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28 October 2009 @ 12:37 am
Swine Flu Paranoia  

Current Mood: amusedamused
jtdiiijtdiii on October 28th, 2009 11:13 am (UTC)
The high school in my parent's home town hit a 42% absenteeism rate before they closed it. Of course they did not close my mom's middle school...
(no subject) - colinblackthorn on October 28th, 2009 12:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Mark Gordon: seriousmtgordon on October 28th, 2009 03:19 pm (UTC)
FencerTfencert on October 28th, 2009 12:46 pm (UTC)
Ha ha ha ha ha!
EllieSamelliesam on October 28th, 2009 02:52 pm (UTC)
Ha ha!
Mark Gordon: seriousmtgordon on October 28th, 2009 03:39 pm (UTC)
A couple thoughts on H1N1:

- The scarcity of the vaccine is driving up demand. I took Isaac to see his pediatrician this morning (alas, no H1N1 vaccine to be had, so Isaac got the seasonal consolation prize), and their phones were ringing off the hook. I get the impression that there's barely enough vaccine for pediatricians and obstetricians, let alone children and pregnant women. Anyone who plans to rely on herd immunity had best stand in the middle of a large group of pediatricians.

- In New York, health care providers were being required to take the vaccine lest they lose their licenses. The state ultimately backed down, though the rationale they offered was that the vaccine was so scarce that it was unrealistic to expect everyone to get it. Any thoughts on that controversy?

- I'm pretty much resigned to the fact that I'm going to get it. They're talking about another three to four weeks before the pediatricians will have more doses available, and since I'm not in a high-risk group, and H1N1 is spreading so quickly, it seems unlikely that I'll have a chance to get vaccinated before I get infected.
eithni: PharmDeithni on October 28th, 2009 08:25 pm (UTC)
I've heard varying reports on projected availability, so sit tight and monitor the local situation - it may not be as dire as that.

I think that front-line healthcare workers should certainly get the vaccine. To no do so endangers themselves and their vulnerable patients. That said, revocation of licenses for noncompliance seems unnecessarily harsh. :/ I'm not thrilled with that either.

You have a great advantage - your age. If you do get it, statistically your response will be on the mild end of the spectrum. Keep away from the munchkin, take appropriate self-care measures, and invest in Purell.

Mark Gordon: seriousmtgordon on October 28th, 2009 09:50 pm (UTC)
"Three to four weeks" isn't an exaggeration; it's a verbatim quote from the pediatrician's office, and I heard it repeated over the phone several times when I was in the waiting room. Moreover, that's the soonest they're expecting to have anything. That's the optimistic reading.

The CDC had hoped to have 28 to 38 million doses available by the end of this week, and that's a scaled-down number. According to one source today, they have 8 million. If things are taking three or four times as long as projected, one might apply that fudge factor to the pediatrician's estimates and come up with a more realistic estimate: 9 to 16 weeks, i.e. late December to mid-February... before any more vaccine is available for the kids, let alone the parents. That's the pessimistic reading. It's gotten to the point that if Kathleen Sebelius predicts sunny weather, I'll make sure to grab my umbrella. I don't expect a dose to be available for me before March.

There's a domino effect. If vanishingly few people are vaccinated, and nearly everyone is getting infected, stockpiles of anti-viral drugs are going to be stretched very thin.

I have a real sense that for all the advances in medicine, we're no better off than we were in 1918. :-/

I've heard reports that the delays are due in large part to futile efforts to placate the anti-vaccine crowd: making more doses without thimerosal, not using adjuvants, etc. I don't think it's going to make a difference; some people have just decided that they Don't Trust Vaccines, and nothing will ever convince them. It frustrates me that the rest of us are going to get sick because of a paranoid, noisy minority.

The other thing that frustrates me is that federal decisions that have contributed to the vaccine shortage (i.e. caving to the fear-mongers in hopes of getting better herd immunity) are being used to argue against health care reform when other developed countries aren't facing such shortages.

Purell shares are probably already artificially inflated; I'd probably end up buying high and selling low. I'm just going to stockpile boxes of tissues.
eithni: PharmDeithni on November 2nd, 2009 05:36 am (UTC)
Take a deep breath.

For most people thus far, H1N1 is a relatively limited disease and transmission rates are low (about 18% of people with an infected household contact go on to develop the disease) so self-quarantine can be a reasonably effective strategy in limiting the spread of the disease. Unless someone has a condition that puts them at high risk, most physicians are not prescribing the antivirals, so I suspect the stockpiles will be sufficient.

There are some doses that are preservative free, but they don't necessarily take longer to produce, they are just more costly because they have to be individually packaged which increases packaging and shipping costs, but not shipping times too terribly much. As far as adjuvants, some are being trialed, but they take longer to test, Anti-Vaccine Nutballs or not.

As far as the Purell, I was meaning invest in the physical product, not the stock of the company. Tissues are probably a good buy too.

Take care and try not to violate recommendation #1: Don't freak out.
zandoriazandoria on October 28th, 2009 04:21 pm (UTC)
Those pictures are great! Here, in Winnipeg, there is no panic or real anxiety. The flu shot clinics are all up and running, the at risk populations are getting their shots first. At the rate they are going, it looks like the clinics might be open to the general population by the end of next. I'll get my shot then.
Mark Gordon: happymtgordon on October 28th, 2009 04:29 pm (UTC)
Road trip to Winnipeg! ;-)

Just kidding. I live closer to Quebec these days.
JinglyMushroomjinglymushroom on October 28th, 2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
Sad... Poor piglet!

(But I understand it's a joke. ^_^)
judithsewstoojudithsewstoo on October 28th, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC)
I'm with you.

Poor maligned Piglet. As if he didn't have enough troubles without this latest health obsession.

No, I'm not belittling the possible severity of H1N1, just trying for some perspective. (Could it be that I'm rather nonchalant about it because I'm not in the "high risk" category?)
cayswann: thinkingcayswann on October 28th, 2009 06:23 pm (UTC)
I like and appreciate the humor re: over-reaction, but then again it's slightly painful when someone suggests you can write it off as completely harmless since Duchess Kolfinna just died in under a month, having contracted H1N1 (with complications?) at the age of 28.
eithni: PharmDeithni on October 28th, 2009 08:17 pm (UTC)
It's certainly not harmless, but it's also far from being as bad as the media often portrays it. It should be taken seriously, certainly, but not freaked out over.

I had not known Kolfinna was that young, but it's not terribly surprising. The under-35 set is hit disproportionately hard since they have no immune memory of the 1977 outbreakOur own local scare involved a young, pregnant lady, but thankfully both she and baby are now doing well.
ego_id_non_feciego_id_non_feci on October 29th, 2009 11:17 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I needed that... and will post it on my desk to keep me sane. :)