Unused flu shots for Illinois expire; taxpayers on the hook
Chicago, IL – Illinois' Deputy Governor Bradley Tusk says at least 610,000 flu shots Illinois ordered from Europe last year amid fears of a national shortage have expired.
Officials say they had negotiated since the spring with the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa to donate the state's unused flu shots.
But Tusk said Wednesday that South African health officials never approved the deal.
The deal could cost taxpayers $2.5 million. That is the amount Illinois agreed to pay for its share of the shots that were never approved for import by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The rest of the doses would have gone to Cleveland, New Mexico and New York City, which agreed to be a part of the deal.
Tusk says the shots, which must be used within the year they are made, expired Monday.
Governor Rod Blagojevich trumpeted the move last year in the midst of a flu vaccine shortage. But he negotiated the purchase without getting federal approval to import the vaccines, so they never got to Illinois.