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Cary attributed part of the backlog to its simultaneous production of 75.5 million doses of the swine flu vaccine. Also, this year's seasonal flu shot includes a strain that develops more slowly in laboratories, she said.
"We understand it does create an inconvenience for some people who wanted to hold their seasonal influenza campaigns earlier," Cary said. "We apologize for that, but we're doing every thing we can."
Novartis, based in Basel, Switzerland, halted its production of the seasonal flu vaccine in July to meet demand for the swine flu version, said company spokesman Eric Althoff. It didn't end up with as much virus stock as expected, so customers will receive a little less than ordered, he said.
University of Minnesota student Eli Cizewski-Robinson tried to get a flu shot last month, but got discouraged by the long lines and left. In the meantime, the school's health service ran out of vaccine.
"I haven't been able to get one yet," he said Thursday.
Though several Kansas clinics have reported delays in getting seasonal flu vaccines, Kansas Health Director Jason Eberhart-Phillips said he doesn't consider it a major issue, because there has been no outbreak yet of that version of the virus.
"There's just a rush right now on the distribution system," Eberhart-Phillips said. "It's a little bit like airlines overbooking their flights. If everybody shows up for their flight, somebody's going to get delayed."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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