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 Swine Flu Vaccine Scarcity Stirs Anger in U.S. Cities 
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 Swine Flu Vaccine Scarcity Stirs Anger in U.S. Cities
Swine Flu Vaccine Scarcity Stirs Anger in U.S. Cities (Update1)

By Meg Tirrell and David Olmos ... HKVGJB0FXg

Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) -- San Diego health officials said the county depleted its main supply of swine flu vaccine today after receiving only 25 percent of the 411,000 doses anticipated for October, as reports of shortages nationwide mount.

New shipments may arrive “in the next week or two, we hope,” said Jose Alvarez, a spokesman for the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. From New York, where October deliveries fell short by 400,000 doses, to Dallas and Phoenix, which have postponed mass vaccinations, to San Francisco, where one family clinic is fielding 400 calls a day, local officials are being pressured by parents for swine flu vaccine as the death toll for children in the U.S. reached 95.

The U.S. received about 9 million more doses of H1N1 vaccine from drugmakers in the last week, bringing the total available for distribution to 23.2 million, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said today. The supply isn’t enough, Thomas Frieden, director of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a call yesterday with reporters. Local officials and doctors agree.

“Some parents are very angry,” said Joanne Cox, associate chief of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital in Boston. “We have very high demand. The phones are ringing off the hook.”

Nicole Lurie, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at health and human services, said Oct. 23 that the U.S. won’t get the 195 million doses it had planned for by the end of the year because of production delays at two drugmakers and one manufacturer’s failure to gain regulatory approval for its product.

Vaccine Suppliers

GlaxoSmithKline Plc and AstraZeneca Plc, both based in London, Sanofi-Aventis SA of Paris, Novartis AG in Basel, Switzerland, and CSL Ltd. of Melbourne, Australia, provide the bulk of the U.S. supply. Sebelius said today that production of the vaccine is being “accelerated” and the reasons for the slow start have been fixed.

While the U.S. may receive 42 million doses from the drugmakers to distribute to states by mid-November, that is 8 million fewer than earlier U.S. estimates, Lurie said. Local health departments are already feeling the pinch.

San Diego received only 100,000 doses of the vaccine it was expecting this month, Alvarez said yesterday. About 16,500 doses were distributed through county clinics over the weekend, he said. The county ran out of vaccine delivered through injections today, and has limited supplies for pregnant women, said Tom Christensen, a spokesman, in a telephone interview today.

Parents Confused

Parents are getting mixed messages from schools and doctors offices, which are urging them to vaccinate kids when supplies often aren’t available, said one Boston-area mother.

“Do I want my kids to be vaccinated? Sure,” said Margaret Birchall, a mother of four kids ages 10 to 22 in Topsfield, Massachusetts. “But what do you do? You’re being told to be sure to get the vaccine, but then they don’t have it.”
Dallas County, Texas, canceled a mass vaccination effort planned for Oct. 24 because it didn’t have enough doses, said Zachary Thompson, director of the county’s Health and Human Services agency.

“We may get a lot of vaccine on the back end, in November or December, but our goal is to do mass vaccinations as early as possible,” Thompson said yesterday. News coverage has heightened awareness of the pandemic “and everybody is ready to take the vaccine,” he said.

Many Questions

About 400 people a day are calling East Bay Pediatrics, a physician practice that serves about 14,000 children in Berkeley and Orinda, California, east of San Francisco, said Mary Gilbert, a registered nurse. The pediatricians’ office received about 300 doses of the vaccine in mid-October, and the supply was gone in three days, Gilbert said.

“It’s very hit or miss as to when we get the product,” she said. “We just keep telling people to be patient. Most people are just scared from what they’re reading in the newspapers.”

Maricopa County, Arizona, which includes Phoenix, has received about a third of the vaccine supply it had anticipated by now, said Rebecca Sunenshine, an epidemiologist with the Department of Public Health. In total, the county expects to get about 250,000 doses, she said in a phone interview yesterday.

With temperatures in the high 80s, “we had tremendous lines” that lasted for hours over the weekend at pediatrician offices, pharmacies and clinics, Sunenshine said.

17,000 Vaccinations

The county vaccinated 17,000 people on Oct. 24, focusing on higher risk groups, she said. A series of mass immunization programs at schools has been postponed, she said.

New York City will get 800,000 doses of the vaccine by the end of this month, compared with the 1.2 million it expected, said Jessica Scaperotti, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. A vaccine program in schools started today with 125 elementary schools.

President Barack Obama declared swine flu a national emergency on Oct. 24. The disease is widespread across the country and accounted for 411 confirmed deaths and more than 8,200 hospitalizations from Aug. 30 to Oct. 17, the CDC said.

