GERMANY/Conservative politicians and commentators got up in arms this week after the Pentagon said it would send doses of hard-to-get H1N1 swine flu vaccine to terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay.

The White House denied it on Tuesday, emphatically, but also carefully — saying there is no vaccine at the U.S. military prison, or going there … now.

“There is no vaccine in Guantanamo and there’s no vaccine on the way to Guantanamo,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said when queried about the burgeoning controversy.

“I don’t know what the Pentagon said.  I know in asking yesterday whether or not there was any vaccine there or whether there was any vaccine that was on its way, the answer to both those questions was no,” he said.

The H1N1 swine flu virus has killed at least 1,000 Americans and infected an estimated 5 million.
Many U.S. states and cities say they have received about one-tenth as much H1N1 vaccine as they had expected to get by now. Given the shortage, the vaccine is being saved for high-risk groups, such as very young children and people with underlying health conditions. In many areas even they have been turned away as clinics have run short of the flu jab.