Blame Game Begins For Swine Flu Vaccine Shortfall : Shots - Health News Overly optimistic projections and a slew of manufacturing problems have led to disappointment on vaccine against the new H1N1 virus.
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Blame Game Begins For Swine Flu Vaccine Shortfall

What was supposed to be vaccination time has become finger-pointing time.

Good luck finding some of this. Mark Boster/Getty Images hide caption

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Mark Boster/Getty Images

Good luck finding some of this.

Mark Boster/Getty Images

Day by day, we're learning more about why supplies of a vaccine against swine flu, expected to be a centerpiece of public health, are coming up short. But explanations are small consolation for people who took the vaccination message to heart and have been unable to get immunized against the new H1N1 virus.

As NPR's Richard Knox reports on Monday's Morning Edition, the makers of vaccine didn't realize just how badly production was going until very recently, when they got test kits they needed to assess the potency of the vaccine being churned out--it's been low.

Problems with the original cultures of the virus for growing vaccine are also being blamed. At Novartis, for instance, the first production runs of virus-making yieleded just one-fifth the vaccine expected, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Another problem: GlaxoSmithKline, another major vaccine maker still hasn't got Food and Drug Administration approval for the swine flu vaccine intended for the US.

Then there's literal and figurative problem of bottlenecks. Some makers have had problems filling vials with finished vaccine, the New York Times reports.

By Halloween, about 28 million doses of vaccine will have been delivered, down from a recent downgraded expectation of 40 million doses. There isn't much more room to reduce the numbers further. The Times writes, "federal projections have been consistently and wildly overoptimistic." Recall, as late as the end of July, government officials were predicting about 160 million vaccine doses would be ready by now. Not exactly.