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Nationwide Shortage In Supply of Swine Flu Vaccine 579

Posted by timothy
from the and-such-small-portions dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that as the number of swine flu cases grows to levels unprecedented for this time of year, health officials predict a shortfall in the supply of swine flu vaccine. Forty-three children have died from swine flu since August 30 — about the same number that usually die in an entire flu season.' These are very sobering statistics,' says Dr. Anne Schuchat, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, 'and unfortunately they are likely to increase.' Projections of the supply of swine flu vaccine have widely varied. During the summer, health officials said 120 million doses would be ready in October but later dropped the estimate to 40 million doses. Now officials expect only 28 million to 30 million doses, adding that the exact number is impossible to predict and could change daily as vaccine manufacturers report that production was behind schedule. 'Vaccine production for influenza is pretty complex,' says Schuchat explaining the delay, 'and the complex process this year is taking a bit longer than we had hoped.' Schuchat warned parents with sick children to be alert for signs that medical attention is required including not eating well, difficulties breathing, and turning blue or gray. A particularly important sign is when children start to get better, then have a relapse, usually a sign that pneumonia is developing, and immediate treatment should be sought."
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Nationwide Shortage In Supply of Swine Flu Vaccine

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  • Do not want (Score:3, Interesting)

    by flghtmstr1 (1038678) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:19PM (#29810789)
    Based on what I've heard from people who actually had the swine flu, I'd rather have the disease than the vaccine.
    • Well I do find it interesting that all over the news there are many health care workers who don't care to get the shot.
      A tiny win for individual liberty. [mcknights.com]
      I haven't gotten the flu shot except for a few times now and again.
      Never got the flu, knock on wood.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ironicsky (569792)

        My girlfriend had swine flu earlier this year, she was fine. Just sick for a week then back to her normal self.
        My aunt is a nurse at one of the largest hospitals in Winnipeg and she said she has never gotten the flu shot and refuses too. After she's seen all the complications with them over the years she figures she's safer without. I agree with her. Our bodies are designed to fight infections, we need to let our immune system do what it does best, figure out problems for itself. One would think that const

        • Re:Do not want (Score:5, Insightful)

          by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:33PM (#29811027) Homepage Journal

          What would your aunt expect to see at the hospital? All the healthy people who had flu shots with no side effects? Nothing is 100% safe.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by WaywardGeek (1480513)

            My son seems to have gotten swine flu last weekend, and is recovering fine. He tested positive for type-A influenza, of which H1N1 is a sub-type, and had a mild fever of 102F. He's on Tamiflu now. The doctor thinks it is probably swine flu, even though symptoms are mild. Our local school seems to have a bunch of similar cases, with low-grade fevers. I think I also have it, but my symptoms are even milder.

            Is this really the swine flu? If so, it's not bad around here, near Raleigh, NC.

        • next time you get an ear infection... remember you said this.

          • by aztektum (170569)

            There's a difference in seeking help because of a legitimate issue that absolutely NEEDS attention and blindly going to the doctor "just in-case"

            • Re:Do not want (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Bakkster (1529253) <Bakkster.man@gWELTYmail.com minus author> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @02:33PM (#29812127)

              A nurse (or anyone else working in a health care institution) needs to be immunized, because they have constant contact with the segment of the population who is most at risk from the flu. If a nurse gives your newborn the flu because she didn't get the vaccine and your child dies, there would be hell to pay. Seems like a legitimate issue to me, if not for the nurse/doctor's health but for the health of those they care for.

        • Re:Do not want (Score:5, Insightful)

          by logjon (1411219) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:36PM (#29811093)

          ...we need to let our immune system do what it does best, figure out problems for itself. One would think that constant vaccine's, medications, antibiotics, etc just make the immune system lazy.

          Yeah, humanity got through Bubonic Plague just fine without a vaccine. And that Polio vaccine some wise guy came up with? Useless. Also, you seem to lack an understanding how vaccines work, as they stimulate the immune system into producing specific antibodies, which is essentially the opposite of making it lazy.

