The United States has made no decision on whether to cancel or sell any of its orders for the H1N1 vaccine, unlike some European countries with a vast oversupply of shots, a federal health official said on Thursday.
Dr. Anne Schuchat of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said demand remains steady and the government's focus is on getting as many people vaccinated as possible.
New infections of H1N1 influenza have fallen sharply in recent weeks, leaving some governments with an oversupply of vaccines ordered to protect against the virus that emerged last spring.
"Right now we are at a point where we have ample supply," Schuchat told a media briefing. "We're really encouraging people to get vaccinated.
"So we haven't made decisions here in the U.S. about giving back vaccines," she added.
Germany plans to cancel half the 50 million H1N1 vaccines it ordered from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) , a German health official said on Thursday. Germany was left with an oversupply of vaccine because doctors originally expected that two injections would be needed for immunity instead of one.
Earlier this week, France canceled over half the H1N1 flu vaccines it had ordered to head off criticism after reserving too many shots.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has come under fire for having miscalculated how much vaccine would initially become available and when.
The government has paid for 251 million doses of bulk vaccine from five makers — Glaxo, AstraZeneca, Sanofi-Aventis, Novartis and CSL Ltd.
The United States has 136 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine, up from 100 million last month and at least 50 million people have been vaccinated, said Schuchat, head of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
The CDC estimates that 47 million Americans have been infected with H1N1, nearly 10,000 have been killed by it and more than 200,000 hospitalized.
In a typical year, seasonal influenza kills 36,000 Americans and puts 200,000 into the hospital.
The swine flu pandemic peaked in October and has since ebbed, but influenza can hit several peaks in a single season. The virus is still circulating, Schuchat said.
The CDC plans to start a campaign next week to encourage everyone to get an H1N1 vaccine.
"Having as many people vaccinated as possible is our best course of action, even if we can't read the tea leaves of the future," Schuchat said.