Oct 28, 2009
WHO experts tackle H1N1 vaccine questions
The World Health Organization's (WHO's) immunization experts today discussed issues related to the H1N1 vaccine, according to its agenda. The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) was asked if epidemiologic or vaccine-availability issues would alter SAGE's recommendations, how many doses per person are needed, if seasonal and pandemic doses can be co-administered, and if obesity is a risk factor. A WHO spokesman said results of the meeting may be available tomorrow.
Oct 27-29 WHO SAGE agenda
Vaccine production reaches 23.2 million doses
The cumulative total of H1N1 vaccine doses available reached 23.2 million today, up about 800,000 from yesterday's 22.4 million, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said at a press conference today. She said about 9 million doses were added to the total in the past week. All 50 states have ordered supplies of vaccine, she reported.
Oct 28 HHS press conference recording
Lack of prioritization cited for LA vaccine shortage
In the early stages of Los Angeles County's free H1N1 vaccination clinics, overwhelmed staff members vaccinated many people who were not in the vaccination priority groups, the Los Angeles Times reported today. As of yesterday, the county had only enough doses to last through Nov 4 instead of the planned Nov 8, said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, public health director. He said officials didn't want to turn away people who had traveled and stood in line to get vaccinated.
Oct 28 Los Angeles Times report
Former FDA official says policy has slowed vaccine
Overly cautious policy decisions by the US government are partly to blame for shortages of the pandemic H1N1 vaccine, according to a former Food and Drug Administration official who wrote an editorial for the Wall Street Journal. Scott Gottlieb, MD, said the use of adjuvants could have stretched supplies. He said a focus on single-dose vials has slowed vaccine delivery, as has reliance on outdated egg-based production.
Oct 27 Wall Street Journal article
Oman launches H1N1 vaccine campaign
Health authorities in Oman said yesterday that they have started the country's pandemic H1N1 vaccine campaign after receiving the first 100,000 doses of its 2.6 million dose order, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported. For now, priority groups include older people, pregnant women, health workers, and Mecca pilgrims. The vaccine is free for all citizens. To address concerns about vaccine safety, media outlets showed senior officials receiving flu shots.
Oct 27 AFP story
Iceland finds pandemic virus in pigs
Veterinary officials in Iceland confirmed the pandemic H1N1 virus in a pig herd after 10 of the animals started showing symptoms such as poor appetite, fever, and coughing, according to a report yesterday to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Investigators are exploring the possibility that humans spread the virus to the pigs; two workers had flulike symptoms before the pigs got sick. The 4,500-pig farm is under quarantine.
Oct 27 OIE report
Gender-based vaccine doses suggested to boost supply
Two commentators writing in the New York Times say that using lower doses of flu vaccine in women could improve the vaccine supply without sacrificing protection. Sarah L. Klein, a Johns Hopkins immunologist, and Phyllis Greenbrier, president of the Society for Women's Health Research, point to studies in which women had a significantly stronger immune response to flu vaccines than men did. They say that besides stretching the supply, the step would reduce side effects for women.
Oct 28 New York Times commentary
Sen Collins asks HHS to explain vaccine delays
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius yesterday asking why there are fewer pandemic H1N1 vaccine doses than officials originally projected. Her letter appeared on the Web site of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network. Collins said shortages are alarming because not all high-risk groups can be vaccinated and the vaccine could arrive too late to prevent infections in many Americans. She asked the HHS to share its latest projections.
Oct 27 letter from Collins to Sebelius