Total should near 42 million by week's end; more health-care workers getting vaccine
TUESDAY, Nov. 3 (HealthDay News) -- The United States has 31.8 million H1N1 flu vaccine doses available and is on track to have another 10 million ready by week's end, a federal health official said Tuesday.
So far, that isn't enough to prevent long lines at vaccination centers, but it is consistent with what officials had projected earlier this week.
"We're having a steady increase in the availability of vaccine, but not nearly as rapidly as we would have liked," Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters during an afternoon teleconference. "That is encouraging, but it is not nearly as much as we would like. We realize it is frustrating and inconvenient [to patients and to physicians]. As public health professionals, it is frustrating because, in part, many people who seek the vaccine will not get vaccinated later. They might not come back. We ask people to continue to be persistent."
In response to a report that 6,000 flu shots had to be discarded in Pennsylvania because they weren't stored at the proper temperature, Freiden said, "We regret it when there's any loss of vaccine, but when you think that we now have 30 million doses out there, and we've only had a few examples of improper handling that led to the vaccines having to be discarded, this type of thing is virtually inevitable and we're glad it's been relatively rare."
Officials also reported that more health-care workers than usual are availing themselves of the seasonal flu vaccine.
"We're seeing a higher uptake of the seasonal influenza vaccine by health care workers than in previous years," said Frieden. "We'll have to wait and see how that goes and how extensive it is."
Demand for the regular, seasonal flu vaccine among the general population has also been unprecedented, Frieden ad
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