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Swine Flu Vaccine Production Slower Than Expected

Cheryl Phillips's picture

The Centers for Disease Control(CDC) believes that up to 12 million fewer doses of H1N1 vaccine than expected will be available by month's end. Availability will be limited for the next week or two due to manufacturing delays. The CDC had hoped 40 million doses would be available by end of October, but this is very unlikely.

A little more than half of the available doses are flu shots and the other doses are the nasal flu spray. The nasal spray is approved only for healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49. Pregnant women cannot take the nasal vaccine, so this means many pregnant women will go un-vaccinated if this shortage continues.

Swine flu activity is now widespread in 41 states and all the other states are reporting regional or local activity. For this time of year, that is an unusually high amount of influenza activity.

There is an increase in swine flu deaths this week, especially in children. Eleven more children died from the swine flu this week, making it imperative to be aware of the signs of illness in children.

Even if a child starts to feel better, the swine flu could relapse into pneumonia. Initial signs of the swine flu in children include not eating well, difficulties breathing, and turning blue or gray. If a child starts to relapse after getting better, immediate medical attention should be sought as pneumonia can be fatal.

For now, the swine flu vaccine will be in shorter supply than expected, which may cause a rise in swine flu cases. Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC's director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases reported on Friday that manufacturers are making unprecedented amounts of vaccine, but difficulties growing the vaccine, as well as time-consuming potency and purity testing, are contributing to the delay.

"We are not cutting any corners in the safety of the production of the vaccine or the testing and oversight of the vaccine" Schuchat explained.

Cheryl Phillips
Exclusive to

source: CDC

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