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Flu shot supply grows, demand withers
Billings Gazette ^ | December 13, 2004 | WILLIAM C. MANN

Posted on 12/13/2004 1:11:10 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife

SEATTLE - Rod Watson had to cancel 1,000 flu-shot clinics in four states when the national vaccine shortage cut off his supply two months ago.

Now Watson has flu shots aplenty - and he can't give them away.

"My biggest fear is I'm gong to end up with a lot of serum, and there's a national shortage," said Watson, president of Prevention MD, a medical screening and immunization company. He offers $20 flu shots Monday through Friday at his Seattle-area office.

Public health officials in California, Colorado and other states have voiced similar fears. Some are relaxing the rules to offer shots to more people.

In October and November people stood in line for hours to get one of the precious few flu shots. But now that more vaccine is available - with a few million more doses expected from British and German suppliers - demand is dwindling.

"It's one of those things like Beanie Babies or something," said Doug McBride, spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services. "If you can't get something, you've got more people wanting them."

Supply exceeds demand in some areas, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledges. In other areas, people are still desperate for the vaccine. The best way to find a flu shot is to call your local health department, the CDC advises.

The CDC says 98 million people need the vaccine this winter. About 65 million doses will be available in the United States, including a nasal vaccine that's safe only for healthy people.

Public health officials say they hope demand is dwindling because they've reached the people who need flu vaccine the most: babies, the aged and the infirm. But they acknowledge that other factors - from frustration and apathy to simple human nature - might be at work too.

When something is scarce, people naturally want it more. Being told they can't get a desired immunization is an unfamiliar and unwelcome sensation for most Americans.

"Anytime a commodity is scarce, and it is a desired item, demand will increase," Dr. Louis Manza, psychology professor at Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania, said in an e-mail.

Some people probably gave up after trying unsuccessfully to get a flu shot, said Mary Selecky, director of the Washington State Health Department and member of a national advisory group on flu vaccine distribution. Recent reports on this flu season's mild start may have convinced others that getting a flu shot wasn't worth the trouble - an impression Selecky is trying to erase.

"It's a mild flu season up to now, but next week could be another story," Selecky said. "As a society we're driven by what's in front of us ... We're having to work a little bit harder so people know that getting a flu vaccine in December and January is still very effective."

David Marks was surprised at how easy it was to get vaccinated at a Seattle grocery store last week. The line in the express checkout lane was longer than the line to get flu shots.

"I just assumed it was going to be hard," said Marks, 44, whose severe asthma puts him in the high-risk group. "I think people have given up."

High-risk groups, as defined by the CDC, are people age 65 and older, adults and children with chronic diseases, babies 6 months to 23 months, pregnant women, nursing home residents, and people who live with children under 6 months of age.

Some state officials are expanding eligibility to younger people, those just over 50. The CDC is encouraging state officials to set their own guidelines based on local needs.

"They know what's best for their community," CDC spokesman Llelwyn Grant said. The federal agency is also working with state and local officials to redirect vaccine to areas where it's most needed for high-risk patients.

Health officials are worried about elderly and infirm people who don't live in nursing homes and who lack the resources to track down a flu shot.

"There are still some real desperate people out there," said Watson, of the Seattle medical company. "We just don't know how to find them."

It's still too soon to tell whether more people will get sick and die this year because of the vaccine shortage. Most years, the peak flu month is actually February, according to the CDC. Public health officials say the silver lining may be that the shortage focused more attention on simple, common-sense ways to stop the spread of the virus - washing your hands, staying home from school or work when you're sick, and avoiding touching your nose, eyes and mouth.

"At the turn of the 20th century, public health was all about teaching people not to spread disease," Selecky said. "Now at the turn of the 21st century, here we are again."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 2004electionbias; bushsfault; dnctalkingpoints; flu; flushots; fluvaccine; health; howtostealanelection; immunizations; kerrycampaign; mediabias; scaringoldpeople
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1 posted on 12/13/2004 1:11:11 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Now Watson has flu shots aplenty - and he can't give them away

It's because the election is over and the media isn't scaring the hell out of Seniors anymore

2 posted on 12/13/2004 1:14:38 AM PST by Mo1 (Should be called Oil for Fraud and not Oil for Food)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Why the hell would I want to get a flu shot that is 100% gauranteed to get me sick? I'll take my chances... :P


3 posted on 12/13/2004 1:17:21 AM PST by Echo Talon
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To: Mo1

BINGO

The media echos the DNC talking points. Zogbyism continues.


4 posted on 12/13/2004 1:18:10 AM PST by weegee (WE FOUGHT ZOGBYISM November 2, 2004 - 60 Million Voters versus 60 Minutes - BUSH WINS!!!)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife; Mo1
I always thought the rationale for getting a flu vaccine-if you're a relatively young, healthy individual-was built on a flimsy premise, at best.

