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Archive for Tuesday, August 18, 2009

U.S. expects far fewer swine flu shots in Oct.

August 18, 2009

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— The U.S. won’t have nearly as much swine flu vaccine ready by mid-October as long predicted — 45 million doses instead of the anticipated 120 million, a federal official said Monday.

It’s not a shortage but a delay, Health and Human Services spokesman Bill Hall said. More will arrive rapidly after that, with about 20 million more doses being shipped weekly until the government reaches the full 195 million doses ordered, he said.

But the October shortfall, blamed on manufacturing issues, will extend by a month efforts to get people at highest risk vaccinated against the new flu strain. First in line are supposed to be pregnant women, children and health care workers, followed by younger adults with flu-risky conditions such as asthma.

Expect vaccination campaigns to start around Oct. 15 anyway, Hall said. They just will have to be smaller in scale than originally planned, as the supply trickles in more slowly.

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