Flu vaccine shortage could leave U.S. economy feeling sick

Impact on productivity could cost $20 billion U.S.
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 12/02/2004

The shortage of flu vaccines in the United States could cost its economy as much as $20 billion US in lost productivity, according to one estimate. That’s double the impact the flu has in a typical year, depending on the severity of the outbreak, according to an Associated Press report.

David Cutler, a health economist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., said the average worker misses about one to one-and-a-half days each year because of the flu. That rate could double because of the shortage of flu vaccines in the U.S.

The shortage is due to the loss of about 47 million vaccines that were set to be shipped from the United Kingdom. British regulators said the vaccines weren’t safe to use and U.S. officials agreed.