States' Flu Readiness Comes Up 10M Doses Short

Stockpiles of antiviral medication are 10 million doses short
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2009 1:37 AM CDT
A shipment of Tamiflu vaccine is received and stored by the Ohio National Guard at an undisclosed location in Ohio this week.   (AP Photo/Ohio Department of Health)
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(Newser) – Dozens of states have failed to stockpile enough medication to treat a full-blown flu outbreak, the Washington Post reports. The federal Strategic National Stockpile program has vast amounts of antiviral medication stashed in secret locations around the country, but records show that state governments have 10 million fewer dosages than emergency plans require they provide.

The federal government has met its targets for antiviral stockpiles, and officials say deliveries of extra doses to states are going smoothly. Crisis plans updated last year requested federal agencies to have their own stockpiles, but records show the response has been uneven. The Defense Department has 8 million doses stockpiled, but the postal service—expected to play a vital role in delivering medications in the event of a pandemic—has none.