Of course, I'm writing this while I'm also hacking up phlegm and rubbing my fatigued bones, so maybe I don't have the best perspective on this matter.

5 posted on 12/13/2004 1:18:45 AM PST by Do not dub me shapka broham (Why did it take me so long to come up with a new tag-line, huh?! What's up with that?)
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To: Echo Talon
Precisely!
6 posted on 12/13/2004 1:19:07 AM PST by Do not dub me shapka broham (Why did it take me so long to come up with a new tag-line, huh?! What's up with that?)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

The sky is rising!


7 posted on 12/13/2004 1:21:16 AM PST by thoughtomator (Nobody expects the secular inquisition!)
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To: thoughtomator

LOL


8 posted on 12/13/2004 1:21:54 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
"At the turn of the 20th century, public health was all about teaching people not to spread disease," Selecky said. "Now at the turn of the 21st century, here we are again."

Seems that those subject to some diseases delight in filth.

9 posted on 12/13/2004 1:23:17 AM PST by weegee (WE FOUGHT ZOGBYISM November 2, 2004 - 60 Million Voters versus 60 Minutes - BUSH WINS!!!)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
...staying home from school or work when you're sick...

Here's some of the reasoning:

Got to go in. Too valuable to the company. Must take out the whole department instead.

Also have to conserve those sick days, may need to skip work for a "blue flu" strike.

10 posted on 12/13/2004 1:25:23 AM PST by weegee (WE FOUGHT ZOGBYISM November 2, 2004 - 60 Million Voters versus 60 Minutes - BUSH WINS!!!)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Little late for this house. Wife and I have just got over it (flu) and its a 12 on the one to ten scale.

Not only does it give you the runs and pukes, but it comes with the massive headache and every friggan joint in the body hurts. I advice is when you all get it to have a bucket handy as you'll be a'sittin and chuckin at the same time. And we both puked till we started chucking up that yellow bile or whatever it is. Dry heaves are a bugger.

I never remember being this sick before


11 posted on 12/13/2004 1:26:44 AM PST by crz
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To: weegee
You calling me an indolent, slovenly bastard, or something?(!)

I'm indignant!

(Moves cob web out of view. Brushes back third layer of dust collected on lamp shade.)

12 posted on 12/13/2004 1:28:28 AM PST by Do not dub me shapka broham (Why did it take me so long to come up with a new tag-line, huh?! What's up with that?)
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To: Do not dub me shapka broham
To keep from getting the flu ... I try to avoid people as much as possible

But it's always those dang family gatherings where I always end up catching something

13 posted on 12/13/2004 1:33:23 AM PST by Mo1 (Should be called Oil for Fraud and not Oil for Food)
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To: crz

Glad you're on the upside of the upchuck.


14 posted on 12/13/2004 1:34:52 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

The fellow with asthma, although in a high risk group, shouldnt worry.
I am a cronic asthmatic and would most likely be a lost memory in days gone by if it were not for modern asthma therapy, but I find when taken ill like this past weekend I dont get asthma attacks-or my chest clears completely up. This morn was the first I took my meds since Friday.

But all folks are different.


15 posted on 12/13/2004 1:36:51 AM PST by crz
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Oh God, you dont want this one..I'm telling ya.

The only thing that made me feel better was lying in a hot soaking tube.


16 posted on 12/13/2004 1:38:04 AM PST by crz
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To: crz

TUB


17 posted on 12/13/2004 1:38:26 AM PST by crz
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To: Mo1
Thankfully, my immediate family includes some of the most antisocial people imaginable, so I usually don't run into that problem.
18 posted on 12/13/2004 1:39:17 AM PST by Do not dub me shapka broham (Why did it take me so long to come up with a new tag-line, huh?! What's up with that?)
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To: Do not dub me shapka broham

Actually my comments were directed at a politically protected special interest group who delight in unclean sexual practices and then blame presidents for their illness.


19 posted on 12/13/2004 1:49:58 AM PST by weegee (WE FOUGHT ZOGBYISM November 2, 2004 - 60 Million Voters versus 60 Minutes - BUSH WINS!!!)
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To: Mo1
Just don't shake hands...


20 posted on 12/13/2004 1:57:45 AM PST by weegee (WE FOUGHT ZOGBYISM November 2, 2004 - 60 Million Voters versus 60 Minutes - BUSH WINS!!!)
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To: weegee
I really need to start reading people's comments before I start replying to them.

Ahh, one of these days...

