Swine flu vaccine: U.S. wouldn't have a shortage if it embraced enhanced version


The majority of Americans want to be vaccinated against swine flu, polls show. But unless you're in a high-risk group, such as expectant mothers, you may not get any vaccine anytime soon. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the current tide of H1N1 influenza is likely to begin to ebb before the shortage of vaccine eases. Meanwhile, the toll from the virus keeps climbing, with deaths from H1N1 in the United States having likely reached 4,000, of which 540 are children.

There are several reasons for the worrisome vaccine shortage. The federal government ordered enough vaccine to immunize nearly the entire nation. But deliveries have been slow, to name one big problem. Perhaps more frustrating to many on the front lines of fighting the virus is that the shortage would ease considerably if the U.S. simply embraced an enhanced version of the vaccine. But so far, U.S. regulatory authorities -- unlike their counterparts in Europe -- haven't taken the steps to make this happen.