US May Toss 75M Doses of Swine Flu Vaccine

Unused shots are near expiration date
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2010 2:06 PM CDT
US May Toss 75M Doses of Swine Flu Vaccine
A man receives a nasal vaccine during a program to provide free H1N1 flu vaccinations to taxicab drivers.   (AP Photo)

More than 71 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine purchased by the federal government to combat an expected flu pandemic will have to be discarded if they go unused, which seems increasingly likely. Those doses were packaged for individual use, which dramatically decreases their shelf life. Of the 229 million doses bought for $1.6 billion, about 91 million were administered. The US will donate some of the rest to poor nations and keep about 35 million doses in bulk form.

"Did we do as well as we would have liked to? No, not at all," a CDC officials tells the Washington Post. "But the country did an extraordinary job of responding. It's pretty incredible to think about how much uncertainty we had at the beginning of this." The problem stems from delays in rolling out the vaccine. By the time it arrived, swine flu was off people's radars. (Read more H1N1 virus stories.)

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