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Nationwide Shortage In Supply of Swine Flu Vaccine

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the and-such-small-portions dept.

Biotech 579

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that as the number of swine flu cases grows to levels unprecedented for this time of year, health officials predict a shortfall in the supply of swine flu vaccine. Forty-three children have died from swine flu since August 30 — about the same number that usually die in an entire flu season.' These are very sobering statistics,' says Dr. Anne Schuchat, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, 'and unfortunately they are likely to increase.' Projections of the supply of swine flu vaccine have widely varied. During the summer, health officials said 120 million doses would be ready in October but later dropped the estimate to 40 million doses. Now officials expect only 28 million to 30 million doses, adding that the exact number is impossible to predict and could change daily as vaccine manufacturers report that production was behind schedule. 'Vaccine production for influenza is pretty complex,' says Schuchat explaining the delay, 'and the complex process this year is taking a bit longer than we had hoped.' Schuchat warned parents with sick children to be alert for signs that medical attention is required including not eating well, difficulties breathing, and turning blue or gray. A particularly important sign is when children start to get better, then have a relapse, usually a sign that pneumonia is developing, and immediate treatment should be sought."

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579 comments

Do not want (3, Interesting)

flghtmstr1 (1038678) | more than 4 years ago | (#29810789)

Based on what I've heard from people who actually had the swine flu, I'd rather have the disease than the vaccine.

Re:Do not want (1)

Icegryphon (715550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29810883)

Well I do find it interesting that all over the news there are many health care workers who don't care to get the shot.
A tiny win for individual liberty. [mcknights.com]
I haven't gotten the flu shot except for a few times now and again.
Never got the flu, knock on wood.

Re:Do not want (2, Insightful)

ironicsky (569792) | more than 4 years ago | (#29810963)

My girlfriend had swine flu earlier this year, she was fine. Just sick for a week then back to her normal self.
My aunt is a nurse at one of the largest hospitals in Winnipeg and she said she has never gotten the flu shot and refuses too. After she's seen all the complications with them over the years she figures she's safer without. I agree with her. Our bodies are designed to fight infections, we need to let our immune system do what it does best, figure out problems for itself. One would think that constant vaccine's, medications, antibiotics, etc just make the immune system lazy.

Re:Do not want (4, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811027)

What would your aunt expect to see at the hospital? All the healthy people who had flu shots with no side effects? Nothing is 100% safe.

Re:Do not want (2, Informative)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811139)

My son seems to have gotten swine flu last weekend, and is recovering fine. He tested positive for type-A influenza, of which H1N1 is a sub-type, and had a mild fever of 102F. He's on Tamiflu now. The doctor thinks it is probably swine flu, even though symptoms are mild. Our local school seems to have a bunch of similar cases, with low-grade fevers. I think I also have it, but my symptoms are even milder.

Is this really the swine flu? If so, it's not bad around here, near Raleigh, NC.

Re:Do not want (-1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811559)

Is this really the swine flu? If so, it's not bad around here, near Raleigh, NC.

The problem with mexican flu (that's the name btw.) is not that the disease in itself is particularly deadly. The problem is that it's a H1N1 virus.

H1N1 are the proteins found on the mantle of the virus. The problem is that no human can develop an immune response to either H1 or N1 (as that would be deadly). If a virus were to infect a cell, and the mexican flu would infect the same cell, there is some chance that the mantle of flu would be copied around the much more dangerous virus, which would beat any immunity or vaccine we currently have, would react differently to most treatments and be capable of spreading through open air (through coughing).

If such an event were to take place, that event has a good chance of making the 1917 flu pandemic look like a tiny issue. That disease literally blocked the world economy for over 2 months, making millions of victims.

The problem is not the flu in the H1N1 form. The problem is that pneumonia might "be infected" and transform into an H1N1 virus. The problem is, in essence, the evolution that it might cause in other viruses. Cases of gene transfer between viruses are well-studied, and the current consensus is that it's commonplace.

Re:Do not want (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811587)

Yes, every flu like symptom is now the H1N1. Good call sir, you have been brainwashed.

Re:Do not want (5, Insightful)

logjon (1411219) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811093)

...we need to let our immune system do what it does best, figure out problems for itself. One would think that constant vaccine's, medications, antibiotics, etc just make the immune system lazy.

Yeah, humanity got through Bubonic Plague just fine without a vaccine. And that Polio vaccine some wise guy came up with? Useless. Also, you seem to lack an understanding how vaccines work, as they stimulate the immune system into producing specific antibodies, which is essentially the opposite of making it lazy.

Re:Do not want (0, Troll)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811149)

Let's not go throwing a strawman situation around.
We're talking about a strain of influenza.

Re:Do not want (2, Insightful)

logjon (1411219) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811213)

Let's not go throwing a strawman situation around. We're talking about a strain of influenza.

No, I was talking about an ill-thought-out blanket statement.

