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Production Problems Plague Delivery of Swine Flu Vaccine
Date:10/22/2009

Despite significant shortfall, CDC says all Americans who want shot will be able to get one, eventually

THURSDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- As reports of swine flu infections continue to pour in from across the United States, health experts labored Thursday to explain why delivery of stocks of the long-awaited H1N1 vaccine are falling behind schedule.

Federal officials had projected that 40 million doses would be on hand by Oct. 15, but not even 13 million doses had arrived by Tuesday.

"They [federal health officials] made some earlier projections, but it looks like a number of those projections have been overly optimistic," said Dr. Ciro Sumaya, a professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health, and a member of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

On Tuesday, a top CDC official acknowledged that production of the vaccine was lagging, with a revised goal now of 50 million doses by mid-November and 150 million by year's end.

"I understand and share everyone's desire to have more vaccine. I wish that we had more than we have right now, but we do have more coming out every day," Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said during a press conference.

The resulting shortage has forced the delay of many mass vaccinations, and harried doctors are dealing with worried parents anxious to get their children inoculated. While the swine flu continues to produce mild-to-moderate disease in most people, children and young adults seem most vulnerable to the virus. During the six-week period ending Oct. 10, 27 states had reported 4,958 people hospitalized with H1N1 swine flu, and more than half -- 53 percent -- of those people were under the age of 25.

Experts such as Sumaya explained that glitches can -- and apparently did -- occur at sever
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