Friday, October 02, 2009

Babe Flu Vaccine Arrives

So the Babe Flu vaccine is about to arrive:

Vaccine for the H1N1 flu will begin arriving in the nation’s hospitals, clinics and schools as early as Tuesday, the start of an effort to protect Americans against a swine flu virus that emerged this past spring and quickly circled the globe.

This from a story in USA Today.

The article goes on to say:

In a task worthy of a deadly serious video game, state health departments have to organize thousands of workers at 90,000 sites nationwide to administer as many as 250 million doses in three to four months, making sure the people at greatest risk from swine flu — such as pregnant women, young children and health care workers — are first in line.

But there’s been very little information on where people should go to get the vaccines.

There is this story in the Post today about how public schools will be vaccinating school kids in the coming weeks. But the details are a bit sketchy to say the least. Now maybe things have not been finalized which I can understand. However, it that’s the case then what the public should be told now is where to go and get information on the hows, whens and wheres of the roll out of the vaccinations. But you sure haven’t seen much of that at all.

It is good to be able to the DC health site and see that there’s only been one case of Babe Flu reported. But there is this one caveat to this statement and that is: * As of September 1, the Department of Health only tests for H1N1 in hospitalized flu cases. Counts are the number of confirmed cases since September 1, 2009. It seems to me that’s a better way to count the number of cases. These numbers represent the people who are badly sick as opposed to people who just had a mild case.

More on the numbers USA Today has an interesting map of the US. The map from the CDC divides the country up into regions and give the number of Babe Flu cases per million people. It also has a time line. You can click on a date starting in August until mid-September (the dates are a week apart). You can see how the numbers have increased over time. The problem is the number don’t mean all that much. There’s no context to the number. How does this compare with the normal flu? Are the numbers going up faster than normal flu. Are certain regions getting more cases than normal. I don’t understand why there isn’t more of this so people can get an accurate picture on how serious the Babe Flu is.

Earlier in the year all sorts of number were bandied about about the number of people with Babe Flu. The problem with that is once you’ve had Babe Flu you were part of that total number. If gives no context as to the number of people who’ve died or even the number of people who were still sick.

It will be interesting to see how the vaccine distribution progresses. How well things go probably depends on how severe Babe Flu becomes.

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