Re:Do not want (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29811505)

We're talking about a strain of influenza.

Yeah, and that whole 1918 flu thing just proved people back then were wimps. The H1N1 isn't as nasty as that, but even the seasonal flu strains kill a fair number of people every year. H1N1 is killing some otherwise healthy people.

(CAPTCHA: asphyxia)

Re:Do not want (2, Insightful)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811571)

Ok, so where do you draw the line? None of bubonic plague, polio, smallpox, measles, etc kill in 100% of cases and have widely varying mortality / serious effects rate.

At what mortality point is a vaccine a a good idea? If swine flu has a 5% mortality rate, should it be vaccinated against? What about 5% mortality rate amongst certain demographics--should they be vaccinated? 1%?

Re:Do not want (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29811137)

"One would think that constant vaccine's, medications, antibiotics, etc just make the immune system lazy."

If you had any clue about how vaccines work you would realize how silly this statement is. A vaccine trains your immune system similar to a runner training for a marathon.

Re:Do not want (2, Interesting)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811517)

I really don't know why you're being modded down.

Vaccines for diseases with high mortality rates makes sense. Vaccines for the seasonal flu is fixing what ain't broke, which always introduces risk.

Re:Do not want (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811251)

Not quite true. There are health care workers who don't wa't to be forced to get the shot. It does't ahve anything to do with the shot, per se.

Personally I think they should be forced to get the shot, just like food workers are 'forced' to take precaution needed for their industry.

Re:Do not want (2, Insightful)

dmr001 (103373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811415)

Yes, knocking on wood will really help. When you or someone you love ends up catching H1N1 flu from a health care worker in a medical office or a hospital who "never gets the flu" you can spend some time comparing their individual rights to your right not to be placed at serious risk of injury and death in a health care facility.

Not that I'm advocating all health care workers be compelled to get an H1N1 or any other vaccine. But for those who decline, I'm perfectly comfortable advocating that they not be permitted to come into contact with unsuspecting patients.

science, not superstition (5, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811575)

Well I do find it interesting that all over the news there are many health care workers who don't care to get the shot.

You may find it interesting that there are pharmacists, doctors, and nurses who feel it is their right to decide whether a patient even has the option of a morning-after pill or abortion. Now how do you feel about whether someone who chose to work in the medical field is permitted to inject their own dogma into your medical treatment?

Medical "professionals" and workers are expected to follow medical science, not superstition or personal beliefs and morals- and look out for the interests of their patient, not themselves or their own dogma. They knew that going in the door. Among other things, the first thing you are expected to do as an employee of a hospital is get all your vaccinations up to date.

Re:Do not want (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811059)

What? That's insane and selfish.

A) Without the vaccine you can develop pretty serious health issues.

B) You will then spread it to others. H1N1 is contagious 3 days before symptoms show up. So you will spread it to someone else, possible someone less healthy then you.

C) the that are vaccinated the smaller the impact of the disease.

Really, two pokes and 5 minutes is better the H1N1.

Re:Do not want (0, Troll)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811123)

The loss of liberty is worse than any disease.

Re:Do not want (1)

SomeJoel (1061138) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811197)

The loss of liberty is worse than any disease.

Which liberty are you losing, exactly? It was my understanding that this vaccine is voluntary.

Re:Do not want (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811247)

You surrender some liberty when you agree to become part of society. I for example, have surrendered the freedom to shoot idiots who spout libertarian slogans in the face. For the most part, I agree that this is an acceptable trade. If you feel otherwise, then you are free to opt out of society and move to a country without a stable government. Enjoy having to defend yourself from roving militias.

Re:Do not want (2, Insightful)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811589)

So you're arguing for the right to get diseases and the right to transmit them to others? I don't think that's how rights work...

Re:Do not want (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811185)

Really, two pokes and 5 minutes is better the H1N1.

Great, so go get your shot. Alllllll better for you.

Re:Do not want (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811425)

A) Without the vaccine you can develop pretty serious health issues.

Severe health issues can happen - the question is, what are the chances of it happening?

B) You will then spread it to others.

Again, even if I had it, there is only a probability of it being spread to others. Has anyone figured this number out?

What? That's insane and selfish.

Putting your interests above others is not insane. We're not talking about a plague here, so please stop fearmongering.

Re:Do not want (1)

pe1rxq (141710) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811561)

B) You will then spread it to others.

Again, even if I had it, there is only a probability of it being spread to others. Has anyone figured this number out?

Yes they have..... try searching for a few minutes, its not hard to get the numbers....
Besides that, the fact that it is spreading over the world like crazy should give you a bit of a hint that it is indeed very easy to spread it to others.

Re:Do not want (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811489)

B) You will then spread it to others. H1N1 is contagious 3 days before symptoms show up.

So I risk exposing... lets see... carry the 1... a cat. If I keep the window open.

Re:Do not want (1, Informative)

moro_666 (414422) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811525)

What? That's insane and selfish.

