JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri's Health Department reported Monday is has gotten only 28 percent of the swine flu vaccines the state has requested.
St. Louis and Jackson counties currently are receiving the bulk of vaccines that have been delivered to the state, said the department's spokesperson, Kit Wagar.
Wagar said the state ultimately expects to get 750,000 for the state.
According to Wagar, the department is receiving shipments daily and expediting them around the state as quickly as possible.
Additionally, Wagar said vaccines are distributed based on the population of those with the highest risk of contracting the virus -- pregnant women and young children.
Nationwide there has been a delay in producing the vaccine because of the time-consuming process in production.
Small holes are punched in normal chicken eggs that have been fertilized. The virus is inserted into the egg and grown inside. Once the virus has matured, it is taken out. "They purify it, blend it, then package it and send it out," Wagar said.
"They're accustomed to getting so many doses per egg and productivity has been much lower than usual. They're just not producing as quickly as they'd hoped," Wagar said.
The flu season started the first Sunday in October, he said. So far, only figures for the first two weeks are available and show 5,365 cases of flu statewide. Normally, he said, there are anywhere from 5 to 30 cases within the first two weeks.
"It's a drastically increased number this year. All of this past year, October to May, we had 11,300. We've had almost half that many in two weeks," Wager said.
Despite these increases, Wagar said he doesn't fear a shortage and said he hopes by early December vaccines will have been made available to everyone who wants one.