ATLANTA, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- There are 136 million doses of H1N1 vaccine available for ordering by the states, U.S. health officials said Thursday.
"The H1N1 virus is still circulating and it is still causing disease, hospitalizations and deaths. Many people are still susceptible to this virus and would benefit from vaccination," Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters in a briefing in Atlanta Thursday. "We want to avoid complacency."
There was a slight uptick in the last week's reporting in the influenza-like illnesses to the doctors or emergency departments, Schuchat said.
"That can sometimes happen right around Christmas, so we don't know if that will persist," Schuchat said.
Experts disagree about the probability of additional amount of illness and particularly severe illness occurring later this winter.
"In 1957, they essentially gave the all clear whistle in December/January. They had vaccines, but they didn't encourage its use and yet they did go on to see that increase in mortality," Schuchat said.
"The vaccine is the best way for us to reduce the chances that we will have ongoing disease, hospitalizations and deaths. As long as this virus is circulating, it has the potential to cause illness."