WASHINGTON—Connecticut will get 100,000 more H1N1 flu vaccine doses in the coming days, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., announced Friday. Lieberman made the announcement after speaking with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, whose department is coordinating the medical response to H1N1. The Secretary also told Lieberman that she has dispatched investigators to a vaccine manufacturing plant in England to determine why production has fallen so far behind expectations.
“I share the frustration of people in Connecticut and across the country who have been unable to get an H1N1 vaccine for themselves or their children, even though they are at high risk for contracting the disease,” Lieberman said. “Secretary Sebelius has assured me that over 100,000 vaccines are being shipped to Connecticut and will be available at local health providers within days.”
Lieberman has been actively monitoring the government’s response to the H1N1 virus since it first emerged last spring. The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has held three hearings on the subject – one in Connecticut on September 21 – to hear from the cabinet secretaries responsible for preparing the national response to the H1N1 epidemic and the parents and business representatives at the receiving end of that response.
In addition to the hearings, Lieberman sent a letter to Secretary Sebelius on October 27, questioning the Department’s optimistic estimates for vaccine production and has kept in contact with her and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, whose Department is coordinating the overall federal response to the flu.
According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, vaccination centers in Connecticut have received 178,000 doses of the H1N1 vaccine as of October 28. The state had been promised 500,000 doses by the end of October. Vaccines are currently being distributed to pregnant women, children 2-18-years-old and healthcare workers by local health providers.