A) Without the vaccine you can develop pretty serious health issues.

B) You will then spread it to others. H1N1 is contagious 3 days before symptoms show up. So you will spread it to someone else, possible someone less healthy then you.

C) the that are vaccinated the smaller the impact of the disease.

Really, two pokes and 5 minutes is better the H1N1.

dude, wake up. really. the kill ratio of swine flu turned out to be no more serious than any regular flu. and the doctors aren't even sure that the current vaccine is effective against all the variations of the disease. blind trust into the word "vaccine" is misleading. especially if the illness isn't so severe.

malaria kills 1000 times more people per year than swineflu. why aren't you vaccinated against that one ? (and no, there is no iron garden that would defend you from getting it anywhere in the world (except alaska and siberia in winter time), just the chances are really low).

Re:Do not want (1)

calzones (890942) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811151)

There's an awful lot of scarmongering been going on here on slashdot over the flu vaccines.

You should read http://antiantivax.flurf.net/ [flurf.net] for a good debate on the anti-vaccine stance.

I don't begrudge anyone questioning pharma's motives or considering them with a suspicious eye; they deserve it. That said, being anti-vaccine is going a little out of hand.

Re:Do not want (1, Funny)

noundi (1044080) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811219)

Based on what I've heard from people who actually had the swine flu, I'd rather have the disease than the vaccine.

I hope I get the swine flu. [thebestpag...iverse.net]
 
For those of you who don't understand the basic concept of immunology, please -- hands off the mod button.

Re:Do not want (1)

dmr001 (103373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811345)

That's because you don't know what you're talking about.

Most people recover from H1N1 flu fine. As in the summary, those who don't recover fine tend to get very sick, get stuck in the ICU, and a fair amount die [cdc.gov] .

On the other hand, the risks of the vaccine include (in a minority of patients) redness and pain at the vaccination site. The typical reaction is... nothing.

The whole point of national healthcare (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811401)

Based on what I've heard from people who actually had the swine flu, I'd rather have the disease than the vaccine.

The whole point of national healthcare is having choices like that forced on you by some washington bureaucrat. After all, without the power to force the cheaper option on you (vaccination versus treatment for a disease as infectious as this), controlling costs is simply a non-starter.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29811591)

What whackjob modded this as Flamebait?

False Statements (0, Flamebait)

acoustix (123925) | more than 4 years ago | (#29810809)

"Forty-three children have died from swine flu since August 30 — about the same number that usually die in an entire flu season."

That statement is blatantly false. Over 35,000 people die in the US from the flu every year. Hundreds, if not thousands, of children die from the flu every year.

Re:False Statements (5, Informative)

Geraden (15689) | more than 4 years ago | (#29810899)

I found that number to be way low, as well, given the number of deaths attributed to seasonal flu on a yearly basis. However:

From the CDC Website: ( http://www.cdc.gov/FLU/about/qa/0607season.htm#children [cdc.gov] )

During the 2003-04 Season, 153 flu-associated deaths in children were reported to CDC.
During the 2004-05 Season, 47 deaths in children were reported to CDC.
During the 2005-06 Season, 46 deaths in children were reported to CDC.
As of August 6, 2007, 68 deaths in children occurring during the 2006-07 season have been reported to CDC.

Misdirection (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811321)

The measurement isn't wrong, it's the thing being measured. The elderly do much worse from complications of flu (few really die of flu, it's pneumonia developed from flu) and the recent Canada study has shown that 32-year old healthy first-nations women are the most at-risk in the population, on average.

This story appears to be misdirection.

Re:False Statements (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811659)

But "flu" isn't one of the diseases with mandatory tests and reporting to CSC, so these numbers only reflect a small subset of deaths.
I.e. likely when the cause of death was not clear, an autopsy was performed, influenza determined to be the cause (as opposed to ebola or inhaling cynoacrylates), and the doctor voluntarily reporting this to the CSC.

You are wrong (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811003)

on average 92 children die every year. 42 children dying outside the normal 'flu season' is a big deal.

Re:False Statements (2, Interesting)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811015)

Your statement is blatantly false. As the most minor of checks would show you.

Children don't due from flu in the hundreds each year.

So show us your stats source, or did you just make it up because you are an uninformed idiot?

Re:False Statements (1)

srleffler (721400) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811091)

The numbers aren't as high as you think. There were 46 pediatric influenza deaths in the 2005–06 season, for example. The numbers since then have been higher: 78, 88, and 115 for the 06–07, 07–08, and 08–09 seasons, respectively. It's a bit of a stretch to say that 43 is about the same number as usually die, but it's not that big a stretch.

Re:False Statements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29811111)

Citation?

Re:False Statements (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811323)

"Forty-three children have died from swine flu since August 30 — about the same number that usually die in an entire flu season."

That statement is blatantly false. Over 35,000 people die in the US from the flu every year. Hundreds, if not thousands, of children die from the flu every year.

