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Subject: Flu Shot Info /Interesting, read to end

How the vaccine works:

Influenza vaccine is produced by growing the virus in eggs. The virus is
killed and processed to create the vaccine, which is given by injection
under the skin. The body then produces antibodies to the virus over the next
two to four weeks. If the immunized person then comes into contact with the
influenza virus, the antibodies attack and kill the virus before it has a
chance to cause infection. The vaccine contains the 3 most likely strains to
be active during the "flu season"
Why the shortage:
Almost half of the nation's flu vaccine will not be delivered this year.
Chiron, a major manufacturer of flu vaccine, will not be distributing any
influenza vaccine this flu season. Chiron was to make 46-48 million doses of
vaccine for the United States. Chiron is a British company.
Recently British health officials stopped Chiron from distributing and
making the vaccine when inspectors found unsanitary conditions in the labs.
Some lots of the vaccine were recalled and destroyed.
Why is our vaccine made in the UK and not the US?
The major pharmaceutical companies in the US provided almost 90% of the
nations flu vaccine at one time. They did this despite a very low profit
margin for the product. Basically, they were doing us a favor.
In the late 80's a man from North Carolina who had received the vaccine got
the flu. The strain he caught was one of the strains in that years vaccine
made by a US company.
What did he do? He sued and he won. He was awarded almost $5 million! After
that case was appealed and the appeal was lost, most US pharmaceutical
companies stopped making the vaccine. The liability outweighed the profit
margin.
Since UK and Canadian laws prohibit such frivolous law suits, UK and
Canadian companies began selling the vaccine in the US.
By the way...the lawyer that represented the man in the flu shot law suit
was a young ambulance chaser by the name of John Edwards.

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Rhiandmoi
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Chiron is an American company based in Emeryville, CA with offices, research facilities and production labs worldwide. I believe their vaccine branch is headquartered in the UK, but they still are part of the larger Chiron Corporation.

I don't know about the rest.

--------------------
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Sara at home
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Seems the problem is with the US standards rather than lawsuits.
http://www.cnn.com/2004/HEALTH/10/06/flu.vaccine.shortages.ap/

Chiron is an American Company which outsources the manufacturing to a plant it just bought in Liverpool. The shots that are available are produced by a Frech company, Aventis Pasteur, who outsourced the manufacturing to a Swiftwater, PA plant.

Wyeth and the other companies dropped out of the production of flu vaccines because they aren't profitable and the companies usually end up dumping millions of doses a year. http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20041017/REPOSITORY/410170390/1013/NEWS03

Nothing about lawsuits. However there was that little part of the Homeland Security Act that attempted to absolve pharmeceutical companies of liability with regard to vaccines. It was suppose to be about small pox vaccines but it applied to all. (Many thought it was protection for Bush friends in he pharmeceutical industry and had to do more with Thimerosal in pedicatric vaccines than anything else.)

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Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

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tagurit
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The OP starts out being information about the flu vaccine and ends up blaming Edwards for the shortage? Hmmmm... So, the real point of the piece is not to inform people about flu vaccine, at all? The real point of the piece is to place the blame on the Democratic vice presidential candidate for the shortage of flu vaccine? Anyone know if that particular part, the last paragraph of the OP, is true?

I came to this thread because I'm trying to figure out what the heck is going on with the flu vaccine this year. Oh, not the one that's apparently contaminated, that we haven't received, but the doses we do have. Can anyone tell me why flu vaccine is being administered in a grocery store? What the hell is that all about? I know that every little town around here has, at the very least some community center, or even a senior center that is at least as close as the local Farmer Jacks, that could be set up to administer flu shots. Every county has a health department. Will someone please explain to me why flu shots are available at Farmer Jacks, but not at your doctor's office, not at the local hospitals or clinics, not even at the health department, but at a frickin' grocery store?!

After I get the answers to that we can discuss the conspiracy theories. My girlfriend claims that her father's doctor told her when she took him for his checkup last (over a month ago), that he wouldn't get any flu vaccine, if he got any at all, until December. He then told her that there'd be a shortage and it'd be because the vaccine was supposedly contaminated, but that would be a lie. I don't know. This is a little private practice catering mostly to seniors on a fixed income. He seems the least likely person to have any type of inside information, and yet, here we are with a shortage caused by contamination. I told her to go back and pump him for more info. Why would he say that, when no news of a shortage was public at the time? Where'd he hear it? Did he just dream it up? Have a hunch?

