H1N1 Vaccine Goes from Scarce to Plentiful

A health official administers an H1N1 flu shot in a school gymnasium. President Obama's declaration of a state of emergency due to the flu epidemic makes it easier for hospitals to set up special H1N1 clinics in schools, community centers and tents.
Sixty million people have been vaccinated so far against the H1N1 flu (also known as swine flu). And the Centers for Disease Control says that 136 million doses are still there for the taking. But while the current outbreak has peaked, Americans are being urged not be become complacent, as CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston reports.

Miguel Roa received his H1N1 vaccine today and did not have to wait in a long line to get it. It's a dramatic change from last fall, when supplies were extremely limited. Now a major drug store chain alone has 100,000 doses available in the New York area.

"There are ample supplies of H1N1 vaccine in most of the country," said the CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat. "The vaccine should be easily available pretty much anywhere you live."

After last year's crippling shortages, pharmaceutical companies stepped up production and distribution worldwide. Now some countries have a surplus.

France, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Spain have either cancelled orders or, are trying to sell vaccine to other countries.

In the U.S., however, the focus is on getting people to get both H1N1and seasonal flu vaccines since the seasonal flu has yet to begin

"The H1N1 virus is still circulating and it is still causing disease, hospitalizations and deaths," Schuchat said. "Many people are still susceptible to this virus and would benefit vaccination."

After two outbreaks in the U.S. since spring, H1N1 cases are down, with only one state - Alabama - now reporting widespread activity.

From April to November, the CDC estimates there were 10,000 deaths from H1N1 flu; 1,000 were children.

But 10,000 deaths is well below a normal flu season and significantly less than the 90,000 a government panel projected in August. Still, vigilance is the message from public health experts.

"Flu is fickle and so we've had a lot of influenza in the fall which is very, very unusual," said Dr. William Schaffner of the Vanderbilt University medical center. "Now we're braced to see if the seasonal flu viruses will take off; and they usually peak in February or into March, so there's still plenty of time for influenza."