As you may remember, the National Institutes of Health has begun recruiting volunteers, some as young as 6 months, to test the new vaccines.
The first time the government had a major round of swine flu vaccines, many complained of adverse side effects and filed claims against the companies. But this time, the government has nipped it in the bud. We’re protecting the companies before we even know what those side effects might be.
That’s because vaccines aren’t as profitable for manufacturers as other drugs, so the makers took a stance that worried government officials, thus leading to the legal immunity. The attitude of the companies was,
Do we really need this?
I don’t know about you, but I’m asking the same thing.
The U.S. already protects drug manufacturers from litigation related to vaccines on the Recommended Immunization Schedule. Instead, there is a federal court that determines when to shell out, much to the consternation of many parents.
The CDC says that there have been 40,000 confirmed or probable cases, but estimates that there could already be 1 million Americans affected by the swine flu, many with mild cases. So far, 263 American deaths have been caused by the swine flu.
But health officials worry that this flu could get worse. The CDC estimates that 40% of Americans could be affected, and it’s possible that this strain could strengthen.
So far, about 6-8% of Americans have been affected by swine flu. But don’t kid ourselves, says the CDC’s Dr. Anne Schuchat,
Our planning assumptions for a severe pandemic were that up to 40 percent of the workforce might be affected and not able to work, either because they were ill or because they needed to stay home to care for an ill family member.
U.S. officials hope to have 160 million doses ready for the public this fall.
Image: ZaldyImg on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.