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Spotlight on Vaccine Contract 269-A3

Banish Flu by Shopping TxSmartBuy for Vaccines

The Flu Ends with U - image courtesy of flu.gov

Image courtesy of flu.gov

The flu season strikes every year leaving many people sniffling and reaching for medicine bottles.

Thousands of Texans won't give the flu bug a second thought this year, thanks to flu vaccines bought through the Texas Procurement and Support Services (TPASS) influenza vaccine contract 269-A3 available to state agencies and local governments through TxSmartBuy.com, the state's online purchasing system.

"We have five vendors offering different products," says Purchaser Yvette Marietta, who manages the contract.

"Reservations typically begin in February or March," Marietta says. "In February, the contract will be eligible for renewal and I will work with the vendors to establish the 2012 vaccine reservation schedule.

Vaccines have been shipping to county health officers and school nurses throughout the fall, fulfilling orders originally submitted last spring, she says. Some local governments were able to order more recently, but only because the vendors have extra supplies.

Reservations for the flu vaccine typically begin in February or March.

"Shipment starts in September. Often, people then come looking for vaccines, people who have forgotten to pre-order," Marietta says. "This year, several vendors had extra supplies and were able to help. We also added a vendor to the contract who couldn't confirm its supply earlier in the year. Conversely, if a contractor is in a bind, we can suspend orders to that company.

Influenza Vaccine Contract Volume - Calendar Year 2011
Entity Purchase Amount

State Agencies

$166,310

Local Governments

$193,470

  County

$99,042

  School District

$3,347

  Municipality

$91,081

In 2011, almost $360,000 worth of flu vaccines have been ordered through TxSmartBuy.com, with more than half going to local governments. State universities and state health care agencies also bought $164,000 flu vaccines to serve their clients.

The biggest flu vaccine customer is The University of Texas at Austin, which bought thousands of doses for University Health Services with a total spend of $120,000 in 2011. Marcus Grimes, a buyer at UT-Austin, says the TxSmartBuy online catalog is the first port of call for health services staff when they are ordering vaccines for students, faculty and staff.

"By using pre-negotiated state contracts, this process provides the university with a very efficient way to acquire critical health services products," Grimes says. "The Health Services team will search the catalogs for the items. Then they submit their order to me. It is a pretty easy way for them to do what they have to do."

Different vaccines are available to inoculate infants, children, adults and elderly Texans. Prices start at about $70 for an injectable 10-dose vial to vaccinate adults. Nasal vaccines also are available. The most expensive flu vaccine is for over-65s and costs $265 for 10 syringes.

"The best way to look and compare among the vendors is to look at TxSmartBuy for price comparison," Marietta says.

Compare influenza vaccines on the state's contract by selecting the Health category in the TxSmartBuy system and searching for "influenza vaccine."

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