Manufacturing delays in the H1N1 vaccine process have been frustrating America’s attempts to stay healthy. In an interview with NPR’s Scott Simon, Obama’s senior adviser admitted that White House estimates of available vaccines were based on bad information from the manufacturer.
Broadcasting this weekend on National Public Radio, Scott Simon reminded David Axelrod of promises made by the White House in August. “The Centers for Disease Control said that 120 million doses would be available. They later scaled that back to 45 million. We’re speaking today, on the last day of October, 25 million doses reportedly are ready. Did the government overpromise?”
Axelrod responded, “Well, I think the manufacturers overpromised, and what was reported was the representations that were made to us. The fact is that this is a problem that’s abating every day.” Flu experts disagree that the problem is “abating every day,” as this year’s influenza season has hardly begun.
In the United States, the flu season is generally considered between October and May with the peak of the season falling between late December and March. 114 children have been killed by the virus in the United States during a time when there is usually virtually no influenza, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On Friday, President Obama expressed his own frustration with the lack of available vaccines. The original production estimate of 20 million doses per week has been pared down to 10 million.
GlaxoSmithKline, one of the five vaccine manufacturers, reported to Canadian health ministers that production of a special vaccine for pregnant women is slowing them down.
Kathleen Sebelius, Obama’s secretary of Human Health Services, appeared on CNN this morning to discuss the H1N1 vaccine shortage. “Unfortunately, they[the five manufacturers] were overly optimistic and we gave those numbers to the American public.” Holmes asked Sebelius, “How much does this hurt the health of the country by being behind on these numbers?” Sebelius responded, “Well, we have a vaccine that works.”
The NPR radio broadcast with Scott Simon and David Axelrod can be heard here.
This video is from Saturday’s broadcast of CNN Newsroom with T.J. Holmes.