More than three million doses were to be made available in early October 2009, though most of those initial doses were of the FluMist nasal spray type, which is not recommended for pregnant women, people over 50 or those with breathing difficulties, heart disease or several other problems.
It is the first worldwide epidemic designated by the World Health Organization in 41 years.
As much of Mexico City shut down at the height of a panic, cases began to crop up in New York City, the southwestern United States and around the world.
But the epidemic is "moderate" in severity, according to Margaret Chan, the organization's director general, with the overwhelming majority of patients experiencing only mild symptoms and a full recovery, often in the absence of any medical treatment.
Dr Kroo points out that the aircraft could be separated by several nautical miles, and would not be in the intimate groupings favored by display teams like the Red Arrows.
Dr Kroo and his team modelled what would happen if three passenger jets departing from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas were to rendezvous over Utah, assume an inverted V-formation, occasionally swap places so all could have a turn in the most favourable positions, and proceed to London.
When applied to aircraft, the principles are not substantially different.
Peter Lissaman, an aeronautics expert who was formerly at Caltech and the University of Southern California, has suggested that a formation of 25 birds might enjoy a range increase of 71%.
But a group of researchers at Stanford University, led by Ilan Kroo, has suggested that airlines could take a more naturalistic approach to cutting jet-fuel use, and it would not require them to buy new aircraft.
There are reports that some military aircraft flew in formation when they were low on fuel during the second world war, but Dr Lissaman says they are unsubstantiated.
It remains to be seen how weather conditions affect the air flows that make formation flight more efficient.
It might also be hard for airlines to co-ordinate the departure times and destinations of passenger aircraft in a way that would allow them to gain from formation flight.
Whether the separation distances involved would satisfy air-traffic-control regulations is another matter, although a working group at the International Civil Aviation Organisation has included the possibility of formation flying in a blueprint for new operational guidelines.
Instead, the studies ended up giving their name to the "Hawthorne effect", the extremely influential idea that the very act of being experimented upon changed subjects' behavior.
It did not matter what was done in the experiment; so long as something was changed, productivity rose.
According to the accounts of the experiments, their hourly output rose when lighting was increased, but also when it was dimmed.
However, a comparison with data for weeks when there was no experimentation showed that output always went up on Monday.
It turns out that the peculiar way of conducting the experiments may have led to misleading interpretation of what happened.
Time was when biologists somewhat overworked the evidence that these creatures preserve the health of game by killing the physically weak, or that they prey only on "worthless" species.
We have no land ethic yet, but we have at least drawn nearer the point of admitting that birds should continue as a matter of intrinsic right, regardless of the presence or absence of economic advantage to us.
In Europe, where forestry is ecologically more advanced, the noncommercial tree species are recognized as members of native forest community, to be preserved as such, within reason.
Scientists jumped to the rescue with some distinctly shaky evidence to the effect that insects would eat us up if birds failed to control them.
When one of these noneconomic categories is threatened and, if we happen to love it, we invert excuses to give it economic importance.
Some species of trees have been "read out of the party" by economics-minded foresters because they grow too slowly, or have too low a sale value to pay as timber crops.
Yet these creatures are members of the biotic community and, if its stability depends on its integrity, they are entitled to continuance.
It tends to ignore, and thus eventually to eliminate, many elements in the land community that lack commercial value, but that are essential to its healthy functioning.
However, none of these requirements should deter large retailers (and even some large good producers and existing wholesalers) from trying their hand, for those that master the intricacies of wholesaling in Europe stand to reap considerable gains.
Moreover, average overall margins are higher in wholesale than in retail; wholesale demand from the food service sector is growing quickly as more Europeans eat out more often; and changes in the competitive dynamics of this fragmented industry are at last making it feasible for wholesalers to consolidate.
Overall, Europe's wholesale market for food and drink is growing at the same sluggish pace as the retail market, but the figures, when added together, mask two opposing trends.
Demand comes mainly from two sources: independent mom-and-pop grocery stores which, unlike large retail chains, are too small to buy straight from producers, and food service operators that cater to consumers when they don't eat at home.