Flu Season

Bah.

It’s Flu Season again. It seems there is a severe shortage of the Flu Vaccine, nationally.

We just got ours yesterday. I made sure the kids got it, I got it and made my parents get one, too. I wanted Chris to get one, as well – – but he said he feels like he’s already coming down with something (he does sound kind of stuffy) – so he didn’t want to take any chance that it would make it worse.

Problem with getting the flu shot this late in the season is that it takes about two weeks for it to take full effect. People should be getting their flu shots in mid-October and early-November.

So, I’m crossing my fingers that getting it done this late in the season will cover us. Did you know that, on average, the flu causes114,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths, in the United States, every year from the flu? As of 12/4, 6,903 cases had been reported in Colorado alone, an increase of 1,619 cases since Monday. Five children have died.

The shortage of the flu vaccine this year was a result, I think, of poor planning. It takes six months to manufacture the vaccine, itself. They start manufacturing it in January of each year and start distributing it in September. Wouldn’t you think they’d have a better way to anticipate the number of vaccines they need for each year in order for there to be enough? Of course, by the time they realize they’re not making enough – it’s already too late. The creation of the flu vaccine is dependant up on chicken eggs, and it’s kind of difficult to make several hundred chickens lay several thousand eggs at a moments notice.

The pharmacy companies are also dependant upon the WHO (World Health Organization). They cannot begin the creation of the vaccine until WHO informs them of what the formula needs to be. As soon as they hear the final word from WHO – they can begin the manufacturing of the product – which effects the timliness and amount that can be produced at one time. Ideally, WHO should have the final formula to the pharmacy companies by, no later that late November or December – which would give the companies time to plan and allocate resources.

I think cost is a factor too. It’s cheap – – way cheaper than any of the other products that are manufactured by these pharmaceutical companies. Why throw a tremendous amount of resources into the making of the flu vaccine when there are other, much more profitable, pursuits?

Did you get your flu shot?

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