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In Oklahoma, H1N1 vaccine left to spoil as demand wanes

Barely half of the swine flu vaccine has been used nationwide and less than half in Oklahoma. Much of the vaccine has expired, and more is scheduled to expire by next year.
BY SONYA COLBERG Modified: July 20, 2010 at 6:38 am •  Published: July 20, 2010
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About 40 million doses expired June 30. The remaining 32 million doses have varying expiration dates, with some as late as next year, Hall said.

The government set aside more than 1.3 million doses for Oklahoma, but less than half of that, 602,000, was actually used. Almost 208,000 doses have expired, according to the state Health Department.

Almost 213,000 doses are in doctors' offices and clinics across the state with varying dates of expiration, and another 299,000 doses are available for shipment to Oklahoma.

About 10,000 doses of Oklahoma's H1N1 vaccine won't expire until June 2011. Some of that will be used in an Oklahoma Health Department program in a few weeks for children under 9 who have not already received a flu shot, Blose said.

Dr. Gene Claflin, Oklahoma City-County Health Department medical director, said taking an H1N1 vaccination this summer will not cause a problem with also taking the seasonal flu vaccination in the fall.

"If anything, it would give the individual more immunity to the flu, because it would act as a booster to the initial vaccination," Claflin said.

Claflin said H1N1 still is circulating in the U.S. but at very low levels.

While there's a good chance that H1N1 will be the predominant flu strain this winter, it's never certain what the dominant strain will be until the flu season is under way, he said.