Posted: Jan 18, 2010 2:59 PM by Tracie Potts, NBC
Updated: Jan 18, 2010 2:59 PM
We've done a 180 on swine flu since last fall.
Now there's plenty of vaccine, but not many takers.
Concern about the virus has dwindled, but medical experts say the next big wave could be coming in just a few weeks.
Flu season lasts till spring and typically peaks in February or March.
Despite long lines and shortages last fall, the CDC reports only one in five Americans have been vaccinated against swine flu.
"Now is the time to protect yourself and your loved ones," said Rep. Judy Chu of California.
And now there's plenty, over 136 million doses of vaccine.
Hospitals are emailing patients to come in and drug stores are advertising on TV.
Americans are being urged to get the shot while there's plenty to go around and no lines.
"Heck, we as taxpayers have paid for the vaccine. It's ours. We might as well take advantage of it!" said Dr. William Schaffner.
But with H1N1 now widespread in only four states, people don't appear to be as concerned.
Some states have so much vaccine, they've stopped ordering.
Hospitals may lift restrictions on children visiting patients.
"We've seen enough of a trend persist with low cases and low volume and few patients in the hospital that we can get to the point where we can lift that," said Dr. Thomas Tallman of the Cleveland Clinic.
But experts say it's too early to relax.
In the 1957 pandemic, death rates peaked in October and again in February.
"What we saw was huge rise in deaths and hospitalizations in February and march when flu season really hits," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
The CDC calls it an 'uncertain future' determining just how much worse swine flu may get.