As swine flu becomes a pandemic, where are the vaccines?


On Tuesday, the World Health Organization's top flu expert said the group is on the verge of declaring the first influenza pandemic in more than 40 years. Confirmed community spread in a second region beyond North America would trigger moving to phase 6, signifying a full-blown pandemic. It's important to note that a move to phase 6 would reflect the geographic spread of the disease, not its severity.

Early projections of 2,000 to 2,500 cases in the United States by the end of May completely missed the mark, indicating the disease spread is far worse than expected. On May 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that there were "upwards of 100,000" cases in the country, with 7,415 cases confirmed at that point.

As the H1N1 flu seemed mild, over time headlines gave way to other stories. Still, health officials are worried it might return in a more virulent form this winter. If everything points to pandemic and there are concerns over increased severity, where, then, are our promised vaccines?