One Dose of Swine Flu Vaccine Not Enough
Entirely on the record, I have elected not to get one of these shots despite my mother the nurse's urging (shock, right?), nor will I take my 6 year old to get one. Oh wait, make that two.
Up to 30 million doses of vaccine against the pandemic H1N1 flu have been delivered to the U.S. government and production is now picking up, officials said on Monday.
But they said more studies confirm that children under the age of 9 will need two doses to be fully protected.
And studies in pregnant women, one of the groups most vulnerable to swine flu, show no indication of side effects from the vaccine.
The U.S. government is working to make vaccines and drugs available to fight the pandemic while countering fears about safety and criticisms that officials were too optimistic in predicting how quickly the vaccine would be ready.
Original predictions suggested that at least 80 million doses should have been delivered to state health departments, clinics and retailers by now and a few politicians have complained.
It's also a pretty big deal, as Business Insider reports:
If you think tensions over swine flu are exaggerated, think again.
We saw a violent altercation between two women this morning on the New York City subway because of H1N1.
The D train was traveling south from Rockefeller Center (50th Street) to Bryant Park (42nd Street) shortly after 8:00 am. One woman, perhaps 5'7", slightly overweight and with dyed reddish blond hair, was coughing without covering her mouth. Maybe it was swine flu, maybe not.
Another woman, roughly 5'2", stocky, with her blond hair in a slicked-back bun, was nearby, clearly displeased. She made a curt comment to the first woman, something to the effect of "you need to cover your mouth -- I don't want swine flu."
The second woman continued to yell at the cougher, berating her until she reacted, beginning to curse back. It escalated, and the accosting woman yelled "get the conductor!"
No one got the conductor -- it just seemed like a shouting match -- but as the train pulled into 42nd Street, the coughing woman spit on the other, provoking what sounded like a punch from the reaction of the crowd (we didn't directly see it). Then the cougher attempted to exit the train as the doors were open, but the second woman grabbed her by the back of the hair, violently yanking her down to the floor.
The Atlantic has an excellent Swine Flu write-up:
The U.S. first began stockpiling Tamiflu and Relenza back in 2005, in the wake of concern that an outbreak in Southeast Asia of bird flu, a far more deadly form of the disease, might go global. On November 1, 2005, President George W.Bush pronounced pandemic flu a “danger to our homeland,” and he asked Congress to approve legislation that included $1billion for the production and stockpiling of antivirals. This was after Congress had already approved $1.8billion to stockpile Tamiflu for the military, a decision that was made during the tenure of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. (Before joining the Bush Cabinet, Rumsfeld was chairman for four years of Gilead Sciences, the company that holds the patent on Tamiflu, and he held millions of dollars’ worth of stock in the company. According to Roll Call, an online newspaper covering events on Capitol Hill, Rumsfeld says he recused himself from all government decisions involving Tamiflu. Gilead’s stock price rose more than 50 percent in 2005, when the government’s plan was announced.)
As with vaccines, the scientific evidence for Tamiflu and Relenza is thin at best. In its general-information section, the CDC’s Web site tells readers that antiviral drugs can “make you feel better faster.” True, but not by much. On average, Tamiflu (which accounts for 85 to 90 percent of the flu antiviral-drug market) cuts the duration of flu symptoms by 24hours in otherwise healthy people. In exchange for a slightly shorter bout of illness, as many as one in five people taking Tamiflu will experience nausea and vomiting. About one in five children will have neuropsychiatric side effects, possibly including anxiety and suicidal behavior. In Japan, where Tamiflu is liberally prescribed, the drug may have been responsible for 50 deaths from cardiopulmonary arrest, from 2001 to 2007, according to Rokuro Hama, the chair of the Japan Institute of Pharmacovigilance.
Yes, a danger to our homeland.