U.S. Slashes Swine Flu Vaccine Estimate

Only 45 million doses, not 120 million, will be available by mid-October.

ByABC News
August 17, 2009, 2:43 PM

Aug. 17, 2009— -- WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. officials Mondaysaid they had slashed their estimate of how many swine fluvaccine doses will be available for the start of a massvaccination campaign in the fall.

Citing delays in manufacturing and packaging the vaccines,the Department of Health and Human Services said only 45million doses of the new H1N1 vaccine would be on hand inmid-October, instead of the 120 million previously forecast.

The revised delivery guidelines would push back a U.S.government estimate that all those requiring vaccinations beimmunized by the first week of December.

"Our latest information from the manufacturers tells usthat we now expect to have about 45 million doses by October 15with approximately 20 million doses being delivered each weekThereafter, up to the 195 million doses that we havepurchased," Bill Hall, an HHS spokesman, said in an e-mail.

The Geneva-based World Health Organisation declared H1N1 afull pandemic in June, and the virus has spread to about 180countries. World health officials have said people shouldreceive the two-dose swine flu vaccination as well as thesingle-dose seasonal flu vaccination this year.

In July, U.S. advisers said about half the U.S. population,or 160 million people, should get vaccinated against the newpandemic influenza strain, with pregnant women and healthcareworkers at the front of the line.

Clinical trials of the H1N1 vaccine are under way, and fivecompanies are making it for the U.S. market -- AstraZeneca'sMedImmune unit, CSL, GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Novartis AG andSanofi-Aventis SA.

Dr. Robin Robinson of HHS said in a teleconference onFriday that Australia's CSL Biotherapiesmust produce swine fluvaccine first for Australia, where it is winter and both swineflu and seasonal flu are circulating, according to a newsservice run by the Center for Infectious Disease Research &Policy at the University of Minnesota.