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The Obama administration is weeks away from a critical decision on whether to trigger mass production of swine-flu vaccine, which could affect the bottom lines of big vaccine makers as well as public health.
Besides determining whether a vaccine would be effective and safe, government officials and private laboratories will need to answer practical and financial questions: Does it make sense to order hundreds of millions of doses and organize a mass vaccination campaign for a virus that, so far, isn't widespread and doesn't seem particularly lethal?