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1 Million More Doses of Swine Flu Vaccine on Hand
Date:10/28/2009

Gap between supply and demand starting to close, U.S. officials say,,

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 28 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. officials reported Wednesday the addition of another million doses H1N1 swine flu vaccine, bringing the total so far to 23.2 million doses.

"We know people are frustrated by the inability to immediately get vaccine right now," Janet Napolitano, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said during an afternoon press conference. "And we know people are frustrated by waiting in lines and by uncertainty."

Production delays have resulted in far fewer doses of the vaccine than federal officials had hoped for by this time. The first estimates called for 40 million doses by the end of October and 190 million doses by year's end.

The officials said that every day more vaccine is becoming available, and they hope to see an end to the shortage over the next several weeks.

"We are saddened and unhappy about the level of illness and death caused by H1N1 flu and share the frustration of Americans who are eager to be vaccinated," Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said during the press conference.

Napolitano noted that the genetic makeup of the H1N1 flu virus hasn't changed since it first appeared in April, so the vaccine is a good, effective match.

"We know we have a vaccine that is on target and is safe and secure," she said. "I can assure you that our scientists, doctors and manufacturing partners are working around the clock to try and fill the gap as quickly as possible. And the gap between vaccine supply and demand is closing every day."

Sebelius said the H1N1 swine flu continues to spread throughout the country, with 46 states reporting widespread outbreaks and the number of cases of infections and hospitalizations rising. More than 1,000 related deaths have been reported since April.

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