While H1N1 produces similar symptoms as seasonal flu, it is targeting a younger population and can lead to severe illness and death. The seasonal flu kills about 36,000 people a year in the U.S., though the majority of those deaths are in people older than age 80.

Children’s Deaths

Ninety-five children 17 years old or younger have died from confirmed swine flu since April 2009, more than the toll for a typical year of influenza, according to the CDC Web site.

A World Health Organization advisory panel is deliberating today whether one or two doses of the vaccine are needed to fight the virus. The U.S. and Australia have begun mass immunization programs based on a single-dose regimen, while Japan and the European Union are calling for two shots.

The vaccine will reach Hong Kong by the end of the year, about three months after an initial wave of cases peaked, a health official there said. China and Russia each have had four deaths from the H1N1 virus, news agencies reported today.

Chicago-based Aon Corp., the world’s largest insurance broker, is offering to cover companies against the risk of their offices being shut by the pandemic.

Concern that there are shortages is bound to boost demand from those afraid the product won’t be available in time to head off the disease, the CDC’s Frieden told reporters in his call yesterday.

About 11.3 million doses had been shipped to states as of Oct. 21, according to the CDC.

California received the most vaccine as of Oct. 21, at 1.3 million doses, according to the CDC’s Web site. Texas was next with 831,400, followed by New York, at 729,100. As of then, 14.1 million doses were available for ordering.

“Some of those early challenges have definitely been addressed,” Sebelius told reporters at a Washington news conference today. “The growth rate” of vaccine doses “is much more robust.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Meg Tirrell in New York at; David Olmos in San Francisco at

Something is going to happen, but what?

Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:04 pm
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Post Re: Swine Flu Vaccine Scarcity Stirs Anger in U.S. Cities
I'm putting this here because this event has contributed to vaccine scarcity - deliberately or not... :dunno

Suspect arrested in Milwaukee theft of flu vaccine
November 6th, 2009 @ 4:53am

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Milwaukee police have arrested a man accused of stealing a truck carrying 900 doses of swine flu vaccine.

The suspect is a 38-year-old man with a criminal record. Police are looking for two other men who were seen in the vehicle with him.

The truck was taken Thursday night as it idled outside a swine flu clinic.

Officers found the abandoned truck less than an hour later with the vaccine apparently intact. As they investigated, a witness pointed to the 38-year-old leaving a nearby liquor store and identified him as one of the three men in the truck.

City health official Raquel Filmanowicz says even if the vaccine hasn't been tampered with, it's still considered "compromised" because it was out of city possession. She says it can no longer be used.

"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything." ~ Albert Einstein

Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:58 pm
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Post Re: Swine Flu Vaccine Scarcity Stirs Anger in U.S. Cities
CDC Director: Vaccine Shortage May Outlast Current Pandemic Wave

# 3956

In stark contrast to statements made just 4 days ago by a prominent White House Advisor, Thomas Frieden – Director of the CDC – indicated before a House Subcommittee session today that the shortage of vaccine was likely to last a while.

Last Sunday we were treated to this astonishingly optimistic assessment:

H1N1 vaccine struggling to catch up to demand
10 million more doses expected to be available this week, official says
updated 1:40 p.m. ET, Sun., Nov . 1, 2009

WASHINGTON - A senior adviser to President Barack Obama says the government will catch up to the demand for swine flu vaccine within a week.

Obama adviser David Axelrod says the manufacturers of the vaccine were wrong when they advised the administration earlier this year that they would have 40 million doses ready near the end of October. Instead, only 28 million doses of vaccine were available.

Axelrod says 10 million more doses are expected to be available this week. He predicted that the U.S. will have all the vaccine it needs "in very short order."

Today, we got what appears to be a far more realistic assessment from the Director of the CDC. Robert Roos, News Editor of CIDRAP, brings us the details in his reporting tonight.

CDC says vaccine shortage likely to outlast current H1N1 wave

Robert Roos * News Editor

Nov 4, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicted today that the current wave of H1N1 influenza is likely to begin to wane before the shortage of vaccine for it eases.

Dr. Thomas Frieden made the comment at a wide-ranging US House subcommittee session that aired the reasons for and impact of the vaccine delays and the prospects for avoiding a repeat of the problem. The session was streamed over the Web.

"It's likely that the current wave of infection will peak, crest, and begin to decline before there are ample supplies," Frieden told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. "Whether there'll be another wave of H1N1 between now and May and whether we'll get a different strain, only time will tell."

