Tales from the Trail

The First Draft: Achoo

The U.S. government wants you to know the H1N1 swine flu vaccine is safe. FLU/VACCINE-USA

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius blanketed morning television talk shows with basically the one message. “This definitely is a safe vaccine for people to get,” she said on NBC’s “Today” show, urging the public to visit flu.gov.

People are worried, but how much depends on which poll you look at.

A Consumer Reports survey last month found that nearly two-thirds of American parents said they would hold off having their children vaccinated against the H1N1 swine flu or wouldn’t get them immunized at all, expressing wariness about whether the new vaccine had been tested enough.

A Harvard School of Public Health survey earlier this month found that 75 percent of parents would get the swine flu vaccine for their children.

“This flu is a younger person’s flu, kids have no immunity to this flu,” Sebelius said.

It’s going to be a long day for Sebelius. She did the morning TV talk show rounds and will do late-night television tonight appearing on the Jay Leno Show.

from Maggie Fox:

Swine flu update

WHO has given up on trying to keep any kind of precise count on swine flu, which is just about everywhere now. It's fairly mild but hardly anyone has any immunity, so it will infect far more people than seasonal flu does in an average year. That may mean more serious cases and more deaths than usual, just by virtue of sheer numbers.

It is affecting lots of kids but there are some clear guidelines for health care workers to protect themselves and their families.

Lots of companies are working on vaccines, which likely will not be ready for most countries  until the middle of October.  In the meantime, most patients do not need any treatment at all. People with diabetes, asthma, pregnant women and children who seem to have trouble breathing need prompt treatment, however, and the good news is the antiviral drugs still work well.