The United States will not donate swine flu vaccine to poor countries until at-risk Americans have been inoculated against H1N1, an official said.
"As vaccine becomes more available, I think evaluation will be made as to when it's appropriate for donation to begin, but I can tell you at this point the priority is getting the vaccine to citizens in this country, and that's what we're working on 24/7," US Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said.
"It has always been the president's intention that the safety and security of the American people be a priority in the production and distribution" of the vaccine against the new strain of H1N1 flu, Sebelius said.
The White House pledged last month to make US stocks of H1N1 vaccine "available to the World Health Organization on a rolling basis as vaccine supplies become available, in order to assist countries that will not otherwise have direct access to the vaccine."
The WHO has said donations of the vaccine from a US-led group of rich nations to about 100 developing countries could begin as early as November.
But since the first doses of vaccine were rolled out in the United States three weeks ago, officials have been forced to admit that H1N1 shots and nasal spray doses were not being delivered as quickly or in the quantities initially projected.