h1n1 blues

H1N1 is stressing me out. A wave of it is going through the local schools. Four kids in Hamilton are in the ICU (that’s half the pediatric ICU beds in the city), and one healthy young boy died recently in a neighbouring town.

At the same time, the vaccine is tantalizingly close to being available. The vaccines just started being administered this week, but only for high-risk groups, and there are long line-ups of hundreds of people at each flu-shot clinic the province has put together. The rest of us will have to wait as this group gets priority–so far, this week and next have been dedicated to high-risk groups.

That means 10 more days at the earliest, and of course it will be more like 20 or so days to get everyone, and then you have to add in the 14 days it takes bodies to respond to the vaccine to develop immunity. A lot of people will suffer before the vaccines can be administered. Some MPPs are calling on the Ministry of Health to move to 24-hour vaccine delivery. That certainly would move things along and make it easier on working families, but no plans to move in that direction so far.

How are things going down in the States?

14 thoughts on “h1n1 blues”

  1. Sounds pretty similar. My wife (a pediatrician) has seen a LOT of H1N1 in the clinic, and vaccines are just becoming available, mostly for high-risk and health care workers. There is a lot of it around the community, judging from the number of my students who have been diagnosed and the number of kids in my kids’ schools. That said, it doesn’t seem to be any worse of an illness than seasonal flu, which is not to say it’s not bad — seasonal flu makes a lot of people very sick and kills plenty too!


  2. What Andrew Said: no better, and arguably worse. Made much more problematic by continual claims that the vaccine (which has been being used in France for months) is Unsafe at best, An Obama Plot to Take Over the Internet at worst.


  3. In Sweden, the vaccine was available for those in the “risk group” and for pregnant women last week, after being delayed about a week. But there were shortages, at least here in Stockholm, last week and it wasn’t until the middle of this week that my clinic got some — at which point I, having asthma bad enough to put me in a risk group, got my shot.

    We’ve had our share of cases here, but not tons, as far as I can tell. Lots of warnings that there will be more soon, though.


  4. My son is high risk (Crohn’s) as is my spouse (type 2 diabetes). No vaccine available for either. No H1N1 vaccine, no “ordinary seasonal flu” vaccine. What vaccine there was seems to have been used up in school clinics. No clue when it might be available around here. My spouse has just spent 3 weeks with a viral bronchitis that is going around. My son is on fellowship this term, not teaching, which hopefully reduces his exposure to the undergraduates, among whom H1N1 is circulating, as well as seasonal flu. My spouse works at a firm populated by young adults who have a lot of young children where the community diseases seem to circulate widely. His boss was diagnosed with H1N1; she is a youngish woman (compared to us, anyway) with children whose husband is getting chemo for cancer. I met another woman whose son got H1N1 in a football game with another school that was closed due to the epidemic two days after the football game; she has asthma and said their home was in lockdown, with her husband, not her, caring for the son. It’s not pretty around here. So far the cases have been mild, I’m not aware of deaths in this community.


  5. PS I guess the most interesting thing is that the norms have changed: everyone is urged not to go to work if sick. Canceling a business trip because you are ill is now to be expected; nobody wants you to travel sick.


  6. Down Southish, we have (or had) extremely high infection rates, with some school closings, and 50% absentee rates in many schools (including Carbondale). But, it’s mostly mild in the symptoms (both of our kids already had it). We have vaccine for high riskers and others. But, a friend of ours heads the county health department and she’s over-the-top good. Since the population is small, one motivated woman with a minivan can pretty much steal enough vaccine from Springfield to cover the county.


  7. It’s been pretty scary here in Houston. Tons and tons of cases (but the vast, vast majority have been pretty mild). Theoretically, my kids are scheduled for vaccines on Tuesday at the one clinic I could find that has them — but I’m not holding my breath that they’ll still actually have it by then.


  8. I wasn’t stressed until a girl in our little state died of it (apparently without pre-existing health complications); now I am. My kids (5 and 7yo) are slated to get the shot at school, but not ’til &#@! December 9.

    The “regular flu” kills healthy kids too? Hm. Ignorance is/was bliss.


  9. 0 -4 years: 0.17%
    5-24 years: 0.22%
    25-49 years: 1.5%
    50-64 years: 3.33%
    65 years and over: 5.24%

    For those who’d rather not click the link; they’re supposedly from a leaked CDC document (the PDF of that document is linked in the blog post as well). The document appears legitimate, but I mostly post it because I don’t know of any other data sources on the issue right now.


  10. Not to make light of a legitimate health concern, but…

    Does Tina’s post about Hamilton give evidence that Canada’s universal health care is inherently BETTER than our more market-based system? Doesn’t look like it to me. Thoughts?


  11. @12 sotinkerer: the anecdotes have us about even at this point, but the proof will be in the data available at the end of the flu season.

    I am especially peeved that the federal gov’t up here contracted with only one pharmaceutical company to provide vaccine. It seems to me that even a single-payer system can make use of good ol’ capitalist competition to improve efficiency. We saw a similar problem recently with medical isotopes when the one facility producing almost all of them was closed down. This problem is affecting folks south of the border as well. I think we need to take a good look at the medical supply chain and make some improvements there.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s