What did you expect, this article is in the NYT?

Re:False Statements (1)

Sir_Dill (218371) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811377)

I am more concerned with the opening sentence of the story
"The NY Times reports that as the number of swine flu cases grows to levels unprecedented for this time of year, health officials predict a shortfall in the supply of swine flu vaccine
this implies that they have swine flu stats for many years, enough to imply that the levels are outside of normal....

If I have to choose between balloon boy hoaxes or swine flu as the "look at the monkey" diversion story to keep us off the ACTA scent or health care.......I'll turn the TV off..

Apples and oranges (3, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811399)

Over 35,000 people die in the US from the flu every year. Hundreds, if not thousands, of children die from the flu every year.

The 35K/year number is excess deaths due to influenza, and is derived by fancy statistics from the time series of deaths in medical categories (i.e. gunshot wounds don't get figured in.) You can read more on how difficult this process is at Effect Measure [scienceblogs.com] .

The "number of children" statistic, on the other hand, is confirmed 2009 H1N1 novel influenza diagnoses on the death certificate. No inference required, they are kids with confirmed infections which led directly to their deaths.

Both statements are true, in context. Please be a little less generous with the F-word.

Influenza Vaccines are Ineffective at Best (0, Offtopic)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#29810819)

And quite likeley fraudulent and actually harmful.

Do NOT inject contaminated virus proteins into MY bloodstream, thanks you very much!

Re:Influenza Vaccines are Ineffective at Best (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29810859)

You sound like Alex Jones, want some tinfoil for your NWO conspiracy theories???

Oh no the black helicopters are out to get you!!!

Re:Influenza Vaccines are Ineffective at Best (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#29810979)

Yeah.

Alex Jones and The Atlantic Monthly , noted wingnut, anti-globalist conspiracy rag:
"Yet in the view of several vaccine skeptics, this claim is suspicious on its face. Influenza causes only a small minority of all deaths in the U.S., even among senior citizens, and even after adding in the deaths to which flu might have contributed indirectly. When researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases included all deaths from illnesses that flu aggravates, like lung disease or chronic heart failure, they found that flu accounts for, at most, 10 percent of winter deaths among the elderly. So how could flu vaccine possibly reduce total deaths by half? Tom Jefferson, a physician based in Rome and the head of the Vaccines Field at the Cochrane Collaboration, a highly respected international network of researchers who appraise medical evidence, says: "For a vaccine to reduce mortality by 50 percent and up to 90 percent in some studies means it has to prevent deaths not just from influenza, but also from falls, fires, heart disease, strokes, and car accidents. That's not a vaccine, that's a miracle." "
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/print/200911/brownlee-h1n1 [theatlantic.com]

I guess if you are not a pro-ball cheerleader, you have nothing to worry about:
Washington Redskins Cheerleader Desiree Jennings Permanently Disabled From Flu Vaccine
http://video.najoomi.com/videos/0VMRWLgF8V8/Washington-Redskins-Cheerleader-Desiree-Jennings-Permanently-Disabled-From-Flu-Vaccine.html [najoomi.com]

http://loudountimes.com/blogs/loudoun-lowdown/2009-10-13/loudoun-lowdown-nicholas-graham-flu-shot-desiree/ [loudountimes.com]

http://video.aol.co.uk/video-detail/cheerleader-with-dystonia-from-flu-shot-may-have-it-all-in-her-head/2264303090 [aol.co.uk]

http://video.aol.co.uk/video-detail/update-on-washington-redskins-cheerleader-crippled-for-life-after-being-vaccinated/1581295953 [aol.co.uk]

http://www.huliq.com/8059/87650/nfl-cheerleader-suffers-irreversible-dystonia-after-flu-shot [huliq.com]

Holy Strawman Argument, Batman! (1)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811493)

I don't think people are arguing that you should get vaccinated for the flu because it will protect you from the grim reaper. But good job debunking that one. Now we no longer have the false hope that the H1N1 vaccine was really a panacea for all disease and death.

5 links to the same story about one person who came down with a rare disorder 10 days after getting a flu shot. Say it with me: "coincidence is not causality".

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/64730177.html [philly.com]

http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/Non-food/Miscellaneous/virginia_player_wins_200_million_lottery_jackpot_101020090859.html [foodconsumer.org]

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/florida/story/1285214.html [miamiherald.com]

You don't want to get a flu shot, good for you. Neither do I!

But there's no empirical evidence that it's at all dangerous, and plenty that says it does just what the health officials and doctors suggest: protects against the flu. Every argument I've seen against the H1N1 flu shot (including yours) falls into the FUD category.

Re:Influenza Vaccines are Ineffective at Best (-1, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811209)

You are a pretty clueless mother fucker, aren't you?

You might want to take your head out of your ass and learn to read studies, and look at facts. Population with out a large vaccinated group are always hit worse then one with a large vaccinated group.