        • Re:Do not want (Score:4, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:37PM (#29811137)

          "One would think that constant vaccine's, medications, antibiotics, etc just make the immune system lazy."

          If you had any clue about how vaccines work you would realize how silly this statement is. A vaccine trains your immune system similar to a runner training for a marathon.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Sj0 (472011)

          I really don't know why you're being modded down.

          Vaccines for diseases with high mortality rates makes sense. Vaccines for the seasonal flu is fixing what ain't broke, which always introduces risk.

        • Re:Do not want (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Bakkster (1529253) <Bakkster.man@gWELTYmail.com minus author> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @02:28PM (#29812039)

          My aunt is a nurse at one of the largest hospitals in Winnipeg and she said she has never gotten the flu shot and refuses too. After she's seen all the complications with them over the years she figures she's safer without.

          So your aunt works in health care and refuses to protect herself from becoming a carrier of an easily preventable communicable disease? You mean because she doesn't think she will get sick means she doesn't feel like taking a simple step to ensure she doesn't transmit it to a very young or old patient who would become seriously ill and possibly die? What a bitch!

          Sure, the flu isn't highly fatal, but it's not something to ignore. People do die, sometimes unexpectedly, even though it is uncommon. If she doesn't want to take steps to protect other people's health, why the fuck is she a nurse?

        • Re:Do not want (Score:5, Insightful)

          by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @02:31PM (#29812107) Homepage Journal

          Your Aunt is wrong and she should learn to read studies, understand statistics, and realize she works in a place sick people tend to go to. i.e. sample bias.

          "we need to let our immune system do what it does best, figure out problems for itself."

          That is exactly what a vaccine does, just without all the nasty sickness and death.

          ". One would think that constant vaccine's, medications, antibiotics, etc just make the immune system lazy."
          One would be wrong. one could read studies. But no, one spouts off nonsense.

        • Re:Do not want (Score:4, Insightful)

          by macslut (724441) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @02:39PM (#29812215)
          I can't believe how many people aren't listening to established experts on this. Just a guess Kevin, but you're not a doctor are you? Have you gone to medical school? You've got an irresponsible aunt who somehow has been employed as a nurse and is acting very wrong in both not getting a flu shot and telling others as well. Forget about your aunt and her anecdotal stories that fly in the face of people with extensive research and real credibility in the fields that apply to the flu and vaccines. "One would think that constant vaccine's, medications, antibiotics, etc just make the immune system lazy." Why do you even have an opinion on this if you don't even know the very fundamental basics of what a vaccine is or how it works? Read just one article that discusses how a vaccine works...just one...go to Wikipedia, or read one of those silly "How Vaccines Work" for dummies pamphlets at a pharmacy. You can read those in like 10 seconds, and while it may not save your life, it will at least stop you from writing things like you wrote.
        • Re:Do not want (Score:5, Insightful)

          by AndersOSU (873247) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @02:58PM (#29812527)

          *facepalm*
          All what complications with the flu shot? Feeling queasy for an afternoon? Mild irritation at the injection site? Ok - don't get it if you're allegic to eggs. You're more likely to die from the flu outright than come down with the only major complication, Guillain-Barré Syndrome.

          Vaccines are one of the single greatest success stories of modern medicine. Our body is designed to fight off polio and smallpox too, but wasn't quite up to the task before vaccines.

          If you or your aunt thinks getting vaccines is counter productive, you're morons.

        • Re:Do not want (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Firethorn (177587) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @03:19PM (#29812853) Homepage Journal

          1. Your girlfriend got lucky, at least a little. One of my coworkers wasn't so lucky. She died from H1N1, and it wasn't pretty. One could argue that it takes bad luck(and pre-existing conditions) to die from the flu, most cases aren't bad, but even if the death rate was .1%, that's still 100 dead out of 100k infections.
          2. Being in the hospital predisposes you to see the bad effects. Kinda like how if you work in a prison you'll see more criminals.
          3. Vaccines aren't a cure. If you view viruses like terrorists(who all share a family resemblence), a vaccine is like distributing a rap/identification sheet. Your immune system still has to respond to fight the infection, it just gets a leg up. Against a replicating 'enemy', said leg up can be the difference between life and death.

