I'm traveling today to a hospital in the nation's heartland where tomorrow the first H1N1 shots will be given.
I'll be doing live reports from there on Thursday when I also plan to get the seasonal flu shot myself. Even though you can get a seasonal and H1N1 shot at the same time (in each arm), I need to wait my turn until after those with high priority get the pandemic vaccine first.
The CDC says the H1N1 shots will be available in limited supply for now, but should be out "in large, large numbers" by the end of this month. So, I'll wait. But rest assured, I plan to get both vaccines—assuming, of course, that I can get my hands on some H1N1 vaccine.
Because the injectable vaccine is being distributed at the moment in dribs and drabs, it was fairly difficult for us to find a place that had some already and was willing to show it off and talk on TV about it.
For now, I'm gonna keep the exact location under wraps because I don't want to tip off any competitors and have a potential media circus on our hands. My producer worked too long and hard to secure this facility.
Sanofi-Aventis and Novartis and a third company based in Australia make the H1N1 shots that the FDA has approved, so far. GlaxoSmithKline is still waiting for regulatory clearance. And Baxter is only selling its vaccines outside the U.S. AstraZeneca makes H1N1 and seasonal FluMist—the vaccine that's sprayed up your nose.
This Friday the CDC is expected to start giving weekly updates on where and how much H1N1 vaccine has been shipped.
I'm curious what the demand will truly turn out to be. Some people are growing concerned about the increasing number of pediatric deaths from H1N1 and may rush to get their kids and themselves vaccinated. Others are afraid of or paranoid about the vaccine.
I hate needles. But I also hate being sick or not feeling well. I'm a big baby when it comes to getting a shot or having blood drawn. But, for what it's worth, I'll be turning my head, closing my eyes and maybe even wincing, too, as I eventually get both flu vaccines.
And that's not an endorsement of anything. It's just my personal choice.
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