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December 13, 2003

Flu shot

The A/Fujian/411/2002-like virus was only detected shortly before the composition of the Northern Hemisphere vaccine was decided. No vaccine could be produced in time to thwart A-Fugian so it was decided to include the available vaccine for the closely related A-Panama strain (that is A/Panama/2007/99 along with A/New Caledonia/20/99 and the Type B strain Hong Kong/1434/2002). It is hoped immunization against A-Panama will provide partial protection against A-Fujian.

I get vaccinated every year due to the hundreds of coughing students to whom I am exposed in the course of a week. The Flea does not have time to be sick! It is probably also better for them not have a professor hacking away at the front of the lecture hall or sneezing in the proximity of unmarked examination booklets. If the vaccination means I have an attenuated A-Fujian experience it is still worth getting the partial protection. And I am quite happy to be buffered against flu caused by other viral strains.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at December 13, 2003 10:47 AM


I was annoyed to read a newspaper article Sunday which went on at length about how the FDA had "ignored" the reasoned and wise admonitions of a "top expert" in infectious diseases in not getting a Fujian-specific vaccine distributed this year.

Only buried a dozen or so paragraphs down, almost at the "Continued on page" break, did we find out that the "expert's" opinion was disagreed with by some dozens of other experts at the FDA, both as to the likelihood of Fujian being the flu-of-the-year, and on the risks associated with the proposed vaccine.

But that doesn't make for gripping and controversial reading, I guess.

Posted by: *** Dave at December 15, 2003 10:53 AM