President Obama declares swine flu a national emergency

EAST TEXAS (KTRE/AP) - Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says it appears the estimates from the swine flu vaccine manufacturers were a bit too optimistic. She tells the morning network news programs that there are some delays in getting the supplies where they're needed, but that there will be enough to go around eventually.

President Barack Obama has declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency.

The White House on Saturday said Obama signed a proclamation that would allow medical officials to bypass certain federal requirements.

Officials described the move as similar to a declaration ahead of a hurricane making landfall. Swine flu is more widespread now than it's ever been and has resulted in more than 1,000 U.S. deaths so far.

According to the state health web site, there has been one death in Angelina County and four people have been hospitalized with confirmed H1N1.  One person in Rusk County has died from H1N1 and two people have been hospitalized.  In Jasper County four people have been hospitalized with confirmed cases of H1N1, one person in Polk County, one person in Shelby County and one person in Trinity County

Meanwhile, federal health officials say more Americans than ever have gotten their flu shots early.  So far, 60 million people have bared their arms for the standard winter flu vaccine. Usually, most don't get the shot until later in the fall.

One reason for the greater numbers is more availability of the standard vaccine. Another reason is concerns about swine flu, the vaccine for which is in short supply because of production problems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 46 states now have widespread flu activity. The only states that don't are Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey and South Carolina.

Health authorities say almost 100 children have died from the flu, known as H1N1, and 46 states now have widespread flu activity. The White House said Obama signed the declaration on Friday evening.

(©2009 KTRE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.  Some material used for this article was contributed by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)