Swine Flu Vaccine Shortage

POSTED: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - 8:46am

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 10:58pm

With a shortage of swine flu vaccine all over the country, President Obama over the weekend declared a national "swine flu emergency". The president said "the rapid increase in illness across the nation may overburden health care resources."

The emergency declaration means doctors can skip some government paperwork while trying to vaccinate and treat patients. "If things get more crowded in the hospitals, this'll make it easier. A little bit less bureaucracy and red tape," said Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control.

But it won't create vaccine any faster. With only 16 million doses available nationwide, so far many clinics are only seeing high risk groups. "We really want to give it to the ones at risk while the supply is limited," said Karen Thomas with Cobb and Douglas public health.

But patients are coming for other reasons. "I work at Wendy's, and dealing with all those people, I don't know if they've washed their hands or not," said one person. The government can't say how soon it will be before more vaccine becomes available.

"The vaccine is coming out the door as fast as it comes off the production lines," said health and human services secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

But Sebelius assures the public that eventually, there will be enough vaccine for everyone who wants it. That could be months after the first wave of swine flu hits. The government's already planning for another wave next spring.

For Louisiana specific information, visit: http://www.fighttheflula.com.