The Bush Administration has denied that it had advadvance warning of flu-vaccine problems at Chiron’s Liverpool plant. If so, it must have been because no one asked.
It turns out that some of the product was found to be contaminated in late August, and as a result Chiron announced that shipment was being delayed until October. The BBC ran a story.
Under those circumstances, with half the flu vaccine supply for the country being held up, wouldn’t you expect someone in Washington or Atlanta to get on the phone to London and ask the British authorities what was up? It’s a case of “knew or should have known.”
If we had started scrambling then, additional supplies might have been available by early winter; flu vaccine reportedly takes a minimum of three months to produce. That wouldn’t have been ideal timing, but it would have been better than nothing.