          You might have an arguement about the antibiotics, but that's a 'too late, open another front in the war' - the immune system has already been roused.

          If anything, antibacterial soap and sanitizing cleaning products would make a better target. But even then, how much is it our immune systems 'getting lazy' and how much is 'people with weak immune systems aren't dying early'?

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Not quite true. There are health care workers who don't wa't to be forced to get the shot. It does't ahve anything to do with the shot, per se.

        Personally I think they should be forced to get the shot, just like food workers are 'forced' to take precaution needed for their industry.

        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          "Personally I think they should be forced to get the shot, just like food workers are 'forced' to take precaution needed for their industry."

          I don't know of any regulations forcing food workers to have invasive procedures performed on them in order to work in their industry...?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by dmr001 (103373)
        Yes, knocking on wood will really help. When you or someone you love ends up catching H1N1 flu from a health care worker in a medical office or a hospital who "never gets the flu" you can spend some time comparing their individual rights to your right not to be placed at serious risk of injury and death in a health care facility.

        Not that I'm advocating all health care workers be compelled to get an H1N1 or any other vaccine. But for those who decline, I'm perfectly comfortable advocating that they not be

      • by SuperBanana (662181) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @02:04PM (#29811575)

        Well I do find it interesting that all over the news there are many health care workers who don't care to get the shot.

        You may find it interesting that there are pharmacists, doctors, and nurses who feel it is their right to decide whether a patient even has the option of a morning-after pill or abortion. Now how do you feel about whether someone who chose to work in the medical field is permitted to inject their own dogma into your medical treatment?

        Medical "professionals" and workers are expected to follow medical science, not superstition or personal beliefs and morals- and look out for the interests of their patient, not themselves or their own dogma. They knew that going in the door. Among other things, the first thing you are expected to do as an employee of a hospital is get all your vaccinations up to date.

    • Re:Do not want (Score:5, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:34PM (#29811059) Homepage Journal

      What? That's insane and selfish.

      A) Without the vaccine you can develop pretty serious health issues.

      B) You will then spread it to others. H1N1 is contagious 3 days before symptoms show up. So you will spread it to someone else, possible someone less healthy then you.

      C) the that are vaccinated the smaller the impact of the disease.

      Really, two pokes and 5 minutes is better the H1N1.

      • by brian0918 (638904)

        A) Without the vaccine you can develop pretty serious health issues.

        Severe health issues can happen - the question is, what are the chances of it happening?

        B) You will then spread it to others.

        Again, even if I had it, there is only a probability of it being spread to others. Has anyone figured this number out?

        What? That's insane and selfish.

        Putting your interests above others is not insane. We're not talking about a plague here, so please stop fearmongering.

        • by pe1rxq (141710)

          B) You will then spread it to others.

          Again, even if I had it, there is only a probability of it being spread to others. Has anyone figured this number out?

          Yes they have..... try searching for a few minutes, its not hard to get the numbers....
          Besides that, the fact that it is spreading over the world like crazy should give you a bit of a hint that it is indeed very easy to spread it to others.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by moro_666 (414422)

        What? That's insane and selfish.

        A) Without the vaccine you can develop pretty serious health issues.

        B) You will then spread it to others. H1N1 is contagious 3 days before symptoms show up. So you will spread it to someone else, possible someone less healthy then you.

        C) the that are vaccinated the smaller the impact of the disease.