If you could find 2 brain cells bouncing around that cranium for a moment and mange to focus them on this issue for a few minutes, it would be come clear that vaccines do, in fact, work and are very safe.

Idiots like you are hurting people. Just so you know YOU not getting a vaccine risks other people, fucktwad.

Re:Influenza Vaccines are Ineffective at Best (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811355)

I am speaking to the specific class of influenza vaccines. Not critiquing tuberculosis, etc.

If you have such studies and data at hand, and are so familiar and confident in them, that you feel free to spit invective, rather than present your argument in a rational and concise manner - then please, do so.

Otherwise, you are just another ranting loonie, of the "I learned it in school, and saw it on the telly" variety.

Re:Influenza Vaccines are Ineffective at Best (1)

Icegryphon (715550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811651)

If you go get the vaccine then you will be safe.
What are you complaining about, just go get the vaccine and get your family vaccinated.
You need to be concerned about yourself and not what other people "do" or "don't do"
In short, "mind your own frakking business."

Re:Influenza Vaccines are Ineffective at Best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29811453)

Do NOT inject contaminated virus proteins into MY bloodstream, thanks you very much!

I AGREE!!! I want GENUINE, dangerous, infectious virus proteins injected into my bloodstream. What could possibly go wrong?

Dimwit. I'd call you a dickhead, but that doesn't seem insulting enough.

Which nation? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29810843)

Who was it the other week saying there wasn't an American lean to this site?

Re:Which nation? (2, Informative)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | more than 4 years ago | (#29810895)

Who was it the other week saying there wasn't an American lean to this site?

Uh, no one? This site's flagrantly American. Unless otherwise stated; measurements, dialects, traditions, and locales are understood to be U.S. American.

Re:Which nation? (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29810917)

Well, judging from the fact that it's the New York Times reporting and there's a big stars and stripes flag next to the summary, I'd guess it's the USA.

Re:Which nation? (1)

longhairedgnome (610579) | more than 4 years ago | (#29810925)

Troll, this topic has been beaten to death. If we were on slashdot.ru I think it would be safe to assume that it is a russian based site, whereas slashdot.com is based out of the United States of America, which is in North America. And we all know the USA is full of com ready to impregnate the rest of the world. We will have our disease in you.

43 healthy children? Or 43 total children? (4, Interesting)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29810913)

It makes a difference. All forms of influenza are devastating to an ill child. We must assume that some ill children have been exposed to H1N1 by now. So, which is the case:

1) All 43 were ill

2) None of th 43 were ill

3) Some portion of the 43 were ill

Also bear in mind that this is only about twice (possibly trending towards three times) as deadly as using school-buses:

"Approximately 27 school aged children die in school bus accidents every year." http://www.onlinelawyersource.com/personal_injury/bus/statistics.html [onlinelawyersource.com]

The 1918 pandemic was certainly something that we do not wish to see repeated. However, it was deadlier than this situation on the order of millions of times more.

Please stop scaring people. Please?

Re:43 healthy children? Or 43 total children? (2, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811017)

Please stop scaring people. Please?

Where's the profit in that?

As an experiment, the New York Times once ran the headline "Everything Is Fine, Nothing To Worry About" on their front page. For some reason that day's sales were way lower than either the Daily News or the New York Post, whose front pages both predicted imminent doom.

Go figure.

Re:43 healthy children? Or 43 total children? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29811159)

As an experiment, the New York Times once ran the headline "Everything Is Fine, Nothing To Worry About" on their front page. For some reason that day's sales were way lower than either the Daily News or the New York Post, whose front pages both predicted imminent doom.

[citation needed]

Re:43 healthy children? Or 43 total children? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29811067)

"Please stop scaring people. Please?"

We don't have anything better to do.
(where we would still look like we're working)

Re:43 healthy children? Or 43 total children? (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811119)

Look at the distribution of deaths. Most flu deaths occur during the winter, when people generally have weaker immune systems and spend more time crowded together indoors making transmission easier. Lots of people have been claiming that the mortality rate for swine flu is lower than for other seasonal flus, but they have been comparing swine flu statistics in the middle of the summer to other flu statistics from the winter. If you look at the weekly reports of flu deaths over the last few years from the CDC [cdc.gov] , you will see no children dying in the summer, and up to around 12 dying a week in the middle of the winter, with around one a week over the milder parts of winter. Compare that with this year, and you see a spike of 3-8 per week in a period that has had zero for the previous three years.

Re:43 healthy children? Or 43 total children? (2, Insightful)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811357)

Most flu deaths occur during the winter,

Known to be true.

when people generally have weaker immune systems and spend more time crowded together indoors making transmission easier.

Never been tested, completely surmised, and vulnerable to selection bias.

