Economics Writing Assignment - Supply & Demand

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Writing Assignment #1: Supply and Demand
"Fears of Widespread Flu Raise Demand for Vaccine in Isles"
16 February 2013

Last month, the Star-Advertiser reported a sudden increase in demand for flu vaccines after documented widespread of illness and recent deaths from the influenza virus. Flu season typically begins in October and continues through mid-May of the following year. Currently, many suppliers are running low on the strain of influenza for the 2012 – 2013 Season.

Economics is very useful in analyzing and defining typical human behavior. This part of the social sciences studies how individuals make decisions in allocating limited resources to satisfy needs and unlimited wants. The dilemma presented by Star-Advertiser reporter, Marcie Kagawa, is “Fears of Widespread Flu Raise Demand for Vaccine in Isles.” Change in demand for the influenza vaccine occurred from society’s current state of mind, shifting consumer preference and increasing number of buyers.

Fear has generated the change in people. The reported number of illnesses and deaths caused by influenza initiated a greater concern for health and safety, thus increasing the demand for protection. More individuals are running to the nearest clinics, pharmacies, and healthcare providers to obtain a dose of the flu vaccine. Some people are so panic-stricken they go in for a second dose.

Each year, prior to production and distribution, the United States Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA) must approve the influenza vaccine formulation for each licensed manufacturer. There are only six manufacturers licensed to produce vaccines for the 2012-2013 Season.

Companies conduct their own cost-effective and cost-benefit analyses to review the economic value of production. Cost is a major element that affects the outcome of supply curves. Determining how much of the influenza vaccine to provide for the public poses quite a challenge for every company, as the strains of viruses...
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