WASHINGTON - As the swine flu outbreak strikes the U.S. early and hard, health officials note a worrisome number of child deaths and warn that supplies of vaccine will remain scarce for at least the next couple of weeks.
Delays in producing the vaccine mean 28 million to 30 million doses, at most, will be divided around the country by the end of the month, not the 40 million-plus states had been expecting. The new count from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention means anxiously awaited flu-shot clinics in some parts of the U.S. may have to be postponed.
It also delays efforts to blunt increasing infections. Overall, what CDC calls the 2009 H1N1 flu is causing widespread disease in 41 states, and about 6 percent of all doctor visits are for flu-like illness-levels not normally seen until much later in the fall.
Federal health officials said Friday 11 more children have died in the past week because of the virus.
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