When I look at the numbers I see no children dying outside of the flu season. Summer not withstanding. Because of the outbreak, H1N1 got off to a weird season start. But Australasia's winter didn't kill any more or less than our summer. This seems to cast the 'cold = flu' thing in serious doubt, at least with H1N1.

Of course, if you were reading Slashdot yesterday, you saw already how the science isn't being done to find a link.

Re:43 healthy children? Or 43 total children? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811135)

Seriously you compare the number of deaths annually of one cause (OK there are 180 school days usually...) with the number of deaths in a 47 day period for another cause. And keep a straight face?

Re:43 healthy children? Or 43 total children? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811275)

I sure can. Look at Australia's numbers about their own flu season. This H1N1 thing will absolutely not be year-round. Flu is seasonal. And the season started in June.

Notice how I extrapolated the number up to three times to account for an unknown end to the H1N1 season.

Can you overlook these considerations with a straight face, or are you still stuck on 'month year'?

Re:43 healthy children? Or 43 total children? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811583)

You said : "Also bear in mind that this is only about twice (possibly trending towards three times) as deadly as using school-buses:"

And gave 27 as the number from school-buses.

Flu season usually peaks in November and plateaus through April. That's 151 days (11/1 through 4/1), At 43 people 47 days that's 138 children, which is five times your school bus number.

And that's assuming the second half of October sees no deaths, and that it has peaked early this year.

Note: I'm not saying it is in the end of world. I haven't been vaccinated and I'm not planning to (though I've never had a flu shot so that's not unexpected). But it is shaping up to be more that 2-3 times the number of children dieing that school buses give us.

Re:43 healthy children? Or 43 total children? (3, Insightful)

flynt (248848) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811365)

You just simply can't compare raw event numbers when estimating relative risk. Your statement about "twice as deadly" is very likely not true, and certainly not justified from the data you reference. You fail to take into account any sort of denominator when just using the raw events. What if only 27 kids rode school busses each year? What if 2 million did? What if only 43 kids were exposed to H1N1, and they all died? What if everyone was exposed to H1N1, and 43 died? You need to take into account the population, not just events. After all, every(?) child who died last year used toothpaste.

Re:43 healthy children? Or 43 total children? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811531)

Don't be pedantic. I made a casual analysis, just as the original 43 was. I did it to draw a parallel between the two data points.

Just because both values are unknown (exposures to flu and buses) does not mean they are impossible to compare.

To even bring this up as some kind of a rebuttal leads me to believe that you are suggesting that more children encounter buses than swine flu. That's not supported by the data, due to the way urban environments deal with busing. In fact, I think the final analysis will swing in favor of the H1N1 getting far greater exposure, which in turn would make it less deadly in comparison.

If this isn't accurate, I apologize, but people get so nit-picky around here, even when it doesn't serve to make their point...

Same News Cycle Every Year (2, Insightful)

Dripdry (1062282) | more than 4 years ago | (#29810931)

1) Summer: This flu is the WORST flu we've seen in years. Better get a vaccine!

2) October: We're running out of flu vaccine!

3) November-January: Oops, soorry, it turns out the flu vaccine we were using? It didn't do much against the flu outbreak that happened

4) ?

5) Profit

Re:Same News Cycle Every Year (5, Interesting)

techess (1322623) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811207)

Instead of doing a flu shot a few years back I got a pneumonia vaccine. Usually it is the pneumonia that kills you when you get the flu. It doesn't protect you against all forms of pneumonia, but as an added side affect if I get hospitalized for some other reason my chance of getting a secondary pneumonia infection is reduced.

The other bonus is you get one or two shots in your lifetime instead of having to get a shot every year. I guess I'm a bit more trusting of a vaccine that doesn't seem to revolve around a yearly profit cycle.

Re:Same News Cycle Every Year (4, Informative)

samkass (174571) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811431)

5) Profit

[Citation Needed]. Do you have any quarterly/annual reports to back that up?

The reason this country has gone from 20+ flu vaccine manufacturers a decade ago to 2 today is because it's so unprofitable. It's possible the companies will make a profit on it this year because of the virulence of H1N1, but claiming some sort of profit motive for annual fly vaccine is, from my understanding, wildly innaccurate.

this time of year? (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 4 years ago | (#29810947)

The NY Times reports that as the number of swine flu cases grows to levels unprecedented for this time of year

As compared to............... say, the 1976 levels for this time of year? 1918?

Re:this time of year? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811161)

The CDC only has weekly figures for the last three years online. For the same period in the last three years, there have been no children dying from flu. For the winter period over the last few years, we have seen slightly more dying from flu than we've just seen over the summer.

Obviously it's time for... (1, Insightful)

croftj (2359) | more than 4 years ago | (#29810997)

PANIC and Irrational fear!!! Run for your lives!

Re:Obviously it's time for... (1)

SloppySevenths (1592383) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811145)

PANIC and Irrational fear!!! Run for your lives!

or ... PANIC and Irrational fear!!! Support your senator's vote for health care reform!

