- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 27, 2009

600 million doses of vaccine planned

ATLANTA | A potential fall swine flu immunization campaign may involve an unprecedented 600 million doses of vaccine, but health officials are trying to figure out how to find enough workers to administer all those shots.

Officials are also looking at how to keep track of side effects if it’s given at the same time as the seasonal vaccine. That could make it difficult to figure out which vaccine was causing the side effects.

At a Friday meeting of a national vaccine advisory committee, officials said a swine flu campaign could far eclipse the roughly 115 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine and the 150 million doses of childhood vaccines distributed each year.

Although about 300 million people live in the U.S., health officials said children and some adults may need two doses of the vaccine.

Judge delays Stanford release on bond

HOUSTON | A federal judge has delayed releasing Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford on bond until he can review a decision that would allow the financier to be free until his trial on charges that he swindled investors out of $7 billion.

U.S. District Judge David Hittner granted a prosecution request Friday to delay a magistrate’s order a day earlier that granted Mr. Stanford a $500,000 bond. Mr. Stanford is being held in the meantime.

Judge Hittner ordered a hearing to be held on Monday to listen to arguments on whether Mr. Stanford’s bond should be revoked.

Top doctor admits to misusing workers

ALBANY, N.Y. | Former Surgeon General Antonia Novello pleaded guilty Friday to a felony in a deal with prosecutors to avoid prison time for forcing state employees to handle personal chores when she was New York’s health commissioner.

The plea deal calls for 250 hours of community service at an Albany health clinic, $22,500 in restitution and a $5,000 fine. Novello faced up to 12 years in prison if convicted on all charges. She was accused of costing taxpayers $48,000 by misusing the workers.

She pleaded guilty to filing a false document involving a worker’s duties.

Gay groups back federal lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO | Two gay-rights groups and the American Civil Liberties Union are backing a federal lawsuit seeking to restore gay marriage in California.

In legal documents filed late Thursday, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal and the ACLU signaled a significant break with past legal tactics that avoided taking the fight to federal court.

Some gay-rights activists have been concerned that a conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court could broadly rule against same-sex marriages.

The lesbian center, Lambda Legal and the ACLU now say they support the legal arguments of former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson and David Boies. The two prominent litigators filed the federal lawsuit in May alleging that California’s ban violates federal anti-discrimination protections.

Reports: Nestle refused FDA data

NEW YORK | Inspection reports from a Nestle USA cookie dough factory, released Friday, show the company refused several times in the past five years to provide Food and Drug Administration inspectors with complaint logs, pest-control records and other information.

The records, which date back to 2004, were made public after Nestle’s Toll House refrigerated, prepackaged cookie dough was discovered to be the likely culprit in an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 69 people in 29 states, according to the latest estimates from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC is investigating the outbreak along with the FDA.

Nestle voluntarily recalled all Toll House refrigerated cookie dough products made at the Danville, Va., factory late last week after the FDA informed the company it suspected consumers may have been exposed to E. coli bacteria after eating the dough raw.

According to the reports released by the FDA, the company refused to allow FDA investigators access to certain documents in at least 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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