        Really, two pokes and 5 minutes is better the H1N1.

        dude, wake up. really. the kill ratio of swine flu turned out to be no more serious than any regular flu. and the doctors aren't even sure that the current vaccine is effective against all the variations of the disease. blind trust into the word "vaccine" is misleading. especially if the illness isn't so severe.

        malaria kills 1000 times more people per year than swineflu. why aren't you vaccinated against that one ? (and no, there is no iron garden that would defend you from getting it anywhere in the world

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by gapagos (1264716)

          just so you know, there is no vaccine for malaria, lol... (I lived in Ivory Coast, West Africa)
          but the yellow fever might have been a good example.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by slimjim8094 (941042)

          Does everyone around here have shit-for-brains? Jesus

          Swine flu might not be so deadly, but it's a hell of a lot more virulent. If 1% die from each, but 70% get swine flu vs. 30% normal flu, what happens in absolute terms?

          Second, there should be absolutely no debate, and absolutely no compromise that anybody in health-care should be getting their vaccines. What's so hard about this? "Boo hoo, I don't want a vaccine because of x,y,z pointless and unsubstantiated reasons" does not stand up to "you being sick w

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by noundi (1044080)

      Based on what I've heard from people who actually had the swine flu, I'd rather have the disease than the vaccine.

      I hope I get the swine flu. [thebestpag...iverse.net]
       
      For those of you who don't understand the basic concept of immunology, please -- hands off the mod button.

      • That may be the dumbest thing I've ever seen on Slashdot ever. Seriously. Wow. Let's break it down line by line.

        You quote someone who has absolutely no clue. "I'd like the flu please! If I get an immunity to swine flu I want to suffer through the illness rather than get a shot. I want to work for it and maybe die! Or at the very least spread it around some so others can share in my joy."

        Then, you use Maddox as a reference.

        Finally, you wrap up by saying that you need to have a "basic concept of

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Overzeetop (214511)

        I hope you get the swine flu, too. In fact, I'm betting on the long shot that you happen to be one of those who will turn out to be particularly sensitive to it, and will remove yourself from the gene pool.

        Me? I'm getting the vaccine, provided it's available in my area before I actually get the flu. It may not be life threatening to me, but I'm self employed and a typical flu recovery cycle would cost me $8000.

        BTW - the linked site author clearly does not understand immunology, or he would realize that as a

  • by BobMcD (601576) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:26PM (#29810913)

    It makes a difference. All forms of influenza are devastating to an ill child. We must assume that some ill children have been exposed to H1N1 by now. So, which is the case:

    1) All 43 were ill

    2) None of th 43 were ill

    3) Some portion of the 43 were ill

    Also bear in mind that this is only about twice (possibly trending towards three times) as deadly as using school-buses:

    "Approximately 27 school aged children die in school bus accidents every year." http://www.onlinelawyersource.com/personal_injury/bus/statistics.html [onlinelawyersource.com]

    The 1918 pandemic was certainly something that we do not wish to see repeated. However, it was deadlier than this situation on the order of millions of times more.

    Please stop scaring people. Please?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Minwee (522556)

      Please stop scaring people. Please?

      Where's the profit in that?

      As an experiment, the New York Times once ran the headline "Everything Is Fine, Nothing To Worry About" on their front page. For some reason that day's sales were way lower than either the Daily News or the New York Post, whose front pages both predicted imminent doom.

      Go figure.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        As an experiment, the New York Times once ran the headline "Everything Is Fine, Nothing To Worry About" on their front page. For some reason that day's sales were way lower than either the Daily News or the New York Post, whose front pages both predicted imminent doom.

        [citation needed]

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:36PM (#29811119) Journal

      Look at the distribution of deaths. Most flu deaths occur during the winter, when people generally have weaker immune systems and spend more time crowded together indoors making transmission easier. Lots of people have been claiming that the mortality rate for swine flu is lower than for other seasonal flus, but they have been comparing swine flu statistics in the middle of the summer to other flu statistics from the winter. If you look at the weekly reports of flu deaths over the last few years from the CDC [cdc.gov], you will see no children dying in the summer, and up to around 12 dying a week in the middle of the winter, with around one a week over the milder parts of winter. Compare that with this year, and you see a spike of 3-8 per week in a period that has had zero for the previous three years.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by BobMcD (601576)

        Most flu deaths occur during the winter,

        Known to be true.

        when people generally have weaker immune systems and spend more time crowded together indoors making transmission easier.

