U.S. vaccine supply reaches 61 million doses
The supply of A/H1N1 flu vaccine has reached 61.2 million doses in the United States, a high-ranking health official said on Wednesday, Xinhua reported.
"Since last Friday, the supply has increased by over 7 million doses, bringing the total number of doses to 61.2 million," Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told a press conference.
"The supply of the A/H1N1 flu vaccine continues to grow," she added, saying there are a total of 21.2 million doses "available for the states to order."
Schuchat said that only a few million doses of the A/H1N1 flu vaccine were available at the beginning of October when the vaccination campaign began.
As of Wednesday, about 50 million doses have been shipped, and the supply continues to increase every day, she added.
The A/H1N1s flu has sickened an estimated 22 million Americans, hospitalized about 98,000 and killed 4,000 since it was first identified in April. It has proved to be similar to seasonal flu but a bigger threat to children and young adults.
Schuchat believes that vaccination is the best way to protect against the ongoing A/H1N1 flu pandemic across the country.
"We're expecting to see vaccination efforts step up in concert with improved supplies," she said. "We're likely to see more places including more doctors' offices, more clinics able to offer the H1N1 vaccine."
Several states are planning major activities after Thanksgiving to promote vaccination, she said, adding that the efforts target groups like adults with chronic health conditions and children.
"We really do think that December will be a big month for vaccination," she said.