Flu You

I don’t scare easily.

But Sunday’s “60 Minutes” story on the H1N1 virus terrified me.

H1N1Before Scott Pelley’s report, I’d thought of swine flu as some sort of overdone media hype, like the Y2K, um, bug. 

Now I think of H1N1 as another 1918 pandemic, except I’m alive for this one.

And I hope to remain so.

Which is why, at the end of the segment, I and every other “60 Minutes” viewer raced to our computers and clicked on the link the show thoughtfully provided, to find out where to get our own flu shots.

I drilled down several levels.  The good news is, I easily found the “CT Flu Watch” page, and from there the Westport Weston Health District page.

The bad news is — well, read it yourself:

Both the Westport Weston Health District and the Wilton Health Department have received a limited amount of live, attenuated influenza vaccine. This is a thimerosal-free nasal spray indicated for healthy individuals ages 2 – 49 years of age who are not pregnant. At this time, use of this vaccine is restricted to the following priority populations:

Children aged 2 – 4 years

Persons who live with or care for children less than 6 months of age.

The vaccine is currently available at 3 pediatric groups:  Bay Street, Village and Willows, as well as the Health District itself.

As more vaccine becomes available, it will be offered to the following high-risk target groups:

Pregnant women

People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age

Certain healthcare and emergency medical services personnel who work directly with patients

Children 6 months through 4 years of age

Children 5 through 18 years of age who have chronic medical conditions.

Finally — I should live so long — the vaccine will be available for my demographic:  “everyone (else) who wishes to be vaccinated.”

I’ll keep checking the Health District site, as suggested.

In the meantime, I’ve got another plan:  Stop watching “60 Minutes.”

3 responses to “Flu You

  1. H1N1 and other flu vaccines are listed under Pregnancy Category C versus other safer drugs, which for example are in Pregnancy Category A or B.

    Pregnancy Category C: “Animal studies show adverse fetal effect(s) but no controlled human studies OR no animal or human studies; weigh possible fetal risk versus maternal benefit; see pkg insert for drug-specific recs.” We are going to be giving this questionable product to millions of pregnant women who are not aware of this classification system. Link to package insert. See p. 2.

    I would feel more comfortable if vaccines were say Pregnancy Category B: “Animal studies show no risk or adverse fetal affects but controlled human 1st trimester studies not avail/do not confirm; no evidence of 2nd or 3rd trimester risk; fetal harm possible but not likely. see pkg insert for drug-specific recs.” I’d be delighted if they were Pregnancy Category A: “controlled studies show no risk in first trimester…”

    Safety and effectiveness of Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent Vaccine have not been established in pregnant women or nursing mothers or children <6 months of age. References from the CDC. Take a look not only for yourself, but for your family as well. wp.me/pC1DX-34

  2. Chip Stephens

    Point #1 I believe H1N1 is flu not much different than normal flu , a sideshow that has taken some eyes off the economy and other issues . It is the FLU

    Point #2 H1N1 is the flu which is different than typical flu. It is dangerous to those who have underlying conditions and in this case is a bit more aggressive to healthy populations than normal flu as many have had normal flu vaccinations.
    To tell ANYONE not to get a vaccination that is available is dangerous and irresponsible. The H1N1 vaccination is probably as safe as the seasonal vaccination and is DEFINETLY important to limit this and future pandemics. This irresponsible previous note is just as bad as telling parents not to get their kids vaccinated due to hypothetical issues that are less likely than proven truths. Risk reward is life. 290 Children have died of H1N1 none have died of the vaccine .
    When I hear someone suggesting not to get a vaccine I cringe whether it is polio, DPT, TB or flu it is irresponsible. The vaccine not only protects the vaccinated but those that are potential victims of those not vaccinated. If you do not “believe” in public health than you are a risk to your community

  3. Very interesting article in this month’s Atlantic about H1N1 vaccination and vaccinations in general: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200911/brownlee-h1n1