(Continue . . . ) ... e-may.html

"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything." ~ Albert Einstein

Sat Nov 07, 2009 12:10 am
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Post Re: Swine Flu Vaccine Scarcity Stirs Anger in U.S. Cities
from Scott McPherson's blog

WTF? Wall Street firms get swine flu vaccine before you do

Today's news coming out of Wall Street was so preposterous I had to read it three times before it really sunk in. Here, I will let you read it yourself. From the AP:

Large NYC employers getting swine flu vaccine

By KAREN MATTHEWS (AP) – 55 minutes ago

NEW YORK — Some of New York City's largest employers — including Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs and big universities — have started receiving doses of the much-in-demand swine flu vaccine for their at-risk employees.

The government-funded vaccine is being distributed to states, where health departments decide where to send the limited doses. In New York, health officials are allowing businesses with onsite medical staff to apply for the vaccine.

Doctors for large companies can ask for the vaccine along with other doctors but must agree to vaccinate only high-risk employees like pregnant women and those with chronic illnesses, said Jessica Scaperotti, a spokeswoman for New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Last month, the city began offering vaccine to schoolchildren, as well as pediatricians and obstetricians who asked for it. Scaperotti said only half of the pediatricians in New York City have requested vaccine

"As the vaccine became more available we expanded it to adult providers," Scaperotti said. She called the large employers "a great avenue for vaccinating people at risk."

But a critic said Wall Street firms shouldn't have access to the vaccine before less wealthy Americans.

"Wall Street banks have already taken so much from us. They've taken trillions of our tax dollars. They've taken away people's homes who are struggling to pay the bills," union official John VanDeventer wrote on the Service Employees International Union Web site. "But they should not be allowed to take away our health and well-being."

The union has about 2 million members, including health care workers.

The swine flu vaccine has been in short supply nationwide because of manufacturing delays, resulting in long lines at clinics and patients being turned away at doctor's offices. The vaccine started trickling out in early October, and there are now nearly 32 million doses available.

The government, which ordered 250 million doses, has recommended that the limited supply go first to high-risk groups: children and young people through age 24, people caring for infants under 6 months, pregnant women and health care workers.

Swine flu — which scientists call the 2009 H1N1 strain — is widespread throughout the country now, much earlier than seasonal flu usually hits.

Nationwide, about 90,000 sites are expected to receive vaccine — mainly hospitals, clinics, doctors' offices, county health departments and pharmacies.

Other big New York City employers that have received doses of the vaccine include Columbia University, Time Inc., the Federal Reserve Bank and several hospitals. The distribution was first reported by Business Week.

Goldman Sachs has received 200 doses and Citigroup has received 1,200, health officials said. So far, 800,000 doses have been delivered to 1,400 health-care providers in New York City, including public schools, pediatricians and hospitals.

Citigroup, "like many other large New York City employers, has partnered with the Department of Health to act as a distribution site for the H1N1 vaccine through the company's health clinics," the company said in a statement Thursday. "The vaccine is being provided only to employees in high-risk categories as defined by the CDC."

Goldman Sachs spokesman Ed Canaday said Thursday that the city's health department "decides in its sole discretion who receives the H1N1 vaccine — both the amount and timing."

"Goldman Sachs, like other responsible employers, has requested vaccine and will supply it only to employees who qualify," Canaday said.

While vaccinating children is a top priority for health officials, Scaperotti said only half of the pediatricians in New York City have asked for it.

Some pediatricians' offices that have received the vaccine, though, said the supply is not meeting the demand.

Manager Linda O'Hanlon at Uptown Pediatrics in Manhattan, said the office has received 500 doses so far — not enough for a practice with almost 7,000 patients.

"We have about 800 appointments" set up for patients who want to get vaccinated, she said.

Associated Press writers Stephen Barnard and Sara Lepro in New York City and Valerie Bauman in Albany, N.Y., contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Gee, I wonder just how many toddlers and children ages 2 to 24 that Goldman Sachs will find in their corporate HQ? I am not one to ordinarily agree with unions, but I think the head of the union quoted in the story hit the nail upon the head.

There have been myriad stories, including one in the New York Times, about New Yorkers waiting hour upon hour to get their children vaccinated. Just Google 'vaccine delay shortage" and you'll get national and local stories by the hundreds.

So children get passed by while Wall Street fatcats get vaccine? Just exactly what target group do they belong to, overweight, bloated, overpaid executives?

This adds to a vaccine credibility problem entirely of the Obama Administration's creation. They have succeeded in creating a caste system for vaccine. And I do not care how many hundred doses Citigroup or other banking firms got and how small that might be compared to the general public. Perception is reality.

If Wall Street bankers want vaccine, they can bloody well stand in line for it with the rest of humanity. ... ou-do.html

"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything." ~ Albert Einstein

Sat Nov 07, 2009 12:16 am
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