that head coach Joel Quenneville was fired in Nov. 2018 in favor of Jeremy Colliton’s promotion from the minor leagues.Chicago does not lack talent at forward — eight players scored 10 goals or more in 2018-19. Defensively, the situation remains wobbly as large contracts to aging defensemen in Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook limit general manager Scotty Bowman’s ability to make moves. But the team did attempt to address blue line depth by adding Calvin de Haan and Olli Maatta — not to mention goalie Robin Lehner, fresh off winning the Masterson Trophy, and sharing the Jennings Trophy with Thomas Greiss, after a remarkable comeback season with the Islanders.MORE: When does the NHL season start for 2019-20? Schedule of opening games for all 31 teamsThe Blackhawks finished just six points out of a playoff spot last season. Another playoff run for Jonathan Toews and the gang to kick off a new decade of Chicago hockey isn’t out of the question.Will Alex Ovechkin score 50 goals again?Washington Capitals winger Ovechkin has been one of the league’s biggest stars since he first took the ice in 2005. He has scored 30+ goals in all 14 seasons played and led the league in goal-scoring eight times. “Ovi” approaches multiple milestones this season — 89 points grants him entry to the 1300-point club, and he needs 42 goals to reach 700. Hitting that number exactly would give him eighth place on the league’s all-time goals scored list. Another 50-goal season would tie Ovechkin with Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky for the most seasons with 50 goals or more in league history (each had nine). Neither were as old as Ovechkin when they scored 50+ goals for the final time. Ovechkin, who turned 34 last month, still produces at an elite level nearly a decade and a half into his career.Just how good can the New Jersey Devils be?New faces in red and black this fall include: 18-year-old rookie Jack Hughes, P.K. Subban looking to bounce back as the Devils’ top blueliner, Nikita Gusev who has long been considered one of the top players outside the NHL and Wayne Simmonds who is a dominating physical net-front presence.The team also gets back 2017-18 league MVP Taylor Hall after he missed 47 games due to injury last season. The Devils are a young, fast and skilled team eager to win now. Hall said it himself when training camp opened — it’s playoffs or bust in Newark.Will McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers miss out on the playoffs again?Connor McDavid is the league’s best player. The Oilers finished last season as the Western Conference’s second-worst team. Despite Edmonton’s addition of a new general manager (Ken Holland) and new head coach (Dave Tippett), the team made largely lateral on-ice personnel moves this summer. It’s going to take a while for Holland to sort out the team’s salary cap problems — meaning McDavid and Leon Draisaitl set up for another spectacular season while a floundering supporting cast keeps them from reaching the postseason.Of course, a near-future in which some newcomers help the team make a playoff push is possible. Veterans James Neal is only one year removed from ten consecutive 25+ goal seasons and Mike Smith could bounce back from last year’s poor run in net with the Flames. If the pieces all come together, the Oilers could make a wild card run. The key word though is, If.Calder Trophy race: Hughes, Kakko . . . Quinn Hughes?Rookie forwards Hughes and Kakko were two of the more heralded first-and-second overall pick combinations at the draft in recent years. With Hughes playing in New Jersey and Kakko just over the river with the Rangers, the division rivalry is on — and so is the battle for rookie of the year. Hughes is the crafty playmaker with insane amateur statistics; Kakko, the goal-scorer who thrived in Finland’s top professional league last year.The Calder Memorial Trophy may not shape out as a two-skater battle, though. Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar had an impressive showing in the playoffs last spring and projects as a top blueliner. The race could become a family affair if Quinn Hughes — Jack’s older brother — quickly finds himself at home on the Canucks’ power play.How will the ultra-competitive Atlantic Division shape out?Three Atlantic teams have finished within the top eight in the league in each of the last two seasons. The Lightning, Maple Leafs and Bruins remain heavy favorites for the division’s playoff spots, but it has grown crowded on the East Coast. The Canadiens finished just two points out of a wild card spot and return eager for more this season.The Panthers have Joel Quenneville behind the bench and Sergei Bobrovsky in net now — an implicit message for the team’s talented core that it’s time to cash in on Aleksander Barkov’s prime.Even the Sabres, though they finished among the league’s worst teams last season, can hope for better results as they continue to develop a core built around Jack Eichel and Rasmus Dahlin.The NHL’s playoff format has forced the Maple Leafs and Bruins together in the first round in each of the last two years while the Lightning landed a top seed. It’s fair to bet the standings shake out that way again — but expect a closer race to the finish. The 2019-20 NHL season is finally here — but what should fans expect to see from the league’s 31 teams over the upcoming 82-game schedule?The pressure is on the St. Louis Blues to repeat as Stanley Cup champions and the Toronto Maple Leafs to capture the trophy that has eluded the city since 1967. Around the league, there are teams that will surprise us with playoff-worthy seasons and successful squads that may falter under expectation’s weight. In New Jersey and New York, Devils and Rangers fans root for the revitalization of their teams through big-name offseason acquisitions and two high-profile rookies’ emergence.last_img read more