Re:Obviously it's time for... (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811455)

or ... PANIC and Irrational fear!!! Support your senator's vote for health care reform!

So that the people trying to incite panic and irrational fear so they can give you flu vaccines can simply entirely tell you what health care you can and cannot have. Yeah. Sounds like a great idea.

I'm not sure if this is the point you were making or not. :)

Gotta love that Capitalism! (0)

hemp (36945) | more than 4 years ago | (#29810999)

If the government was responsible, there would probably be shortages and lines.

Re:Gotta love that Capitalism! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29811155)

Government is responsible. Vaccine production in the US is heavily regulated, and new technologies in production that are allowed elsewhere aren't allowed here, limiting the capacity below what a more liberal regulatory policy would likely yield.

Die Die Die (0, Offtopic)

tekrat (242117) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811097)

I hate to be callous, but seriously, the only way for there to be "real" health-care reform in this country is for a 9-11 style incident to happen in the "health-care universe".

If many thousands of people were to die of swine flu, their deaths might cause the kind of outcry that this country needs to actually change the system. Right now everyone is listening to Faux News and heeding the "socialized healthcare == death panels" mantra.

But the system we're got right now is killing lots of children. Won't someone think of the children?

It's only after ENOUGH people die that we as a nation get off our collective butts and do something. However, this time I fear, we were fed too many divergent signals, and now we're running about in circles while people die needlessly.

So fine then, let them die. I actually hope many die. I hope it's a pandemic that wipes out a decent percentage of the populace, because it's going to take a lot of death before we have decent healthcare in the USA.

I'm tired of being told we're number one when we're really very close to being a third world nation. We need a wake up call, because we've been asleep at the wheel for over 20 years.

Unfortuantely, we'll more likely just scrape by this year, and the slow destruction of the nation will continue on it's merry way, with all the talking heads on TV arguing with one another instead of getting anything meaningful done. And they'll keep doing "just enough" to keep us in our chains.

Re:Die Die Die (1, Insightful)

mschuyler (197441) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811281)

Do you seriously believe that if we had socialized medicine that hundreds of millions of vaccine doses would suddenly appear and 'save' everyone? The conclusion does not follow. Government is not the solution; government is the problem. Get rid of the FDA and take a billion dollars out of the cost of every new medicine produced.

So you want people to die, die, die, so you can get socialized medicine. That's sick.

Re:Die Die Die (1)

tekrat (242117) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811463)

"So you want people to die, die, die, so you can get socialized medicine. That's sick."

You mean, like PNAC wanted people to die, die, die so that they could advance their conservative agenda?

I would assume you're not a student of history.
The great motivator for most national advances is when people die, die die.

Your solution is worse than mine.
Get rid of the FDA, and we'd probably have millions dead each year due to tainted food and drugs.
We'd be eating Chinese-made cardboard food laced with lead and anti-freeze.

pregnant wife + fear (3, Insightful)

trybywrench (584843) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811221)

My 7 months pregnant wife works as a school teacher and has multiple students out with H1N1. I have never worried before about anything like I worry these days. Jobs, economy, foreign policy, health, the future, they all take on new meaning when you have a family. To quote Blink, "I guess this is growing up".

Re:pregnant wife + fear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29811535)

The fact that you just quoted Blink 182 should be your biggest worry.

Think of the children (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811305)

Schuchat warned parents with sick children to be alert for signs that medical attention is required including [...] turning blue or gray

Would any parent not recognize on their own that there's a problem when their kid is blue or gray? Please tell me people don't need to be told this...

Re:Think of the children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29811581)

Practically any parent in southern America, or any of those hillbilly redneck (read: Conservative nutjob) States.

Something is afoot (0)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811385)

So far, this is what I've heard about H1N1:

  • Last spring, when cases started turning up in Mexico, it was reported that H1N1 was striking young adults and bypassing the usual 'high risk' groups (children and old people).
  • Now, its killing kids (according to press releases).
  • The first batches of vaccine are being reserved for two groups, kids and health care workers. Because they are at higher risk for complications, or because they pose a higher risk of transmitting virus to others?
  • Where health care workers have traditionally partaken of the usual annual flue vaccines, they are not doing so at rates acceptable to the CDC for H1N1. A few hospitals have announced policies wherein workers who refuse the vaccine will be fired, or otherwise disciplined.
  • A few doctors are hesitant to get involved in the current vaccination program. One I heard on a radio talk show was expressing concerns about the unusual agreements he would have to sign to get involved with the distribution program. He's staying on the sidelines for now.
  • There was a suggestion that homeless people in my city (Seattle) be prioritized for the vaccine. Why? They don't make a particularly good vector for flue transmission to the general population. But, since they won't be missed, they make great guinea pigs.

I'm beginning to think there's something really wrong with this vaccine. And that the CDC is prioritizing stopping the spread of the virus above the health of the afflicted people.

