Public health officials have growing cause for concern about the H1N1 flu. In recent weeks the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, has spread rapidly in almost every community, affecting millions of Americans. In addition, supplies of the vaccine aimed at preventing H1N1 have been far fewer than expected.
Several months before the typical peak of flu season, the H1N1 flu is already considered widespread in 46 states. The rapid spread of the virus has overwhelmed many clinics and healthcare providers, and officials are concerned that H1N1 illnesses have yet to peak.
In October health officials announced yet another problem related to the spread of H1N1—a serious shortage of the vaccine that prevents swine flu. Vaccine manufacturers have fallen well short of the 45 million dosages that officials estimated would be available by late October. Instead, only about 22 million dosages had been delivered by the end of October. Public health officials believe the shortage in production is a result of longer than expected processing time for the vaccine.
In response to the growing H1N1 crisis, President Barack Obama declared a national emergency on October 23. The president’s declaration is aimed at speeding up the process for treating patients with the H1N1 flu. The emergency declaration allows officials to expedite the opening of temporary healthcare facilities to handle the rush of patients.
Health officials are reassuring the public that once the vaccine production speeds up, there will be enough vaccine for anyone who wants to get it.
- Swine Flu Vaccine Shortage: Why?
This article examines the reasons behind the current H1N1 vaccine shortage and what that means for Americans seeking the vaccine.
(Source: NPR, October 28, 2009)
- Why Such a Shortage of Swine Flu Vaccine?
Read about the causes of the H1N1 vaccine shortage in this article from the Washington Post.
(Source: Washington Post, October 28, 2009)
This Web site from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides valuable information on preventing and treating the flu, as well as where to obtain vaccines for the seasonal flu and the H1N1 flu.
(Source: www.flu.gov, October 28, 2009)