Questions abound about how to best inoculate the world against swine flu as health officials plan for a campaign that could dwarf any previous flu vaccination effort.
Among the issues to be resolved are the amount of vaccine likely to be available, the timing of the vaccine's availability, how it would be distributed, who would provide the shots, who would pay for them and whether it will be possible to track potential side effects.
At a recent meeting at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health officials said U.S. demand could reach 600 million doses of vaccine, enough for two doses for each of the approximate 300 million people in the United States. That's in case two doses are required for children and adults under 50, CDC representatives said, CNN reports.
However no final decision has been made about whether a swine flu vaccination campaign will take place or whether all Americans would get immunizations. Health officials said that a swine flu vaccination campaign could be only a few months away, and that as many as 60 million doses could be ready by September. The timing depends on how fast a vaccine can be produced and tested, however.
Health officials are clearly getting ready for a massive vaccination effort, and worry that illnesses could continue or even accelerate in the fall or winter. Preparation discussions dominated a three-day meeting in Atlanta of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a panel that guides U.S. vaccination policy, The Associated Press reports.
Meanwhile New York City officials on Wednesday reported six more deaths from the A/H1N1 flu virus, bringing the city's total to 38, Xinhua reports.