Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Swine Flu Update - October 21, 2009

The government keeps telling us that only the children need to get the swine flu vaccine, because that flu is mostly deadly to the children. But when you look at the reported death rates at the CDC, and the census information for age groups, it shows that children are no more likely to die from swine flu than are the people in any other age group. So it appears that the reason they are rationing the swine flu vaccine is because they just don't have enough. And they don't want the rest of us to panic.

(From the Center for Disease Control website):

"What percentage of deaths for 2009 H1N1 flu occur in different age groups in the United States?"

"The percentage of deaths for 2009 H1N1 flu in the United States varies by age group. From August 30, 2009 through October 10, 2009, states reported 292 laboratory-confirmed 2009 H1N1 deaths to CDC. The percentage of 2009 H1N1 related deaths that occurred among people 0 years to 4 years was 3%; among those 5 years to 18 years was 14%; among people 19 to 24 years was 7%; among people 25 to 49 years was 33%; among people 50-64 years was 32%; and among people 65 years and older was 12%. For a graphical representation of this data, please see the chart below. "


As of 2007, the Census reported 6.9% of the population was under the age of 5 (3% of the swine flu deaths). About 18% of the population is reported as being between the age of 5 and 18 (14% of the swine flu deaths). So both groups are actually showing a lower percentage of the deaths than they represent in our population as a percentage. In other words, if swine flu deaths were as likely among all age groups, then the under 5 years of age, 6.9% of our population, would have 6.9% of the swine flu deaths. Instead, they are reported as half that -- 3% of the swine flu deaths). The census reports that about 75% of the population was 18 or older in 2007, yet they represent 83% of the swine flu deaths reported by the CDC, slightly more than their actual percentage of the population. 12% of our population is over the age of 65, and that group represents 12% of the deaths.

The point being that the story being circulated, that the swine flu is more deadly to children so the vaccine must be given to them, and older people don't die from the swine flu so don't need the vaccine, appears to be untrue using the government's own numbers. Now I don't believe much of anything that the government says, but nonetheless. I'm just wondering why the information from the CDC about swine flu deaths does not support their contention that it is mostly deadly to the young.

The official story from the government is that swine flu is only a danger to children, so only the children (and health care providers) will receive the vaccination when it becomes available. Then if there is enough vaccine later on (we are told), other people can get it too. (Want to bet everyone in Congress gets the vaccine before the children do).

The fact is that 76% of the deaths from swine flu in the most recent reporting period were of people 25 years of age and older. Yet that group, 76% of the deaths, is not on the list to receive the vaccination when it becomes available.

The CDC has released a priority list for who should receive the vaccination. First are the children (which most of us would support -- except for the anti-vaccine people), then the health care providers (also makes sense). Pregnant women. But not the teachers of the children, who will most likely be exposed from the germy little kids? No. After those first few groups, only the people with serious medical conditions will get vaccinated. Anyone over 65 is at the back of the line -- forget about it. And everyone over 25 who does not have a serious medical condition, the group that represents 76% of the recent deaths from the swine flu -- no vaccinations for them.

(From the CDC website):
"2009 H1N1 Recommendations: Who will be recommended to receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine?"

"CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended that certain groups of the population receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine when it first becomes available. These target groups include pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, healthcare and emergency medical services personnel, persons between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old, and people ages of 25 through 64 years of age who are at higher risk for 2009 H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems."

"We do not expect that there will be a shortage of 2009 H1N1 vaccine, but availability and demand can be unpredictable. There is some possibility that initially the vaccine will be available in limited quantities. In this setting, the committee recommended that the following groups receive the vaccine before others: pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, health care and emergency medical services personnel with direct patient contact, children 6 months through 4 years of age, and children 5 through 18 years of age who have chronic medical conditions. "

"The committee recognized the need to assess supply and demand issues at the local level. The committee further recommended that once the demand for vaccine for these target groups has been met at the local level, programs and providers should begin vaccinating everyone from ages 25 through 64 years. Current studies indicate the risk for infection among persons age 65 or older is less than the risk for younger age groups. Therefore, as vaccine supply and demand for vaccine among younger age groups is being met, programs and providers should offer vaccination to people over the age of 65."

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