Thursday, April 30, 2009

Vaccines....

One person asked me about Vaccines. Just today I learned that the disease is killing off the chicken eggs it is grown in (remember, this is a swine/BIRD/human flu...if it is going to affect chickens, it is going to affect eggs).

Here are some other points to consider...

Today: "U.S. vaccine supply could be limited in flu pandemic
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Most influenza vaccines for Americans are manufactured in other countries -- a scenario that could limit U.S. supplies should a swine flu vaccine be needed in the coming months.
U.S. government officials have taken steps in recent years to promote more production on U.S. soil by a diverse group of companies, but those efforts are far from complete.
If the current strain of swine flu turned into a pandemic, some health experts worry countries might try to reserve flu vaccine for their own citizens.
"If this thing goes global, our lack of capacity makes it very hard," said former U.S. Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Tevi Troy, who worked on flu preparedness efforts in the George W. Bush "


And: It takes 13-26 weeks to grow the flu in chicken eggs (the only way we know how to make flu vaccine). There is a supply situation (can we get enough eggs, supplies), a production situation (how many vials of virus can be produced asap), and a distribution situation of who gets what when. If we do not see wide swaths of people getting sick, meaning everything stays just on time, we can see vaccine getting into our hands in 5-6 months. That is according to the CDC.

Understand as well that there is a hierarchy of when each of us will get the vaccine. Though pandemics like 1918 targeted the young healthy adults, that very group is the very last on the list for vaccinations due to social norms. We place a high value on the babies, the elderly, the sick. This is GOOD in terms of our morals. However, that also means that if the pandemic hits the healthy adults first, we might be unprotected.

The WHO has not decided on whether to even ask for a vaccination, so none is started so far. There is a seed culture that the CDC developed, but that is it. The WHO is still hedging their bets that this will be a non-event.

My recommendation: assume there will not be a vaccine for at least another year. There is simply not the capacity to make enough vaccine for everyone, our vaccines are made mostly out of country (and the countries that have the vaccine plant in their country will probably claim first rights), the vaccine has not been started yet (though the seed culture has), the vaccine that is made for this strain may or may not work on a second or third wave, and there is a heirarchy of who will receive the vaccine.

So prepare in case the vaccine is not available for some reason. This does not mean panic. It means get ready just like one would do if they knew a hurricane was going to hit--calmly and reasonably. That way if it does not hit, no harm done. Simply eat those stashed boxes of poptarts :). If it does hit, and is relatively mild, you can make your decision what to do then, and if it does hit and is severe, you will be in a position to take care of your family. In any case keep your faith in the Lord and in His wisdom. He gave us specific instructions NOT to worry about ANYTHING. That does not mean do not prepare for anything, for He also shows us in many places how the prudent prepare. But it does mean do not WORRY. :)

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