        Never been tested, completely surmised, and vulnerable to selection bias.

        When I look at the numbers I see no children dying outside of the flu season. Summer not withstanding. Because of the outbreak, H1N1 got off to a weird season start. But Australasia's winter didn't kill any more or less than our summer. This seems to cast the 'cold = flu' thing in serious doubt, at least with H1N1.

        Of course, if you were reading Slashdot yesterday, you saw already how the science isn't being done to

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      Seriously you compare the number of deaths annually of one cause (OK there are 180 school days usually...) with the number of deaths in a 47 day period for another cause. And keep a straight face?

      • by BobMcD (601576)

        I sure can. Look at Australia's numbers about their own flu season. This H1N1 thing will absolutely not be year-round. Flu is seasonal. And the season started in June.

        Notice how I extrapolated the number up to three times to account for an unknown end to the H1N1 season.

        Can you overlook these considerations with a straight face, or are you still stuck on 'month year'?

        • by nedlohs (1335013)

          You said : "Also bear in mind that this is only about twice (possibly trending towards three times) as deadly as using school-buses:"

          And gave 27 as the number from school-buses.

          Flu season usually peaks in November and plateaus through April. That's 151 days (11/1 through 4/1), At 43 people 47 days that's 138 children, which is five times your school bus number.

          And that's assuming the second half of October sees no deaths, and that it has peaked early this year.

          Note: I'm not saying it is in the end of world.

    • by flynt (248848) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:50PM (#29811365)

      You just simply can't compare raw event numbers when estimating relative risk. Your statement about "twice as deadly" is very likely not true, and certainly not justified from the data you reference. You fail to take into account any sort of denominator when just using the raw events. What if only 27 kids rode school busses each year? What if 2 million did? What if only 43 kids were exposed to H1N1, and they all died? What if everyone was exposed to H1N1, and 43 died? You need to take into account the population, not just events. After all, every(?) child who died last year used toothpaste.

      • by BobMcD (601576)

        Don't be pedantic. I made a casual analysis, just as the original 43 was. I did it to draw a parallel between the two data points.

        Just because both values are unknown (exposures to flu and buses) does not mean they are impossible to compare.

        To even bring this up as some kind of a rebuttal leads me to believe that you are suggesting that more children encounter buses than swine flu. That's not supported by the data, due to the way urban environments deal with busing. In fact, I think the final analysis w

  • 1) Summer: This flu is the WORST flu we've seen in years. Better get a vaccine!

    2) October: We're running out of flu vaccine!

    3) November-January: Oops, soorry, it turns out the flu vaccine we were using? It didn't do much against the flu outbreak that happened

    4) ?

    5) Profit

    • by techess (1322623) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:40PM (#29811207)

      Instead of doing a flu shot a few years back I got a pneumonia vaccine. Usually it is the pneumonia that kills you when you get the flu. It doesn't protect you against all forms of pneumonia, but as an added side affect if I get hospitalized for some other reason my chance of getting a secondary pneumonia infection is reduced.

      The other bonus is you get one or two shots in your lifetime instead of having to get a shot every year. I guess I'm a bit more trusting of a vaccine that doesn't seem to revolve around a yearly profit cycle.

    • by samkass (174571) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:54PM (#29811431) Homepage Journal

      5) Profit

      [Citation Needed]. Do you have any quarterly/annual reports to back that up?

      The reason this country has gone from 20+ flu vaccine manufacturers a decade ago to 2 today is because it's so unprofitable. It's possible the companies will make a profit on it this year because of the virulence of H1N1, but claiming some sort of profit motive for annual fly vaccine is, from my understanding, wildly innaccurate.

