Itʼs a common case of supply and demand: the shortage of flu vaccines.
About 48 million vials of the vaccination were deemed unusable earlier this month by the FDA due to the contamination of the vials in a Liverpool plant belonging to Chiron Corporation, one of the two flu vaccine providers to the United States.Aventis, the other supplier, was unable to make up for the shortage because the vaccine must be prepared well in advance. For having a peak season in January, the flu is certainly causing unnecessary panic amongst those young and old. No one wants to contract the influenza virus; however, people arenʼt realizing that even if you do get the virus, there are still measures that can be taken to rid the body of the fever, aches, chills, vomiting and diarrhea that one may experience.
Because people donʼt realize this, theyʼve been resorting to nonsense like stealing vials of the vaccine by breaking into clinics, raising the price of each 10-dose vial to meet demands, waiting in line for hours overnight in cold or damp weather, and fighting over who should be eligible to receive the vaccination.
The Dallas Morning News reported last Friday that a lawsuit has been filed by the Texas Attorney General against two pharmaceutical distributors — ASAP Meds, Inc. and Dubin Medical, Inc.–who allegedly offered the flu vaccine to three hospitals in the state at exorbitant
Instead of selling each 10-dose vial for $65 to $80 each, these companies allegedly sold them for $396 to $950 each, and only accepted cash on delivery as payment.
When clinics actually do have the vaccine to give out, high-risk people (adults over 50, pregnant women in their second or third trimester, children ages six to 23 months old, adults and children with chronic medical conditions, and people who care for those in high-risk groups) are waiting in line for hours, sometimes overnight, in almost-freezing
temperatures and damp conditions in hopes of obtaining one of just a few hundred available doses.
To the logical person, standing outside for hours in such conditions with poor health or of old age is more detrimental to oneʼs well-being than actually not receiving the vaccination at all.
In California, a 79-year-old woman waited in line for over five hours for a shot before she collapsed and eventually died. Itʼs this sort of mentality — that one must get a shot or face severe illness and even death — that has been perpetuated in countless newscasts and articles across the country.
The situation is getting ridiculous, not because people are becoming ill, but because the panic has turned everyone into greedy, mindless pigs. New York Daily News reported on Oct. 15 that after hundreds of people had lined up at a Manhattan health center to receive their “guaranteed” shot, they were told that they werenʼt eligible. Tempers flared, and shoving matches ensued when doctors began screening people to see whether they qualified as high-risk.
“He told me ʻno,ʼ and I just snatched it,” said Pamela Billig, a 44-year-old chronic fatigue syndrome sufferer. “My doctorʼs note says Iʼm prone to secondary infections.”
New Jersey has begun a lottery system to try and be “fair” to those waiting for the shot, but many still feel neglected by the system. No matter what officials try to do, they havenʼt been able to squelch the thousands of people across the country who are fighting tooth and nail to try to get this hot commodity. One would think, based on peoplesʼ actions, that weʼre facing some sort of epidemic like the plague in this country. News flash: weʼre not!
Itʼs just the flu! All pharmacies offer overthe- counter drugs to cope with symptoms, and certain drugs are available from doctors if a person contracts the virus; however, this drug must be used within three days of contraction in order to be effective. The FluMist is also available by prescription to combat contraction.
Obviously thereʼs no need for panic at this point, as this isnʼt peak flu season and there are other alternatives to rely on to stay healthy. So in the meantime, eat nutritious foods, exercise regularly, sneeze into your shirt sleeve, and wash your hands. Donʼt give in to the panic and become another greedy, mindless pig.