H1N1 Shots Widely Available, but Do People Want Them?

"Now that the 'crisis' is over, I hear that the vaccine may be readily available. ... This entire situation was a farce. The announcement of the urgency for people to be immunized did not match up to the availability of the vaccine," wrote Williams, who says she does not want to be vaccinated any longer.

Others were so fed up hearing about the H1N1, and other threatening infections in the media, that they didn't believe there was a threat with the new flu virus in the first place.

"I won't get one, and I don't get the regular flu vaccine," said Wes Marques, of Bentonville, Ark. "It's just one of those things for more medication and for people to worry about because people see something on the news -- it's like the SARS thing and the avian flu, and it will be the same thing for the H1N1."

But doctors say they cannot guarantee that the seasonal flu will be mild this year, or that there won't be another wave of H1N1 outbreaks.

Doctors Don't Know if H1N1 Will Return

Whitley estimates between 50 million and 70 million Americans have already been infected with H1N1.

"At least for 2009, H1N1 people think that the disease has come and gone, but they need to remember that the lessons we have learned from the past indicates there could be a second wave of the pandemic," said Whitley, who is also professor of pediatrics microbiology medicine and neurosurgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Although timing might be on doctors' minds, ABC News most often heard from people who were convinced the H1N1 vaccine was a ploy to make money.

H1N1 and Profits

"It was clear to me from the beginning that the H1N1 swine flu 'pandemic' was nothing more than a hoax perpetuated by big pharma to drive vaccine sales," Barbara Atkinson of Phoenix wrote in an e-mail to ABCNews.com. "The fact main stream [sic] media and the White House perpetuated the lie is nothing short of contemptible."

Yet experts say vaccines make pharmaceutical companies little money compared with other medications, and doctors who administer the vaccines don't make much profit either.

"There is no profit for the H1N1 vaccine. The federal [government] purchased H1N1 vaccine to ensure every American who wants to be vaccinated is able to be vaccinated. Public health is not a profit-driven endeavor," said Quartarone of the CDC.

"Your local health department who is charging an administrative fee, is certainly not making money off of it," he added.

Dr. Scott Gorenstein, an emergency medicine physician in Long Island, N.Y., also believes it's a public misconception that vaccines are a particularly big money-maker. Gorenstein estimates the drugs taken daily like blood pressure or cholesterol medication are far more profitable.

"Vaccines, much to people's dismay, don't really make money for the pharmaceutical companies," said Gorenstein. "It's a onetime dose, and it's less likely that you're going to get a payday for this."

Gorenstein is especially adamant about dispelling H1N1 myths after his 4-year-old son almost died from the virus this November.

H1N1 Virus Can Be Deadly

"He started coughing on Thursday, Nov. 19, at midnight. By 1 or 2 in the afternoon Friday, he was in respiratory distress," said Gorenstein.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...