H1N1 Flu Vaccine: Supply & Demand

After the newest strain of the flu (H1N1) was reported and the first death was a child the public was confused and scared (calling the microbe “swine” flu probably didn’t help). Schools in New York City were being closed by the Mayor and the Governor at press conferences. People everywhere were infected and everyone was vulnerable because no one had immunity. In June, 2009, the World Health Organization declared the flu a pandemic. Models predicted millions would die. People didn’t know whether there was enough time to manufacture vaccines and demand was HIGH. Hysteria abounded.

But governments spent billions for manufacture and distribution of the vaccine. At first supply was limited — only a minority of people were eligible which increased demand.

Close to a year has passed and its been reported that the clinics have been left with thousands of unused vaccines (link, link). As of the end of last month Georgia had 2.5 million unused doses! What happened to the demand?

In hindsight, I wonder if the WHO and other organizations believe they acted correctly given the relatively mild course of the virus. There is no telling what actions and steps were taken around the world to protect the people (e.g. I would’ve hated to be a pig in Egypt).

The scariest thing at our Halloween party.

-Posted by Tyler

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