Image: A nurse prepares a dose of H1N1 vaccine
Mark Boster / Reuters

Dr. Nancy   |  October 27, 2009

Where’s the flu vaccine?

Oct. 27: Doctors and some lawmakers are sounding the alarm on delays the lack of information about swine flu vaccine supplies. Dr. Nancy Snyderman talks with a panel of experts.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> fears surrounding h1n1 flu. as the weather gets colder and the flu is spreading from state to state, a lot of people want to know, where is that vaccine and where, where, where is the information to help them find it. doctors and some lawmakers are sounding the alarm because of the lack of information. the main hub of swine flu information flu.gov sends users on a digital goose chase. that depends on which state you live in. the h1n1 flu vaccine is slow growing and frustrating. there is nothing the feds can do to speed that up.

>> as of today we'll have a total of 16.5 million doses pushed out but the vaccine is coming out the door as fast as it comes off the production lines.

>> joining me here in the studio is pennsylvania secretary of health. gentlemen, good to have you both with us. dr. bright y want to start with you. look, i know what people are saying to me on the street. where is the vaccine and how come it is so confusing and why can't i find any information that i can at least tell me patients?

>> it's been extremely frustrating for us, nancy. people are coming in at this time of year for regular flu shots, as well as for the colds and other things that occur commonly this time of year. very busy in an internist's office and everybody's asking me, where is the flu shot , when am i going to get it? to be honest with you, we almost make up dates. we try and contacted the city that provides us. we just don't know.

>> how do you get your information?

>> we get it from e-mails from the city of new york here and we also get it from the internet and none of it has been particularly accurate so far.

>> everett, what are you doing in pennsylvania that might make the situation better for your people?

>> well, we're trying to communicate with the provider community. when we know information about the vaccine supply, we're trying to get that information to the providers so that they can do planning around vaccine administration.

>> but, you know, i'm on the faculty of the university of pennsylvania and most of my information come straight from them. they have the advantage of being a medical center and a university. when i talked to people in private practice , they say, i don't know. i call harrisburg and i don't have a clue, i can't find out from the federal government . i think a lot of us understand that there is difficulty sometimes in making vaccine but what's hard to understand, are the faults in the communication pathways?

>> improvements in that. we have a dedicated website called h1n1 in pa that is updated realtime. you know, the reality is, we expected to have, by now, about 1.8 million doses of vaccine. today wea've received 1,886 doses of vaccine all pushed out to our certified providers. they know when the vaccine is coming and the shipping is working pretty well now with the cdc distributor. so, i think people have to be a little bit patient with this process and the state and the federal government , i think, are doing everything we can to get the vaccine to the provider community and that's the schools and the doctor's offices and the hospitals.

>> patients?

>> patients are frustrated at this point. patients do not know when the vaccine is coming and since most private post-care is done by private practitioners we're frustrated trying to tell them where to go. i had a patient getting chemothera chemotherapy. she was exposed, the whole thing. it took about 15 calls for us to find out where to get it.

>> that's where the frustration lies. if your doctor can't get information, it's hanging that doctor out to dry and then patients can goet angry. i get the science y get the technology, but, boy, in this country in this age, we have to communicate better and i think that's the part of it. we'll see more anger until we get more vaccine on the market. i appreciate it.

>> thank you.

>> and patients patience, metaphors.

>>> still to come on dr.