Meriden vaccine maker: We’re scrapping expansion plans after Gov. Malloy ‘blew us off’

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MERIDEN- It’s being called “the shot heard ‘round the state.” Well, flu-shot that is, and it all started on Twitter.

Somehow, a photo of the governor receiving a vaccination has prompted a local medical company to consider ditching the state.

The tweet in question shows a photo of Gov. Dannel Malloy, getting a flu shot on February 6. The problem is, the vaccine was made by an overseas company, and that’s got Connecticut’s only flu vaccine producer feeling pinched.

The company in question is Meriden-based Protein Sciences. It’s the only American company that makes a flu vaccine in the U.S.

"That's why it was so dissapointing,” said Protein Science’s Executive Chairman Dan Adams.

Adams saw the Twitter photo of the governor getting the foreign-made flue vaccine, and it was so upsetting that Adams scrapped plans to purchase two buildings in Meriden that were part of an expansion plan in Connecticut.

"We're selling to the DOD, to the CDC, other states. It's just really a tough thing to overcome because they're all looking for whether we're being supported in our home base,” said Adams.

But this beef’s about  more than just a tweet. Adams said Protein Sciences wants the state to use their flu vaccine, but instead feels “ignored” by the administration.

"We're asking to at least buy some so that I don't have to hem and haw when people ask us what's Connecticut doing,” said Adams.

Protein Sciences offers an FDA-approved, one-of-a-kind vaccine called FluBlok that doesn’t use chickens’ eggs like traditional vaccines do.

State Sen. Dante Bartolomeo, who represents Meriden, hasn’t taken to Twitter over the dispute, but is backing the company. "I do support the company and the product. I do still believe that we as a state should be looking at how we can keep them here,” she said.

Whether Protein Sciences is actually willing to move is unclear, but even if the Twitter outrage is just a bluff, it might not be one the Malloy administration is willing to call.

When asked if the governor's insult was the last straw, Adams said, "Things are never the last straw. But it kind of cut into our gut.”

Malloy’s office didn’t grant Fox CT an interview Friday, but Devon Puglia, the director of media relations for the governor's office, did email a statement:

Just like so many Connecticut businesses, Protein Sciences is working toward producing a quality product and the Governor respects their work. He was given a flu vaccine from the West Hartford/Bloomfield local health department and the vaccine that was given was based on the stock of the local health department.

Protein Sciences has 100 employees and when asked what it would take to keep the company in Connecticut, Adams would not specify, but he did say, “a dialogue with the governor” would help.