Saturday, September 12, 2009

85 Million Doses of Swine Flu Vaccine Should be Available in October

With 45 million doses expected October 15, and 20 million vaccine doses available weekly thereafter, 85 million high-risk Americans will be able to receive their single needed swine flu vaccination during October.  By the end of November, another 80 million (lower risk) Americans could be vaccinated. That will probably cover everyone who wants to be vaccinated.

It is very fortunate that the killed vaccine generates a strong antibody response with only one dose,  in the absence of novel adjuvants.

However, some experts are expert at finding reasons why we need those adjuvants, despite this good news.  According to the NY Times, epidemiologists fear many millions will develop swine flu before sufficient vaccine is available.  And the Baltimore Sun interviewed a local doctor conducting a swine flu vaccine trial.

Using an adjuvant - a substance with an oil and water base that is added to the vaccine - could mean having four times as much vaccine supply, Wilbur Chen, of U. Maryland's Center for Vaccine Development, said. But adjuvants, used with flu vaccines in Europe, are not licensed for flu vaccines here. Federal approval would require an emergency declaration by the Food and Drug Administration.

Still,  Chen thinks studying adjuvants now could prove helpful later in the flu season or in future years.

"Depending how bad H1N1 gets, we may want to stretch out our vaccine supply even further," he said. "This study still addresses a critical issue that is important for public health planning as we get into the flu season."

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