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04 November 2009 

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Temperatures Rise at Flu-Shot Clinics

04 November 2009

A possible title for this essay, Flu Shot Etiquette, would be a poor one. There hasn't been much etiquette displayed in health clinics and doctors' offices where H1N1, or swine flu, vaccinations are usually offered.  

Swine flu is no laughing matter.  Tensions are high as the pandemic spreads, winter nears, and vaccine supplies are short
Swine flu is no laughing matter. Tensions are high as the pandemic spreads, winter nears, and vaccine supplies are short
Patients are frustrated by delays in delivery of the vaccine. Some are angry that they're not among the two groups – children and pregnant women – given priority because they seem most susceptible to swine flu.

Some women who are not the least bit pregnant are lying and saying they are, just so they can get in line. So desperate is the search for the vaccine among men and women, both, that some are yelling and cursing – even threatening – health workers. Medical offices report employees – who themselves are highly susceptible to catching this dangerous strain of flu from patients – have been breaking into tears, even walking off the job. They say they can't take the abuse any more.

This is one time when people are pleased to get their flu shots
This is one time when people are pleased to get their flu shots
The H1N1 vaccine has been slow to arrive due to testing and manufacturing delays. That has led to cancellations of flu-shot clinics, raising anxieties as the winter flu season nears. Worried parents, especially, are clogging clinic telephone lines, preventing sick patients seeking appointments from getting through. Vaccine shipments that do arrive go quickly, increasing the frustration among those turned away. And frustration can turn to anger when the staff tells them they have no idea when the next shipment will arrive.

To compound matters, hundreds of seasonal flu-shot clinics have been cancelled, too. The federal government has put the emphasis on speeding up delivery of the H1N1 vaccine, causing backups in the seasonal vaccine.  

Add long lines to the aggravation at places where the shots are available, and temperatures are up across the land. Not from the flu. From behavior that some are calling flu rage.

Washington, D.C., hockey coach is such a friendly guy that his nickname is Gabby.  But the last thing he wants is run of the flu through his team, so he's cutting down on handshakes
Washington, D.C., hockey coach is such a friendly guy that his nickname is Gabby. But the last thing he wants is run of the flu through his team, so he's cutting down on handshakes
Oh, there is one sort of behavior that might fall under the heading of flu etiquette. People aren't shaking hands as much these days. For instance, hockey coach Bruce Boudreau, whose Washington Capitals team had already lost a flu-ridden player for several games, was heading off to sign copies of his new autobiography. "Everybody you meet is nice and wants to shake your hand," Boudreau said. "You don't want to be rude and say no, but . . . " 

Read more of Ted's personal reflections and stories from the road on his blog, Ted Landphair's America.


1. Tempers at flu clinics

I disagree with the tenets of thus article. Even anecdotal evidence is not provided. I have waited on 3 lines, high risk kid, regular kid and adult and while one was particularly long, nothing but general understanding was displayed.
Submitted by: Pkin (Usa)
11-04-2009 - 23:33:47

2. swiss flag on a swine

i wonder what we americans would say if our flag was posted on a swine re swine flu.
Submitted by: iris (usa)
11-04-2009 - 18:13:33

3. Vaccine

If you try to find out exactly what tier you fall into you will find the only defined qualifications is for tier 1, as of 11-03-09, according the health department in Evansville, IN. It is the lack of quality accurate information that makes everyone mad. Not having tier groups defined and some schedule of delivery that can be updated daily to let people know where they are and when they might be able to get the vaccine is unacceptable, and makes the whole system and everyone in it look incompetent. I'm sure there many people working themselves to death to get the vaccine out. We should be thankful that there is a vaccine at all. Many people have died and many more are likely to die before this is under control. I challenge someone that is knowledgeable and has the authority to take the "I don't know" our of the scenario. We need better leadership in this crises. Give the American public accurate, timely and updated information and I believe that most of the anger will subside.
Submitted by: Mike Lankford (USA)
11-04-2009 - 18:01:11

4. flu

Contrary to many posts, the government does NOT produce flu vaccine. These are produced by private companies, so don't go blaming the US Gov't for shortages.
Submitted by: osisbs 
11-04-2009 - 17:50:51

5. Priority groups

It was not clear to me which high-risk group the photo subjects belong to. Did they exhibit child-like behaviour or did I miss the historic medical headline about pregnant men?
Submitted by: Gene (USA)
11-04-2009 - 17:48:27

6. Flu Vaccine shortages

This post is in reply to the smearing poster who asserted that the Obama Administration is incompetent in distributing the vaccine. They are not responsible for manufacturing delays. It's not their fault. But how like haters on the right who dishonestly fault the opposition for anything and everything! This is not evidence that the govt can't handle healthcare reform initiatives. I know I won't convince that dishonest poster, but hopefully others won't believe him.
Submitted by: DellDolly (USA)
11-04-2009 - 17:42:28

7. flu shot etiquette

How interesting. I am an RN who signed up for regional flu shot clinics, only to have the company cancel all of them. And we had plenty of seasonal flu vaccine available. I received an H1N1 vaccination at my local health department last week with no lines and no waiting and no problems at no cost.
Submitted by: wabisabi (USA)
11-04-2009 - 17:22:47

8. Flu shots

If the government can't get flu vaccines to the public in a timely manner, how in the world do they think they can run our Health Care system?
Submitted by: grjilo (USA)
11-04-2009 - 17:10:38

9. Vitamin D and H1N1

There is early anecdotal evidence that vitamin D may have a protective effect against swine flu. You may read on this here, http://healthjournalclub.blogspot.com/2009/11/vitamin-d-and-h1n1-swine-flu.html#more
Submitted by: Paul 
11-04-2009 - 17:07:35

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