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U.S. Considers Massive Swine Flu Vaccination Program
Date:6/27/2009

It could include up to 600 million doses of vaccine: report

FRIDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. health officials said Friday that they are considering a swine flu immunization campaign that could involve an unprecedented 600 million doses of vaccine.

Still to be worked out is finding enough health-care workers to administer all those shots, and determining ways to record side effects if the vaccine is given at the same time as the seasonal flu vaccine. That could make it difficult to figure out which vaccine was causing the side effects, the Associated Press reported.

Meeting at a national vaccine advisory committee session in Atlanta, officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the swine flu campaign could dwarf the roughly 115 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine and the 150 million doses of childhood vaccines distributed each year, the news service said.

Officials have not yet decided whether to start a swine flu vaccination program, or whether all Americans would get the shots, beginning in the fall. The timing depends on how fast a vaccine can be produced and tested; as many as 60 million doses could be ready by September. But a widespread vaccination campaign is likely, the AP said.

On Thursday, federal health officials said an estimated 1 million Americans have been infected with the H1N1 swine flu, which continues to produce mild illness and a fairly quick recovery in patients.

The estimate was based on mathematical modeling, Lyn Finelli, a flu surveillance official with the CDC, said at the vaccine advisory meeting, the AP reported.

Nearly 28,000 cases -- about half the cases in the world -- have been reported to the CDC, including 127 deaths. By comparison, an estimated 15 million to 60 million Americans are infected with the seasonal flu each year, leading to roughly 36,000 deaths.

Meanwhile, the head of the Wo
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