Why is H1N1 production so slow?

The Wall Street Journal has a revealing article concerning why the production of H1N1 vaccines has moved at such a slow pace.  The reasons include:

  1. Foregoing additives. The green movement doesn’t like additives in anything, but removing additives–called adjuvants–from vaccines has a cost.  “An adjuvanted H1N1 vaccine being used in Europe contains 3.75 micrograms of vaccine stock. The same vaccine in the U.S., without the adjuvant, requires 15 micrograms of vaccine for equal potency. If we used adjuvants, we could have had four times the number of shots with the same raw material.”
  2. Require H1N1 be a single shot. “The government demanded single-dose syringes because they contain smaller amounts of thimerosal than multi-dose vials. This mercury-containing vaccine preservative continues to stir concern it can trigger childhood autism, even though this has been firmly disproven.”
  3. Using chicken eggs to grow vaccines.  As this site has mentioned before, growing vaccines in eggs is a slow process.  In Europe, “shots can be made much faster using mammalian cells to grow vaccine.”  Also, if you are allergic to eggs, you cannot get the H1N1 vaccine.
  4. FDA-mandated wait period.  “FDA requires vaccines to sit for weeks after they come off the manufacturing line to make sure they haven’t grown bacterial impurities. This is why most of the H1N1 vaccine supply is released in waves and won’t be ready until later this winter.”

1 Comment

  1. It’s really great to know why the production of H1N1 vaccine was slow. Yes, President Obama declared the outbreak a national emergency and enabled the suspension of federal rules in order to speed the distribution of vaccine. Yet less than half the projected vaccine has been actually shipped but the supply is far below the government’s estimate of 40 million ready vaccines by November.

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