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CDC Encourages Public To Receive H1N1 Vaccine; PBS Examines Arrival Of Vaccine In Developing Countries

During a media briefing Thursday, Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, warned against complacency over the H1N1 (swine flu), and encouraged Americans who had not yet received the H1N1 vaccine to do so, CNN reports.

An estimated 60 million Americans have received the H1N1 vaccine, according to Schuchat. “She said 136 million doses are currently available for states to order and should be easily accessible through doctor’s offices, local health departments, community and school clinics as well as pharmacies and retail centers,” the news service reports (Young, 1/7).

The New York Times reports, “Flu activity across the country is far below its late-October peak, but still higher than normal for this time in most years. It is almost all still swine flu; almost no seasonal flu has been found, and Dr. Schuchat urged doctors to send more samples to state laboratories” (McNeil, 1/7). New flu numbers are scheduled to be released Friday, CQ HealthBeat reports (Kim, 1/7).

The U.S. has yet to decide whether to cancel or sell its orders of H1N1 vaccine, Schuchat said, Reuters reports. “Right now we are at a point where we have ample supply,” Schuchat said. “We’re really encouraging people to get vaccinated. So we haven’t made decisions here in the U.S. about giving back vaccines.”

France and Germany have already signaled they will cancel some H1N1 vaccine orders (Allen, 1/7).

Donated H1N1 Vaccines Begin To Arrive In Developing Countries

PBS’ NewsHour reports on the arrival of donated H1N1 vaccines to developing countries, the first of which arrived in Mongolia on Thursday, followed by Afghanistan and Azerbaijan, scheduled to arrive within days. According to Marie-Paule Kieny, director of the WHO vaccine initiative, the agency aims to vaccinate two percent of the populations in 95 “lower-income countries” over the next three months, and 10 percent of the country populations by the fall. 

PBS continues, “While supply of the vaccine in developed countries is beginning to catch up with – and in some case exceed – demand, none of the countries, including the United States, that pledged to donate vaccine to the WHO effort have fulfilled that promise yet” (Miller, 1/7).

VOA News examines the arrival of the donated H1N1 vaccines in Mongolia. The article adds details on the WHO’s plan for H1N1 vaccine distribution to developing countries (Schlein, 1/7).

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