      • by Tsunayoshi (789351) <tsunayoshi&gmail,com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @02:12PM (#29811743) Journal

        I think he was referring to the profit made from selling newspapers hyping the flu situation.

        i.e. scary headlines sells us more papers.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TheSync (5291)

        The reason this country has gone from 20+ flu vaccine manufacturers a decade ago to 2 today is because it's so unprofitable.

        Not sure about that: [chicagotribune.com]

        A half-dozen U.S. companies are producing seasonal flu vaccines this year, double the number from five years ago. In the late 1990s, the number of seasonal flu vaccine-makers dwindled to just two because excess capacity caused prices to fall to the $2-a-dose range. Today, seasonal flu dosages list for about $15 each at wholesale prices.

        PREPA [wikipedia.org] was passed in 2005 and

  • The NY Times reports that as the number of swine flu cases grows to levels unprecedented for this time of year

    As compared to............... say, the 1976 levels for this time of year? 1918?

    • The CDC only has weekly figures for the last three years online. For the same period in the last three years, there have been no children dying from flu. For the winter period over the last few years, we have seen slightly more dying from flu than we've just seen over the summer.
  • by trybywrench (584843) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:40PM (#29811221)
    My 7 months pregnant wife works as a school teacher and has multiple students out with H1N1. I have never worried before about anything like I worry these days. Jobs, economy, foreign policy, health, the future, they all take on new meaning when you have a family. To quote Blink, "I guess this is growing up".
  • Schuchat warned parents with sick children to be alert for signs that medical attention is required including [...] turning blue or gray

    Would any parent not recognize on their own that there's a problem when their kid is blue or gray? Please tell me people don't need to be told this...

  • Good. I don't want that vaccine, and won't take it - I would recommend that everyone research the vaccine and it's ingredients, because there is something that just in't kosher here.

  • by Gadget_Guy (627405) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @02:01PM (#29811529)

    The shortage of resources is reason we have a duty to keep deriding the vaccination program. We need to ensure that those people who think they know better than all the medically trained scientists do not get vaccinated. That way there will be enough of the Swine Flu vaccine for the worthwhile members of society.

    It would be unethical to prevent stupid people from being vaccinated, but there is nothing wrong with sowing the seeds of discontent so that they voluntarily abstain. And when the more deadly strain of H1N1 wipes out a third of the population....

    Well, nobody will care that much. It is the "B" Ark [bbc.co.uk] theory of trimming the fat of society. "Ah yes, the goat"

    PS. Thanks to all the other posters for the fine work they are doing towards our goal. It must be hard to keep a straight face while writing some of those messages!

  • Isn't this the first year? So by definition, any activity is unprecedented.

    I've been following the public health debate over this, and having known people with the swine flu, I have to say it is mostly hype. Mostly.

    The true efficacy of the vaccine is not known, because they will not do placebo-controlled trials. They cite "ethics" for this, however they can do placebo-controlled HIV vaccination tests. In the grand scheme of things, I think the ethics justify placebo-controlled Flu trials far more than HIV p

    • And now a few facts (Score:3, Informative)

      by overshoot (39700)

      I've been following the public health debate over this, and having known people with the swine flu, I have to say it is mostly hype. Mostly.

      Google Flu Trends. [google.org] The season is just starting. Have a look at how it matches to the last several years at their peaks.

      The true efficacy of the vaccine is not known, because they will not do placebo-controlled trials.

      It's an influenza vaccine. The only difference between it and any seasonal one is the virus it's made with; all the rest are the same process (g

  • Here, you can have mine. I don't want it. I'm not going to get it and neither are my wife or kids.
    We eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep and none of us has compromised immune systems. We've gotten the flu once or twice before and it wasn't a big deal. From all reports Swine Flu is no more virulent than any other flu variant.

