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Most Who Want Swine Flu Shot Can't Get It
Date:11/6/2009

confirmed deaths from swine flu among children have reached 129, according to the CDC. Of these children, two-thirds had underlying medical conditions such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and asthma, Schuchat said.

Among deaths from H1N1 flu, 90 percent are among people under the age of 65, and over 50 percent of those hospitalized are under 25, she said. That's, "a flip-flop with what we see with seasonal flu," where many fatalities occur in the elderly, Schuchat said.

Last week, a CDC report estimated that for every confirmed case of swine flu there were 79 unreported cases. In all, the agency estimated that there have been between 1.8 million and 5.7 million U.S. cases of flu, as well as 9,000 to 21,000 hospitalizations and about 800 related deaths.

Those who should be near the front of the line for a swine flu shot include pregnant women, children, people who care for infants, health-care workers, and people with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

In addition, adding to the H1N1 vaccine shortage is a shortfall in available seasonal flu vaccine. So far, 91 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine have been distributed out of a total of 114 million doses expected to be available. When the remaining doses would be available, Schuchat could not say.

On Thursday, CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden sent a letter to state and local health officials urging them not to forget the goal of the H1N1 vaccination program, especially as shortages continue.

"The goal of the H1N1 vaccination program is to protect our population -- focusing first on these high-risk groups and ensuring equitable access to the vaccine," Frieden wrote. "While vaccine supplies are still limited, any vaccine distribution decisions that appear to direct vaccine to people outside the identified priority groups have the potential to undermine the credibility of the program...I ask each of you to review your
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