Thursday, October 21

CNN and the Flu

It was The Day From Hell.
Hubby and I arose at 5:30 a.m. and headed for the Johnson County Health Office to get our flu shots. We stood in line until 11:00 a.m., when we were told that there was no more vaccine. The last shot was given to someone three people ahead of us in line. I found that quite irritating since several people had found "friends" to talk to in front of us and had received their shots when they should have been in line behind us.

We went home, had a sandwich and a short nap, then returned to the fray.

At 2 p.m. we arrived at St. Pius X Elementary School and sat in the car for an hour until people began to line up for shots that were to be given at 5 p.m. From 3 until 4 we stood in line (watching people come to visit with friends in front of us again!). The Red Cross gave out numbers (mine was 25) and let us into the building where we sat (thank goodness) in a classroom until they began giving shots. It was 7 pm before we got out of there -- and treated ourselves to dinner out.

When we left the building after our shots, the line was horrendous -- there must have been 500 people there.

I wonder how many were there simply because they had heard they couldn't get them. More than one person in line confessed that s/he hadn't bothered to get a shot last year, noting that they hadn't gotten the flu, either.

My own contention is that the shot isn't all that necessary unless you have a medical condition. I've skipped the shots more than I've gotten them (and probably built up some immunization since I have had the flu during those years), although I did get one last year. My husband, on the other hand, has suffered from asthma and bronchial infections for years and it's crucial that he get one -- thus the extreme determination to get his.

I had decided while we stood in the morning line that I would let the lady behind me have my shot, thinking that she obviously needed it more than I. We learned, however, that there will be plenty of vaccine for everyone in time so I went ahead and got mine the second go-around.

This morning CNN reports "Just 10 years ago, five manufacturers produced flu vaccine shots for Americans. That number has dropped to two.

Lester Crawford, acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, testified before Congress two years ago that he feared the flu vaccine supply network would dwindle to a single company."

What CNN doesn't report in that article is WHY four companies no longer make the flu vaccine. They're afraid if they admitted that fear of litigation drove those companies to stop producing the vaccine, they would add credibility to the Republican demand for torte reform.

After all, who expects CNN to air a balanced report? Most of us know better.

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