    I'm also not afraid of liquids on airplanes. And my kids are allowed to walk in town without a leash. Even if white vans have been spotted in the area.
    I have a pocketknife, and so d

  • Symptoms (Score:4, Funny)

    by bar-agent (698856) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @02:13PM (#29811769)

    Schuchat warned parents with sick children to be alert for signs that medical attention is required including ... turning blue or gray.

    No shit. You mean that's not normal?

    Guess I'd better get the little ones to the hospital.

    And maybe stop nicknaming them "Grant" and "Lee."

  • by amoeba1911 (978485) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @02:23PM (#29811953) Homepage
    Nothing creates a shortage faster than the word "shortage".

    Johnny Carson was joking about a toilet paper shortage on NBC's Tonight Show, and Johnny's simple joke about shortage indeed created a very real toilet paper shortage that lasted three weeks. fact [baypaper.com]

    If a comedian can have that much impact, one can only imagine what would happen if a more reliable source like New York Times went around announcing there was a shortage.
  • by thesandtiger (819476) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @02:53PM (#29812437)

    I'm not getting a flu shot because I think I'm going to die from it...

    I'm getting a flu shot because I don't want to be sick as a dog from this thing and miss a week of work.

    The $30 I spend (via insurance) on a flu shot every year pays for itself in that I'm not freaking the fuck out about catching up on work, not having to spend time I'm not at work laying in bed feeling miserable, and not having to shell out $15 a box (and show my ID thanks to meth makers) for pills that'll make me feel slightly less miserable.

    I used to not get flu shots, and I got sick as a dog at least once a winter with whatever was going around. I now get flu shots and for the last 3 winters I haven't been sick with anything more than the sniffles, and I work in an office that seems to have plagues running through it at least once a quarter.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ucblockhead (63650)

      Another reason to get a flu shot: So you don't transmit it to someone else who then dies.

  • Risk Categories (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the Dragonweaver (460267) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @03:36PM (#29813063) Homepage

    Our health provider is "limiting" the vaccine to certain risk groups. These include pregnant ladies, children under a certain age, people with asthma or other chronic airway issues, and so forth. In other words, the specific groups they want to get vaccinated for flu every year.

    A few comments about this virus and why vaccination is important:

    H1N1 is a combination not seen for at least thirty+ years. Therefore, much of the population has never been exposed to the "surface codes" H1 or N1, which means they don't have partial immunity. This worries medical professionals, since that increases the virulence and the spread if this flu mutates into a deadlier form. (Generally, the flu shifts a few points. This is a major antigen shift.)

    Vaccines do not have a 100% success rate. Some people's immune systems don't respond, so while they've been vaccinated, they don't have immunity and are still at risk. However, if the percentage of immunes is high enough, the particular disease never has a chance to get to those who are vulnerable. This is why anti-vaccination efforts are anti-social: your un-vaccinated kid can give my infant or elderly grandmother whooping cough or measles. (There have been a number of immune-compromised people in my family, and my parents watched family members and friends die from diseases that are now vaccine-preventable.)

    Vaccines in general cover a larger number of diseases BUT have fewer "triggers" in them. For example, the original vaccine, smallpox, basically had to give you the whole disease to get your immune system going. Now we can separate out a few key proteins or antigens that are specific to the disease, rather than the hundreds that comprise it.

    The upshot is, if you are in a risk category, get vaccinated. If you're not, practice good hygiene and wash your hands a lot, eat well, and get plenty of rest. And de-stress! Stressed people get sick easier.

  • by westlake (615356) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @05:11PM (#29814643)

    The CDC's 2009 H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) [cdc.gov] site is handsomely designed and rich in resources for all ages and interests.

    The geek will find public health spreadsheet simulations for Windows and Excel here: H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu): Preparedness Tools for Professionals [cdc.gov]

    Interesting stuff, no specialist knowledge or skills required.

    Social networking and mobile resources, widgets, buttons and badages: Social Media - Novel H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu [cdc.gov]

     

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