Today in flu

It seems like only yesterday when the news media was being skewered for overblowing the H1N1 flu (which for some reason is increasingly being referred to as the “swine flu” again). Now, a survey by Pew Research Center suggests the news consumer can’t get enough.

According to the survey of the Pew Research Center for People and the Press:


About three-in-ten (29%) name reports about the fast-spreading flu and its vaccine as the story they followed more closely than any other last week, according to the latest weekly News Interest Index survey, conducted Oct. 30-Nov. 2 among 1,001 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Somewhat fewer mention news about health care reform (22%) or the economy (17%) as their top story.

But a second survey, from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ), shows a disconnect between what the people want and what the people are getting:

The national news media devoted 5% of the newshole to swine flu, much less than the coverage given to the health care debate (16%), Afghanistan (13%) or the economy (12%).

Let’s see if we can adjust that a little bit. Here’s some H1N1 news:

Most people who are looking for the H1N1 vaccine can’t find it, Harvard reports today.


Since the H1N1 flu vaccine became available in October, 17% of American adults, 41% of parents, and 21% of high-priority adults have tried to get it. Among adults who tried to get it for themselves, 30% were able to get the vaccine and 70% were unable to get it. Among parents who tried to get the H1N1 vaccine for their children, 34% were able to get it and 66% were unable to get it. Among high priority adults who tried to get the H1N1 vaccine, 34% were able to get it and 66% were unable to get it.

So far Minnesota has ordered more than 460,000 doses of vaccine from its share of the federal supply, MPR’s Lorna Benson reported today. The state health department has been using a random lottery system to select sites from among thousands of clinics who’ll get the vaccine.

Officials are worrying that people are getting frustrated in their search for the vaccine, and will just give up looking.

  • MR
  • Brian

    It appears odd to me that the distribution system is a “random lottery”, when the public health system has targeted groups that are to receive the vaccine. All this does is create confusion, which causes parents, high priority adults, etc to randomly dial clinics to determine if they have the vaccine, thus overloading the local clinics with calls when. For example I read elsewhere, that a clinic in Mower County (for example) had a 3 day vaccination clinic at a shopping mall, while our pediatrician is on a waiting list to get doses for at risk children.