December 2, 2009 By Elaine Pittman
Photo: A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention microbiologist reveals an egg's contents through a translucent shell. This procedure allows microbiologists to determine the viability of eggs used in the isolation of influenza virus. Photo courtesy of James Gathany/CDC.
The lack of H1N1 vaccines is causing some localities to halt or postpone mass vaccination clinics, and even close their emergency operations centers that were opened to organize events to vaccinate their at-risk populations. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said 69 million H1N1 vaccine doses are available or have been administered, but the federal government's goal was to have 160 million people vaccinated by the first week of December. Sebelius told a meeting of the American Medical Association that technology is one of the impediments to creating new vaccines.
She added that the federal government has talked about updating vaccine technology for years and now action is being taken. In late November, a cell-based vaccination clinic was opened in North Carolina with support from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.
"When this plant is up and running in 2011, it will be able to produce vaccine for a significant share of our population within six months of the onset of a pandemic," Sebelius said.
Go to Emergency Management's Web site to learn more about vaccine production technology and H1N1.