We waited. And waited. We watched those around us get sick. Emergency rooms were overflowing.
It was just a few weeks ago that we all went through a bit of a panic together. H1N1 flu shots were in shorter supply than had been promised, and they were being rationed out to those most at risk: children, pregnant women and people with medical conditions.
People who did get the flu were very sick; many ended up with pneumonia, and some died. No flu is fun and games, but this one seemed particularly brutal.
Now, the shots are plentiful, and we’re not in line. While numbers of reported cases of the swine flu are dropping, our most traditional flu season is just around the corner.
"We have a chance to lessen the impact or even prevent a third wave, and we need to seize that opportunity right now," said Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
A CDC survey done in the second week of December found that about 46 million people had received the pandemic vaccine, The Washington Post reports. About 40 percent were children -- a much higher percentage than in usual flu seasons, when the primary target is elderly people. More from The Post:
“Speaking to reporters, Anne Schuchat, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, urged people to get vaccinated even though the flu outbreak is waning in many places.
"There are a lot of unknowns, but the one thing we do know is that getting vaccinated will reduce the chance of you getting sick, and reduce the chance of the country going through a third wave" of H1N1 spread, she said.”
There have been two recalls of swine flu vaccine, for doses that were determined to not be as potent as they should be. The latest was Tuesday, when AstraZeneca voluntarily recalled some of its vaccine.
Last week, Sanofi-Aventis SA recalled 800,000 doses of its pediatric vaccine.