21 posted on 12/13/2004 2:01:06 AM PST by Do not dub me shapka broham (Why did it take me so long to come up with a new tag-line, huh?! What's up with that?)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife; All

Flu Vaccine Crisis- Government Cure, or Government Problem?
various FR links | 10-17-04 | The Heavy Equipment Guy
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1247729/posts


22 posted on 12/13/2004 2:38:21 AM PST by backhoe (Just an old Keyboard Cowboy, ridin' the Trackball into the Dawn of Information...)
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To: backhoe

Thanks backhoe!

Bump!


23 posted on 12/13/2004 3:43:12 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
( lest it slip my poor old mind later! )
My best to you and those dear to you for the Holidays.
24 posted on 12/13/2004 4:02:24 AM PST by backhoe (Just an old Keyboard Cowboy, ridin' the Trackball into the Dawn of Information...)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I just got over the flu out here...nasty nasty stuff.....


25 posted on 12/13/2004 5:12:37 AM PST by MikefromOhio (27 days until I can leave Iraq for good....)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

The media was only interested in hyping the shortage to hurt Pres. Bush during the campaign. Of course, the Pavlovian geezers bitched and moaned on cue that they were all going to die (idle threats) if they didn't get their shots. My prediction: fewer vaccines will equal less flu will equal fewer flu deaths this year.


26 posted on 12/13/2004 5:16:05 AM PST by kittymyrib
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To: Do not dub me shapka broham
Thankfully, my immediate family includes some of the most antisocial people imaginable, so I usually don't run into that problem.

Wonder if we're related?

27 posted on 12/13/2004 5:23:11 AM PST by muggs (Political Correctness and Pandering For Votes Is Going to Get Americans Killed!)
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To: thoughtomator
The sky is rising!

Oh no! You mean we're all not going to die?!

28 posted on 12/13/2004 5:23:43 AM PST by Samwise (This day does not belong to one man but to all. --Aragorn)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

just like oil prices...the pre-election crisis withers....my, my my.....


29 posted on 12/13/2004 5:53:17 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: crz

You're fortunate! I have mild asthma that is illness-induced...a simple upper respiratory infection has had me sounding like a TB patient for nearly 3 weeks now. I finally got antibiotics on Friday and am almost entirely better, thank God. My lungs totally go to hell any time I get sick. I go from carrying a rescue inhaler that I don't need to use, to being on 6X daily nebulizer treatments and oral steroids.

I'm prone to developing asymptomatic "walking" pneumonia from such simple upper respiratory bugs and the one time I had the flu I wound up with serious double-lung pneumonia. I've been informed that if I were to catch influenza again I'd be probably need to be hospitalized. Yet when this flu shot shortage was happening I had to wait for the elderly folks to get their shots...I got mine finally in mid-November and hopefully it'll do its job again this year. I don't get the rationale of a perfectly healthy and fit 60 year old having precedence over me, but at least I got the shot in the end.


30 posted on 12/13/2004 7:14:35 AM PST by Rubber_Duckie_27
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To: Echo Talon
Sigh* You are so mistaken. The flu shots that are made now do *not* make you sick. They are no longer made from a live virus. A slight sore spot where you received the injection is all there is. I would much rather take one for $20. than have the flu and take the chance that it goes into pneumonia, which it sometimes does. I had one last week so I know what I am taking about.
31 posted on 12/13/2004 7:48:05 AM PST by Ditter
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To: Rubber_Duckie_27

You got your shot in the end? Gosh, they gave me mine in my arm.

Sorry I couldn't help it. tee hee


32 posted on 12/13/2004 7:59:24 AM PST by Ditter
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To: Ditter

How come everytime I got a Flu shot in the past 8-10 days later I got the Flu? The years I refused the Flu shot I never got sick...


33 posted on 12/13/2004 10:43:33 AM PST by Echo Talon
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To: Echo Talon
How long ago (in years) did you get the flu after taking your flu shot?

#1 Back when they used a live virus and you got the flu it happened right away not 8-10 days later more lke 24 to 36 hours later.

#2 It takes 2 weeks before you are protected by your shot so you had been infected before your got your shot or before you had antibodies to protect you.

#3 Another thought is there are more flu viruses out there than can be included in the shot. They only protect you from the one or two strains of flu that are most prevalent. You can still catch one or more of the less likely ones.

I also refused flu shots back when they contained live virus but having the flu every year for about 8 years that my kids brought home from school, I relented and haven't had the flu since I started taking the shot.

For those of you who have never had the flu, it is NOT a really bad cold. It is an entirely different animal.
34 posted on 12/13/2004 11:36:25 AM PST by Ditter
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To: Mo1
"It's because the election is over and the media isn't scaring the hell out of Seniors anymore."

