Flu Vaccine Case Study

The development and distribution of influenza vaccinations is a perennial topic in the US. This case centers on the 2004-05 flu vaccine shortage following the contamination of more than 48 million vaccine doses and remains salient as the threats to the flu vaccine market emerge each fall in American policy and media coverage. The Flu Vaccine Case focuses on public values and challenges students to think about policy issues that blend market failure and the need to protect the public interest. The case outlines the events that contributed to the 2004-05 vaccine shortage, the subsequent frenzy that developed, and the need for developing long-term plans to prepare for future shortages.

This case offers the opportunity for thinking about and discussing issues such as federal investments in research and development and public health, the challenges with investing public funds in the private sector, communication and coordination across states and between state and federal governments, and anticipating, planning, and ensuring the long term health of the nation. This case has been used successfully and is ideal for graduate and advanced undergraduate courses in public administration, management, and policy.

The teaching note provides numerous variations for using the Flu Case for class exercises and group assignments in public health, policy, management, and administration courses. The wide array of articles and documents listed in the usage note makes the case flexible for instructors and applicable to graduate and advanced undergraduate courses.