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Plenty of flu vaccine available

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- There is plenty of flu vaccine available, yet only about half of Americans at high risk have been vaccinated, a government health official said Friday.

At least 10 million doses remain in drug company stockpiles, said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, an influenza expert with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So far this year, flu activity has been limited to reports of cases in 25 states, he said.

But cases have not peaked. "It is beginning to creep up a little bit, but it is still relatively low," he said. "If people can continue to vaccinate, we still stand a really excellent chance of preventing hospitalizations and death from influenza."

Concerns earlier in the year about the possibility that patients would confuse flu symptoms with anthrax and swamp emergency rooms have not appeared.

"A lot of those concerns really have abated, especially as we haven't seen any new anthrax cases appearing," Fukuda said.

This year, almost 47 million doses have been distributed by the three companies making flu vaccine.

Makers are selling this year's batch of flu vaccine for $5 to $6 per dose, higher than in previous years. Remaining stocks are thrown out in the summer, when they expire.


• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Influenza Control

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