I know she wouldn't have just made it up. I believe the doctor did say that to her. However, she believes him. I'm skeptical. Though I'm really curious as to what would cause him to say it.

So, really, what is the deal with this darn flu vaccine?

--------------------
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Sara at home
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The first information that some of the Chiron batches were contaminated surfaced in late August. It was expected at that time that some of the vaccines would be available though there would be less than expected and they might be delayed. Instead the Brits shut down the plant and didn't allow any to be shipped out of the country. (Bush was in error during the third debate: The Brits didn't allow the vaccine to be shipped before "... we took the right action and didn't allow contaminated medicine into our country.")
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/features/july-dec04/flu_10-11.html

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Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

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tagurit
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Ah, so there's nothing about the doctor knowing, just applying some speculation to common knowledge, eh? Thank you, Sara. As I said In another thread, I don't get flu shots and initially didn't pay much attention to the news of a shortage. Well, until I began seeing seniors waiting for hours in every newscast, that is.

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Sara at home
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Hold on, hold on. Are two and two making four?

Remember I said that there was an attempt to remove liablity for vaccines in the Homeland Security Act. I thought that provision had been repealed but I can't find proof of that. In fact, I'm finding the opposite. I must have been mistaken. But I did find Republican Rick Santorum's expanation of how that provision actually helps parents sue. You can still sue for contaminates but not because of damage done by FDA approved components as parents were doing regarding Thimerosal. But now I find
quote:
[U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy] Thompson said the number of manufacturers must be increased. For that to happen, Congress must remove liability for vaccine makers and the government must commit to buying millions of doses every year so the producers are assured of a "ready market," he said.
I hate sounding like a conspiracy theorists because I never did before. But suddenly I'm seeing conspiracies everywhere. (Damn you, Tag, this is your fault! [fish] ) Contrived shortage to encourage no-liability legislation and guarenteed tax dollar purchases for Bush's friends in Big Pharma?

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Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

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tagurit
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quote:
Originally posted by Sara at home:
(Damn you, Tag, this is your fault! [fish] )

Guilty as charged, Sara. [Embarrassed] Sorry...

I didn't even know about the "thimerosal liability shield" in the Homeland Security Act. What the hell do vaccines have to do with homeland security?

Now I wish I'd started a new thread in Soapbox Derby instead of attaching to this one. I just didn't want to start a new flu vaccine thread if one already existed. *sigh*

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Rhiandmoi
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Vaccines have to do with homeland security because there was some talk about needing to ramp up the production of anthrax vaccine because of possible use of anthrax in terrorist attacks.

--------------------
I think that hyperbole is the single greatest factor contributing to the decline of society. - My friend Pat.

What is .02 worth?

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ULTRAGLORIA
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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
After that case was appealed and the appeal was lost, most US pharmaceutical companies stopped making the vaccine. The liability outweighed the profit margin.

Since UK and Canadian laws prohibit such frivolous law suits, UK and Canadian companies began selling the vaccine in the US.

I don't know about UK and Canadian law. But US law does not shield French companies from lawsuits for vaccines manufactured in Pennsylvania and distributed in the US.

Nor does it shield American companies from lawsuits for vaccines manufactured in the UK and distributed in the US.

Aventis is French, manufactures in the US (Pennsylvania) and distributes in the US. Chiron is American (based in Emoryville, California) and manufactures in the UK and distributes to the US.

Both companies are subject to American laws regarding product liability.

I've tried a couple of google on flue vaccine and lawsuit. But I either get faaaar too many hits, or none. So I can't find any story about anyone sueing for getting the flu after getting the vaccine.

And I find it hard to beleive that a court would find a manufacturer guilty under the circumstances described above, since there are so many variables with vaccines that the manufacturer doesn't control. Individual variations in the immune system being one of them.

The real reason, I think, so many manufacturers got out of the flu vaccine business is not so much lawsuits, as the number of unsold doses that had to be trashed each year. That can be laid at the feet of the American reluctance to interfear with market forces, even when market forces would lead to everyone getting out of the vaccine business.

