October 28, 2009

More Swine Flu Vaccine Doses On The Way

Unused supplies of the H1N1 swine flu vaccine may end up being trashed if people cannot get access to it soon enough, the CDC director said Tuesday.

Centers of Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden said 22.4 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine have been made publicly available.

"It's quite likely that too little vaccine is one of the things that's making people more interested in getting vaccinated, frankly," said Frieden.

"We think it will get easier to find vaccine in the weeks that come."

President Barack Obama's daughters, Sasha and Malia, have been vaccinated against the swine flu, according to the White House blog.

"President and Mrs. Obama have not yet been vaccinated for H1N1, and they will wait until the needs of the priority groups identified by the CDC -- including young people under the age of 24, pregnant women, and people with underlying conditions -- have been met," according to the blog post.

"It is likely also as we produce more vaccine and as both people are given the opportunity to get vaccinated, and as disease maybe wanes in the future, we will have significant amounts of vaccine that can't be used," said Frieden.

"One of the messages for states, localities and health providers is not to reserve vaccine that they have available, to give it out as soon as it comes in, because more is on the way."

US health officials initially estimated in September that 40 million doses would be available by the end of October, with a goal of 250 million doses available by the end of the flu season in March or April.

"It seems that HHS gave its assurance of sufficient supply in August without adequate information to make such a commitment," Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins wrote in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.


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