Thursday, November 03, 2005

Phlu Phobia

I couldn't find the official name for "fear of influenza" on this Phobia List, but it really does need a name. It's going around. In this case it's a fine line between a rational and irrational fear, since we are told that there IS a danger... making the fear rational. Stories like this one help to whip up the frenzy: It's inevitable, say government officials: a pandemic will strike the United States and the impact will be profound. Then there's Bush and his 7 billion dollar plan. I feel safer already.

One of our benefits at work is that annual flu shots are made conveniently available for just a few dollars. we all know what happened last year because of the Chiron snafu, so there were none available, not timely enough anyway, so I skipped it. So this year I was waiting patiently for notification on flu shots, especially in the light of the pandemic scare, and here comes this email:
___ is currently on a waiting list for influenza vaccine, but we have been unable to get confirmation as to if or when we will receive it. ___ is not alone in this dilemma. Like many other medical practices across the nation which have been unable to get vaccine or receive a full shipment of vaccine they've ordered, we are actively pursuing obtaining the vaccine and are contacting our vendor almost daily for information. blah blah...

In the meantime, we encourage those wanting a flu shot to turn to other sources in the community. A helpful link to help locate flu shots available through large retailers is

For information on these flu shot clinics as well as those sponsored by Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services and medical practices in Austin, call "211 Texas" by dialing 211. You can also go to
and follow these steps:
***Go to Step 2 and click on "Find Services by Word
or Phrase"
***Enter "flu" in the search box
***Click on "Flu Shots"

OK, the first link is called find-a-flu-shot dot com. Here is what I see when I go there and try to get information. Personally, I think the domain name is deceptive:
We regret to announce that a number of our flu shot clinics may experience a limited supply of available vaccine. Contacting your local flu shot clinic before you arrive is best in order to determine if an adequate supply of the vaccine is available. We apologize for any inconvenience.

The power outages and devastating consequences of Hurricane Wilma have led to the cancellation of several flu clinics in the affected areas. Prior to visiting your local flu clinic, we recommend that you call ahead to verify the status. At this time, there is no information available about rescheduling the cancelled clinics. We apologize for any inconvenience.

They're blaming it on Wilma? oookaaaaay...

Actually, the second link they provided was helpful. I was able to pull up a whole list of places offering immunizations. Of course they will cost at least $30 instead of $3, but at least something looks available. I will probably hold out while hoping for something cheap, and end up not getting one again this year.

The Centers for Disease Control provides lots of general information on flu, avian or otherwise.

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