In order to make it easier for medical facilities to provide treatment, President Obama has declared the 2009 H1N1 virus pandemic a national emergency. The move allows more freedom for off-site, alternate care facilities to be established and a waiver of standard requirements for Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health insurance programs on a case-by-case basis.
Due to manufacturing delays, the government has revised early estimates that as many as 120 million vaccine doses would be available by mid-October. As of October 21, 2009, only 11 million doses had been shipped to health departments, doctors’ offices and other providers across the country, the CDC said. The government now projects about 50 million doses of swine flu vaccine out by mid-November and 150 million in December.
The flu has hit children and young people hardest. Children, pregnant women and people with underlying health issues are being asked to be given preference in receiving the vaccine. Some reports are suggesting that one dose may not be enough, and two are being recommended by Europe’s drugs watchdog, the European Medicines Agency.