The Associated Press
Science panel urges some swine flu vaccine next month
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama's scientific advisers are recommending that the government should speed availability of at least a little swine flu vaccine. They'd like to see it released next month rather than in October.
It's among the recommendations in a 68-page report from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. It also urges federal health officials to do more social networking to put the young people targeted by the virus on notice; clarify who should use anti-flu drugs and how; and improve tracking of the fast-moving virus.
The government initially expected to launch swine flu vaccinations with 120 million available doses around mid-October. It now estimates it will have just 45 million doses on hand by October 15th, with the rest to be shipped at a pace of around 20 million per week through December.
There's plenty of vaccine against regular winter flu, which also is expected to circulate, and clinics and retailers have begun those inoculations.
Packaging bottleneck delaying swine flu vaccine
WASHINGTON (AP) - A new snag in production of swine flu vaccine has the government hunting for more companies that can package it.
The man in charge of vaccine procurement at the Department of Health and Human Services says if there are early outbreaks in September and October, there could be increased demand for the shots.
Dr. Robin Robinson of HHS says they're looking for more firms that can help out.
Health and Human Services expected to have 120 million doses of the vaccine by Oct. 15. But it now thinks it will fall far short of that -- only 45 million -- although that's expected to rise to 85 million doses by the end of October.
Small company's swine flu vaccine works in animals
ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) - Vaccine developer Novavax says its experimental vaccine against swine flu, produced in just weeks instead of several months for standard methods, works in animals.
That's based on a small study scientists at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did on ferrets, which react to the flu like people.
But the Maryland company's genetically engineered vaccine won't be approved and ready for commercial use in the U.S. for at least a couple years. That means it won't be available to help here in the current epidemic of novel H1N1 influenza.
The company's chief medical officer says the results show what Novavax could do for the next pandemic.
And while the vaccine won't be licensed here for a few years, Novavax is talking to poor countries.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)