Ten million new doses of vaccine against the pandemic H1N1 influenza virus will become available in the next week, easing the shortages of vaccine that have occurred around the country, administration officials said over the weekend. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Saturday and presidential adviser David Axelrod reiterated today that manufacturers were shipping vaccine seven days a week, and Axelrod predicted that the U.S. would have all the vaccine it needed "in very short order."
The amount of swine flu vaccine is well below what officials had been predicting in the past. Officials had said that 40 million doses would be available by the end of October and that companies would be delivering 20 million doses per week by now. Sebelius said those early estimates were based on "overly optimistic" predictions by the vaccine makers and that officials were now getting more realistic estimates from the companies.
Sebelius said the United States still intended to donate 10% of its vaccine supply to developing countries but that that will not occur until after priority populations here had been vaccinated. "The first priority is to get the vaccine to the American people," she told CNN. "That's always been the plan. It continues to be the plan.
-- Thomas H. Maugh II