--------------------
A Lie can run around the world before the Truth can get its boots on. - Terry Pratchett

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions; but everyone is not entitled to their own facts. - Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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Psihala
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http://www.campaigndesk.org/archives/001036.asp

~Psihala

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tagurit
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Ah, thank you for that link Psihala. I still want to know what's going on when Chiron promises they'll still be able to provide 46-48 million doses except that the Brits shut the manufacturer down. Anyone got an answer to that?

And still up for grabs: Why are flu shots being administered in grocery stores and who picked the chain that they'd be administered at?

tag hopefully we won't be struck with a tinfoil shortage... urit

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Joseph Z
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Personally, I am not going to get the flu shot even at my age. Mainly because the flu shot makes you sick anyhow some say. I'd rather wear a mask and go out with warm sweater and a winter jacket than get a shot of sickness from my doctor.

--------------------
Joseph Z

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ULTRAGLORIA
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quote:
Originally posted by tagurit:
Ah, thank you for that link Psihala. I still want to know what's going on when Chiron promises they'll still be able to provide 46-48 million doses except that the Brits shut the manufacturer down.

I think Chiron promised those doses back in August when it thought only SOME of it's flu vaccine was contaminated. Now it's known that MOST of it's vaccine is contaminated.


quote:
Originally posted by tagurit:
And still up for grabs: Why are flu shots being administered in grocery stores and who picked the chain that they'd be administered at?

The chains themselves decide.

In a normal year, anyone can contract with a Nursing agency to administer flu shots. Many employers and grocery stores do this. The Nursing agency buys a mess of flu vaccine and assigns nurses to go out and have people fill in paperwork, pay a fee, and get jabbed. (Useful tip--ask for her to wait until the alcohol dries, and there is almost no sting.)

THIS year, many of the Nursing agencies are cancelling these flu shot clinics because of the shortage. Either they don't have any vaccine, or they're offering the vaccine they do have to high risk people.

If you want to see a clinic at your local grocery store next year, ask the manager of the store.

Or you can set one up yourself with a few phone calls to nursing agencies and a site to hold it at. Usually, it's not difficult.

--------------------
A Lie can run around the world before the Truth can get its boots on. - Terry Pratchett

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions; but everyone is not entitled to their own facts. - Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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ULTRAGLORIA
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quote:
Originally posted by Joseph Z:
Personally, I am not going to get the flu shot even at my age. Mainly because the flu shot makes you sick anyhow some say.

Facts about the flu.

The flu shot does NOT, give anyone the flu. That is a BIG, HUGE myth. Dare I say...Urban Myth??

What the flu shot does do is activate your immune system. It gives you a killed version of flu viruses, and your immune system responds to those dead viruses by gathering it's defences and producing antibodies to combat the viruses.

In some people this will cause discomfort, a flushed feeling, or achy joints.

quote:
Updated Dec 10, 2003
What are the risks from getting a flu shot?
The viruses in the flu shot are killed (inactivated), so you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. The risk of a flu shot causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small. However, a vaccine, like any medicine, may rarely cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. Almost all people who get influenza vaccine have no serious problems from it.

Updated Dec 10, 2003
What are the side effects that could occur?

Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
Fever (low grade)
Aches
If these problems occur, they begin soon after the shot and usually last one to two days.

People who are allergic to eggs should not get a flu vaccine.

In very rare cases, some people may develop Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) after a flu vaccine. But it's very VERY rare. One person out of 1 million vaccinated persons may be at risk of GBS associated with the vaccine.
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/gbs.htm

You need to evaluate your own health. The Flu can be deadly. ~9000 people a year die from the Flu in the US; and a further ~30,000 die from complications of the flu. That's in a good year with regular vaccination rates.

Do you have other health problems? Asthma? Diabetes? Respiratory illness? If so, the discomfort of the vaccine is tiny compared to the probems you could face if you get the flu.

I've no problem with those over 65 choosing not to be vaccinated. But choose based on FACTS not on myths. Weigh the risks of getting the flu against the risks and availability of the vaccine.

This year, what with the shortage, I'm forgoing the vaccine. If I DO get the flu, I might end up in hospital; and I might endure weeks of discomfort; but at my age and health I'm unlikely to die.