That's exactly it. That whole "crisis" was a media-generated flap intended to influence the election. In previous years, the press has generally been skeptical about flu shots, warning of the dangers, etc. But this year, just before the election, the temporary absence of flu shots was treated as a national crisis and a scandal, sending thousands of people looking for shots who'd never had them before.
35 posted on 12/13/2004 12:46:37 PM PST by Steve_Seattle
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To: Rubber_Duckie_27

Like I said. It effects people in different ways.

BTW. This one came back at me today. I left to go to work and stopped to get a can of soda and it hit me while I was talking to the clerk. I left and headed back home and sat on the pot for 3 hours. Never did revert back to wretching though, thank God for that.


36 posted on 12/13/2004 4:44:07 PM PST by crz
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To: Ditter
I know the FLU is puking, diarrhea at the same time with swollen glands wheezing snot flying and all that...
37 posted on 12/13/2004 10:00:41 PM PST by Echo Talon
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To: Echo Talon

No thats not it, not even close. Vomiting and diarrhea is lower intestinal tract, a stomach virus. The flu is influenza upper respiratory tract, congested chest, body aches, fever and then coughing coughing coughing that last for weeks.


38 posted on 12/14/2004 5:58:50 AM PST by Ditter
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To: Ditter

I get that along with the rest...


39 posted on 12/14/2004 6:03:01 AM PST by Echo Talon
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To: Echo Talon

You poor thing, 2 viruses at once.


40 posted on 12/14/2004 6:13:28 AM PST by Ditter
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To: Ditter

Well, it seems to start in the head... move to the lungs then stomach/intestines...


41 posted on 12/14/2004 6:14:59 AM PST by Echo Talon
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To: Echo Talon

Exactly! How the heck did we ever get along before without FLU SHOTS?! I'll take my chances too!


42 posted on 12/14/2004 6:35:37 AM PST by NotJustAnotherPrettyFace (Michael <a href = "http://www.michaelmoore.com/" title="Miserable Failure">"Miserable Failure"</a>)
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To: NotJustAnotherPrettyFace
I don't trust all these "medicines" they try to keep pumping into us... Heck I'm not exactly happy about all the chlorine and fluoride in the drinking water either...
43 posted on 12/14/2004 6:38:53 AM PST by Echo Talon
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To: Echo Talon
I am not a doctor I just have had a lot of personal experience with the flu. It starts with body aches, headache, tight chest moves on to chills and fever and you are down for the count. The phlegm comes on a little later and brings the cough. Often times it leaves you with a bacterial infection in your sinuses or bronchial or lungs. That lung infection is what kills people.

I remember an ad for some flu medication on TV. It started with a child's toy train running around a tract and it said "if this is a cold" then it showed a full sized locomotive roaring by " then this is the flu".
44 posted on 12/14/2004 6:43:13 AM PST by Ditter
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To: Ditter

I know I was hospitalized twice for Pnumonia after taking a Flu shot... as you can tell its been a long time since I have been sick... I havent had a flu shot in about 10 years


45 posted on 12/14/2004 6:48:04 AM PST by Echo Talon
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To: Mo1

" But it's always those dang family gatherings where I always end up catching something"

I have found the herb Echinacea helps me tremendously. It strengthens the immune system. I take two capsules a day for a week before holiday gatherings. Quit soon after for a week or so, then 2 weeks on again. Can't take it all the time.

I have even begun taking it after onset and it helps.


46 posted on 12/14/2004 6:49:58 AM PST by IamConservative (People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest.)
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To: Echo Talon

Whatever works for you my freeper friend. ;9)


47 posted on 12/14/2004 6:52:01 AM PST by Ditter
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To: Mo1

" But it's always those dang family gatherings where I always end up catching something"

I have found the herb Echinacea helps me tremendously. It strengthens the immune system. I take two capsules a day for a week before holiday gatherings. Quit soon after for a week or so, then 2 weeks on again. Can't take it all the time.

I have even begun taking it after onset and it helps.


48 posted on 12/14/2004 6:55:58 AM PST by IamConservative (People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

But two months ago everyone was going to get the Flu because of President Bush. ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, The NY/LA Times, Washington Compost, and John Kerry told me so.


49 posted on 12/14/2004 7:00:26 AM PST by The South Texan (The Democrat Party and the leftist (ABCCBSNBCCNN NYLATIMES)media are a criminal enterprise!)
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To: Ditter
yep, I decided never to get another Flu shot after my second stay in the hospital, getting breathing treatments and I don't know what they call it but they have you lay on your stomach and they beat on your back for like 15 minutes to breakup the infection in the lungs(hurts like hell) after that torture I decided to take my chances and so far so good.
50 posted on 12/14/2004 7:05:40 AM PST by Echo Talon
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