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HHS News - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

BARDA Funds Year-Round Egg Supply for Pandemic Flu Vaccine
$57 Million Contract Supports U.S. Pandemic Preparedness as New Vaccine Technology is Developed

October 8, 2010
A $57 million three-year federal contract will secure a continued year-round supply of eggs and other essential supplies for pandemic influenza vaccine as part of pandemic preparedness. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, awarded the contract to Sanofi Pasteur of Swiftwater, Pa., renewing the company’s 2004 egg supply contract.

“This contract ensures that progress continues in creating a solid base for manufacturing pandemic influenza vaccine in the United States,” said BARDA Director Dr. Robin Robinson, who managed the original egg supply contract in 2004. “While BARDA is currently investing in the development of new vaccine technologies, we must also ensure a robust supply of vaccine for Americans with technologies currently available.”

A steady egg supply provides a foundation for pandemic flu vaccine as HHS supports the development of diverse, flexible, modern domestic vaccine technology and manufacturing infrastructure for pandemic flu and other infectious diseases vaccines.

Influenza vaccine made in the United States uses chicken eggs. These chickens and the eggs used for vaccine are monitored closely for contamination, and vaccines are tested to ensure they are safe and do not contain bacteria.

The first egg supply contract was awarded because, at the time, eggs for flu vaccine were available only at the time of year that seasonal influenza vaccine was manufactured, although a pandemic can strike at any time. The initial contract provided eggs in the fall to manufacture avian flu vaccine for pre-pandemic vaccine stockpiles.

The egg supply contract also provided the eggs needed for vaccine manufacturing during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic at a time of the year when, historically, due to seasonal vaccine production, the egg supply would have been limited. The egg supply contract also provided twice as many eggs as were needed for the avian flu pre-pandemic vaccine stockpiles. This additional supply allowed Sanofi Pasteur to open a second production line in the United States to make 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine. 

Under the contract announced today, the egg supply will accommodate operation of a third domestic production line at Sanofi Pasteur during a pandemic. Also under today’s contract, BARDA has the option to fund production of flu vaccine for use in research studies.

BARDA, within the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, provides a comprehensive integrated portfolio approach to the advanced research and development, stockpile acquisition, innovation, and manufacturing infrastructure building of the necessary vaccines, drugs, therapeutics, diagnostic tools, and non-pharmaceutical products such as ventilators for public health medical emergencies including chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats, pandemic influenza, and other emerging infectious diseases.

For more information about BARDA and HHS preparedness efforts for public health and medical emergencies visit www.phe.gov.  To learn more about pandemic and seasonal flu, including where to find a seasonal flu vaccine, visit www.flu.gov.

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  • This page last reviewed: October 08, 2010