Next year, I'll get my jab again.

--------------------
A Lie can run around the world before the Truth can get its boots on. - Terry Pratchett

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions; but everyone is not entitled to their own facts. - Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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chillas
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quote:
Originally posted by Joseph Z:
Mainly because the flu shot makes you sick anyhow some say. I'd rather wear a mask and go out with warm sweater and a winter jacket than get a shot of sickness from my doctor.

*beats head against desk*

I was wondering how long it would take before someone brought this old myth up. Not long, as it happens.

Good info, ULTRAGOTH, thank you.

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Rhiandmoi
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Flu Shots are administered every year at grocery stores and pharmacies because they are in places where it is convienient to get to for the people that need the shot. They are also given at community centers and health centers, but those places usually don't have 800 parking spaces like Safeway does. What is different about this year is the people who get in line 6 hours before the vaccine clinic is set to start up.

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What is .02 worth?

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Chimera
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Our local grocery store that advertised for a flu shot clinic has since put up signs on the doors saying the clinic had been canceled.

I know its generally a suburban myth that one can get the flu from the flu shot but weren't live vacines once used?

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Rhiandmoi
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Live vaccine is currently available as Flu Mist. But this is only for healthy people between 5 and 50. So if you are 2-5 and 50-65 you are screwed.

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I think that hyperbole is the single greatest factor contributing to the decline of society. - My friend Pat.

What is .02 worth?

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Open Mike Night
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quote:
Originally posted by tagurit:

And still up for grabs: Why are flu shots being administered in grocery stores and who picked the chain that they'd be administered at?

tag hopefully we won't be struck with a tinfoil shortage... urit

Around here (and YMMV) the nurses from the Hospital go around administering flu shots. They have a neat bus and everything just for it. Pretty much, according to them, they go wherever people frequent that has enough parking space to accomodate the public. The Hospital is a pain in the neck for parking. In past years they would setup in our factory parking lot for a day, just because we had space they could use. They go to the local grocery store on whatever day is the discount day for senior citizens, just to help the seniors kill two birds with one stone. they also send a nurse around with Meals for Wheels, to make life eaiser for shut -ins. So i guess, around here it's more a multi prong attack to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

Unfortunatly, one year I didn't help out the UL that the vaccine can give you the flu. That year, I was the sickest I think I have ever been right after I got the vaccine. Although it was because the day I got the vaccine, I picked some co-workers up at O'Hare airport and drove the 3 hours back here. All of them had some type of exotic flu they picked up in their travels. According to the doctor it was a different strain then the vaccine. Lucky me, but there were people who just wouldn't believe it was coincidental.

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tagurit
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Thanks for all the info everyone!

I'm still suspicious about the contamination, which just seems timely. But most of my other concerns have been addressed. I suppose other years I haven't paid attention to how (or where) shots were being administered because it didn't receive the publicity it has this year.

I think the confusion about flu shots giving you the flu is [due to] the fact that some people do get sick from flu shots. Ok, maybe they don't get the flu, but if you're having flu-like symptoms you may well think of it as the flu. It's an incorrect label, but most people don't go to the doctor when they have the flu, they just ride it out.

That said, I've never had a flu shot. Most years I miss getting the flu. I have to be in close quarters with those that have it, rather like Mike with his co-workers, to contract it. There may come a time when I have to re-evaluate things, but for the time-being, I'll just forego the flu vaccine.

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EEEK...It's Lara
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My mother swears she got the flu from a flu shot
[Frown] She's nearly 60, and diabetic, and the flu can put her in the hospital. My sister is a type I diabetic, and she's nearly died from the flu.

I'm worried about both of them. One won't get the shot from a misguided fear of getting sick, one will probably give up the shot for "sicker people".

I've had the shot the past couple years, because long-term steroid therapy played havoc with my immune system. I never got sick from it, but still got the flu last year. I guess last year's vaccine wasn't as up-to-date as it could have been. Obviously, I'll be passing on it this year.

Anyway, back on the original topic, I guess I'm getting more paranoid as well. I can't help but see the whole thing as a potential conspiracy. It IS awfully conveniently timed. And I also picked up on Bush's "we didn't let it in the country" gibberish while I was watching the third debate. Ugh.

La "flu-who?" ra

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