Re:Something is afoot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29811469)

New World Order doing test runs of tagging people before 2012.

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29811397)

Given how much anti-vaccine rubbish has been in the news lately, I'd say the shortage is a good thing: it means people are getting vaccinated.

Good. (1)

moxley (895517) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811503)

Good. I don't want that vaccine, and won't take it - I would recommend that everyone research the vaccine and it's ingredients, because there is something that just in't kosher here.

Remember to keep the faith (3, Funny)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811529)

The shortage of resources is reason we have a duty to keep deriding the vaccination program. We need to ensure that those people who think they know better than all the medically trained scientists do not get vaccinated. That way there will be enough of the Swine Flu vaccine for the worthwhile members of society.

It would be unethical to prevent stupid people from being vaccinated, but there is nothing wrong with sowing the seeds of discontent so that they voluntarily abstain. And when the more deadly strain of H1N1 wipes out a third of the population....

Well, nobody will care that much. It is the "B" Ark [bbc.co.uk] theory of trimming the fat of society. "Ah yes, the goat"

PS. Thanks to all the other posters for the fine work they are doing towards our goal. It must be hard to keep a straight face while writing some of those messages!

Please tag: WHO CARES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29811549)

I'm tired of hearing about H1N1.
People die from the flu ALL THE TIME.
I wish everyone panicking about H1N1 would die right now, so I wouldn't hear them panicking anymore.

swine flu cases grows to levels unprecedented (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811563)

Isn't this the first year? So by definition, any activity is unprecedented.

I've been following the public health debate over this, and having known people with the swine flu, I have to say it is mostly hype. Mostly.

The true efficacy of the vaccine is not known, because they will not do placebo-controlled trials. They cite "ethics" for this, however they can do placebo-controlled HIV vaccination tests. In the grand scheme of things, I think the ethics justify placebo-controlled Flu trials far more than HIV placebo-controlled trials. Now the HIV trials were done in Thailand, but still, a life is a life, and ethics shouldn't be regional.

So the only thing I can conclude is that the drug companies are hiding behind the "ethics" because they know vaccines are ineffective. Until we know exactly how [in]effective they are, they hide behind the line "any measure of protection is better than no protection".

We must demand that our flu vaccines are placebo controlled.

Also, I think the actual vaccine is safe. However I am beginning to research the theory that multiple viral infections have a layering effect. That would explain why some regions have greatly different HIV infection rates - that if a particular virus was local to a population then that virus can make the host more susceptible to infection. (Small midwest towns will have vastly different HIV infection rates, as does the epidemic in Africa) Also, viruses are known to cause cancer - HPV has overtaken tobacco as the leading cause of throat cancer (from oral sex). So these immunizations have the potential to alter your susceptibility for other viruses and cancers unless you get the kind that uses completely dead organisms. Remember all viruses insert themselves into your DNA. Much like a code injection attack, there may be repercussions in that inserted code that may make you susceptible to other attacks. However the science on this is still in a nascent stage.

Whoa (1)

deathtopaulw (1032050) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811609)

I become dirt poor for 3 months, lose my computer and internet access, and apparently time has stood still for me? Swine flu hahaha, you people are actually scared aren't you? This is excellent, I didn't miss a beat, except now my stupid friends don't wear their novelty t-shirts anymore. Did everyone change sides on me while I was reading books only when the sun was up?

Someone tell me about this. I haven't washed my hands after going to the bathroom (yes even public restrooms) or doing anything in years. Haven't touched antibacterial soap in my life, and am in decent physical condition. Also, I just got a job in retail. Should I have already peed my pants cowering in the corner? Or am I set for life with the kind of immune system exercise I get.

I can't wait until all the overprotective moms in the world have a big giant overprotective funeral for their sheltered children, and we can enter a new era of parenting based on rational thought.

Quit whining (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811621)

A few hundreds kids and maybe a few hundred young adults will die from the swine flu this year.

Compare that with the many more that die in car wrecks each year.

Yes, this is serious, and yes, we should get a flu shot when one becomes available, but no, we shouldn't moan and groan and say "woe is me" when there are far worse things to moan and groan about.

You can have mine (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811637)

Here, you can have mine. I don't want it. I'm not going to get it and neither are my wife or kids.
We eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep and none of us has compromised immune systems. We've gotten the flu once or twice before and it wasn't a big deal. From all reports Swine Flu is no more virulent than any other flu variant.

I'm also not afraid of liquids on airplanes. And my kids are allowed to walk in town without a leash. Even if white vans have been spotted in the area.
I have a pocketknife, and so does my son. He may cut himself some day, but I'll live with that. He can't bring it to school, however, because he might get suspended for having a deadly weapon. He can't bring a "spork" to school either for the same reason.

Anyway, I don't think there will be as much of a shortage of Swine Flu vaccine as they predict because of all the shut-ins that are too afraid to leave their homes to actually go out and GET a Swine Flu shot.

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