Flu shots

Just in case anyone was interested, the following is something I sent to the Association of Health Care Journalists listserv last week. It’s not directly related to IT, but technology sure would help identify those most at risk for the flu, or any other large-scale public health issue, for that matter.

For the record, I didn’t get any hate mail from this one. :-)

Perhaps it’s because I focus on the business side of health rather than clinical/medical issues, or maybe because I have a pretty good immune system and also despise needles, but is there something I am not understanding about this whole controversy with flu shots?

When all of us — including this 30-something youngster — were growing up, there was no flu vaccine. Even until the last five years or so, only a small portion of the population got the shot. Now, even with some 58 million doses available nationwide, plus about 6 million FluMist doses, there’s pandemonium in the streets because 40 million people will have to go without. When exactly did it become necessary for 100 million Americans to get innoculated against the flu? It seems like people did just fine a decade ago with acetaminophen and cough syrup. If expectations had been lower for the availability of a vaccine, would there be so much public outcry?

Bracing for the incoming barrage of name-calling,