Expiration date for 40 million H1N1 doses passes

June 30 marked the expiration date of 40 million doses of H1N1 swine flu vaccine that had been manufactured for the U.S. public.

The 40 million doses - $260 million worth - of the vaccine will be incinerated. An additional 30 million more doses are expected to expire without being used, making  a total of 43 percent of the public’s total supply will have been destroyed with nothing to show for it.

Government experts, according to the Associated Press, cannot remember a time when anywhere near 40 million doses of a vaccine were sent to be incinerated. Recent years have seen a leftover amount of some 10 percent of total supply, but 25 percent is unprecedented.

“Although there were many doses of vaccine that went unused, it was much more appropriate to have been prepared for the worst case scenario than to have had too few doses," Bill Hall, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, told the Associated Press.

Many experts believed that most people would need to be given two doses of the vaccine to be effectively protected from H1N1, the AP reports, and five manufacturers were pressed to produce nearly 200 million doses in all. Approximately 162 million doses were meant for the general public and another 36 million for the military and for foreign countries.

Demand for the vaccine, however, did not meet expectations. Tests revealed that only one dose was needed for the majority of people and much of the vaccine did not appear until after the largest wave of the illness had passed on. H1N1 also proved to not be as dangerous as was initially thought.