FDA Approves H1N1 Vaccine, Paves Way For Large-Scale U.S. Vaccination Campaign
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Tuesday during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing that H1N1 (swine flu) vaccines produced by four manufacturers - CSL Ltd., Novartis, Sanofi-Pasteur and Medimmune - had won FDA approval, paving the way for a U.S. large-scale vaccination campaign, The Wall Street Journal reports. The application for GlaxoSmithKline PLC's vaccine is still being considered (Dooren/Favole, 9/15).
According to CQ HealthBeat, HHS anticipates having some supplies of H1N1 vaccine available as early as October 5 (Attias, 9/15), but "[t]he bulk of vaccine will start arriving Oct. 15, and Sebelius said it should be available at 90,000 sites around the country," The Associated Press/TIME reports. "'We will have enough vaccine available for everyone' eventually, Sebelius said - everyone who wants it, that is." The U.S. government currently has contracts to buy 195 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine, but will buy more if demand is high, Sebelius explained (Neergaard, 9/15).
The large-scale vaccination campaign, scheduled to begin in mid-October, will first target those at greatest risk from H1N1, including health care workers, pregnant women and young people ages 6 months to 24 years. Reuters writes: "H1N1 vaccines will be free, Sebelius said, but some healthcare providers may charge an administration fee. The federal government is planning to spend about $1.4 billion for states and hospitals to prepare for the virus, she added" (Heavey, 9/15).