November 11, 2004

Plenty of Vaccine, No Patients

Apparently, there's plenty of flu vaccine...

The nurses who give flu shots in Minnesota are facing a shortage of another kind -- patients.

Last Friday at a clinic at Bloomington City Hall, public health workers came armed with 800 vaccine doses but gave out only 259. On Tuesday, nurses at a clinic at the Shepherd of Lakes Lutheran Church in Prior Lake arrived with 1,000 doses and left with 750 of them.

So what's going on? An excess of "Minnesota nice," say frustrated state health officials. Too many Minnesotans who are at high risk of complications from the flu think there is someone out there who needs the vaccine more than they do.

"I've heard many people say, 'I am 65, but my 92-year-old mom needs it,' " said Mary Ann Blade, president of the Minnesota Visiting Nurses Agency, which runs flu clinics around the state.

Kris Ehresmann, head of the vaccine program at the Health Department, said there are about 1.6 million high-risk people in Minnesota who should be vaccinated, but many have not gotten shots. The state still has about 925,000 doses available.

"We can't make them get vaccinated," she said. "But we want to make sure that we've gotten the word out."

Odd, isn't it?

Maybe someone told the people that getting a shot was just a tad less gruelling than the Bataan Death March.

Someone who knows stuff.

Posted by Mitch at November 11, 2004 03:40 AM | TrackBack

Let's do a little calculation.

The US averages about 40,000 flu related deaths a year. Minnesota's share would be about 800, most of whom are in high risk catagories, say about 700. About 3/5ths of those in high risk have been scared into not getting their shots.

Let's be conservative and say that will increase high risk deaths by 5 percent. Let's say that only one quarter of those in high risk were influenced by Nicky Boy's article.

That would give us 9 deaths cause by Mr. compassion.

Way to go.

Posted by: michael at November 11, 2004 02:07 PM
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