Alarm at U.K.'s Vaccine Shortage
London Guardian; 9
A House of Lords committee said in a report distributed on Thursday that the United Kingdom is woefully unprepared for the prevention of infectious epidemics of illnesses from influenza to West Nile virus and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), in large part because the nation's vaccine infrastructure is suspect. Earlier scrapped plans for an emergency vaccine production center in Wiltshire are being reconsidered in light of the new findings, which indicate that the nation's luck at not being struck with an epidemic in the past few years "owes as much to good fortune as good management." The report highlighted shortages of the smallpox vaccine after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, as well as low numbers of tuberculosis vaccine, noting that the United Kingdom makes very few of its vaccines, importing most from France and Belgium.