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Swine flu shots shipped two weeks early

Jenny Decker RN's picture

Even though they may not be immediately available due to government distribution channels, swine flu shots have been shipped two weeks early. Sanofi-Aventis shipped its first load today. With the pandemic of H1N1 by the World Health Organization, both the vaccine manufacturers and the Centers for Disease Control have worked many long and tireless hours to make the vaccine available to all as soon as possible.

To date, the World Health Organization reported that there are over 300,000 lab confirmed cases of the swine flu, and 3,917 deaths in 191 countries and territories. Sanofi has contracted with the U.S. government to supply 75.3 million doses of the swine flu vaccine. Other companies that have contracted with the U.S. government to provide H1N1 vaccines include GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK), and AstraZeneca MedImmune. The government has contracted for 250 million doses in all. It has been estimated that about 10% of 250 million vaccines that the government has requested will go to developing countries.

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There is concern that there will not be enough for everyone. The CDC has reassured the American people that there will be enough. Today’s shipment is only the first of many from only one company that has contracted with the government for providing H1N1 vaccines. The CDC states that most likely there will likely be more than enough. In typical years, only about half of those who are eligible to get the seasonal flu shot have actually gotten them. There is already concern that those at the top of the CDC’s priority list, pregnant women, will not get the swine flu vaccine.

FluMist, the intranasal form of the vaccine has already been shipping and 3.4 million doses should be in physician’s offices by Tuesday, October 6th. Though swine flu shots have shipped two weeks early, Americans will have to wait until they have gone through the government’s channels of distribution before they will be made available.

Those who should be the first to receive a swine flu shot include pregnant women, those aged 6 months to early twenties, and those with decreased immune systems. If you think that you have been exposed to swine flu, call your physician immediately. Antiviral medication should be given within 48 hours of exposure. Signs and symptoms of swine flu include a sore throat with a high temperature and a cough, difficulty breathing, and sometimes shortness of breath.