What is that on the baby?

Some of you have asked what was all over the baby -- finger paint. Yes, finger paint.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Great Massachusetts H1N1 Debacle

So, I'm chagrined and angry. Not annoyed, or irritated, or even irked. I'm actually red-in-the-face embarrassed and pissed off. My state has decided to include prisoners in the high risk category for H1N1. Finding out exactly what this means is tough because the statehouse is saying one thing and the press has been saying another. However, if I were to be totally honest, I don't really care for what either source is saying. I want our babies and pregnant women vaccinated before the shots go out to prisons. End of conversation. 

Here is a copy of what I sent to the statehouse:

I believe that the press regarding prisoners getting the H1N1 vaccine before other people is generally inflated, and I don't want to sound like chicken little crying about a falling sky, but I have first hand knowledge that we are having a problem getting the vaccine to all of the high risk patients in the general public that are electing to vaccinate. I have a problem with vaccinating any inmates while babies and pregnant women wait for their shots.

While I understand the rationale behind offering the vaccine to prisoners because it is a closed system, I think this should take a back seat until all babies, children and pregnant women receive their doses. I don't want riots in the prisons, or infected ex-inmates infecting the general population. And I'm not a blood thirsty vigilante who wants prisoners to suffer. I just want pregnant women and children to get access to the vaccine first.

As of now, this is NOT the case. I have 2 children under 3 (one is a 9 month old baby), and I am being told that no one has the vaccine right now. When I called about the shot (pediatricians won't call patients because this vaccine is in such great demand that they never get enough for the people on their waiting lists, so you apparently have to get lucky and call on the right day) I was told that they ran out of it in a matter of hours. The women I work with, all highly educated school teachers and nurses, are also having no luck vaccinating their children. My sister in law, a pregnant pharmacist, can't find the vaccine for herself.

I'm glad that "tens of thousands of H1N1 vaccine doses" were sent "to hundreds of medical sites around the state," but it was clearly not enough to cover even the highest priority of the high risk groups. Shouldn't we address this problem before we start discussing who to give this elusive vaccine to next?


  1. That makes sense, but as my friend just pointed out: it's better to make "lab rats" out of the people who've messed up their lives, and not the more productive members of society.

    Where it's so new, and the long-term consequences are unknown, it would be best not to experiment on anyone else...

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  3. This is absolutely NOT true. The flu is actually any strain of a number of possible strains all related to the same central virus -- flu. The regular flu vaccine is a cocktail of the possible flu strains that may come in any given year. It's based on probability and complicated disease statistics.

    This H1N1 strain could have been and would have been part of the normal flu vaccine if it had been clearly identified before April. However, because it was too late to add to the regular cocktail, they develop what is essentially a booster to cover this one other flu strain.

    In other words, it works exactly like the normal, tried and true flu shot. No different. It is not made with any new preservatives or anything else shady. It is as safe as and essentially the same as the flu shot given every year.

    If your friend doesn't like or trust vaccines, that's another story. But there is NOTHING unusual or unique about this one to cause any special alarm.


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