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BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage

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Mary in Kentucky 20 Oct 04 - 09:47 AM
JohnInKansas 20 Oct 04 - 09:37 AM
JohnInKansas 20 Oct 04 - 09:17 AM
Mary in Kentucky 19 Oct 04 - 04:50 PM
Metchosin 19 Oct 04 - 03:48 PM
darkriver 19 Oct 04 - 03:20 PM
nutty 19 Oct 04 - 02:57 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Oct 04 - 01:43 PM
JohnInKansas 19 Oct 04 - 05:00 AM
beardedbruce 19 Oct 04 - 01:41 AM
mg 19 Oct 04 - 01:40 AM
GUEST,Old Guy 19 Oct 04 - 01:34 AM
dianavan 19 Oct 04 - 01:22 AM
mack/misophist 19 Oct 04 - 12:42 AM
CarolC 18 Oct 04 - 10:51 PM
Jack the Sailor 18 Oct 04 - 10:15 PM
Sorcha 18 Oct 04 - 10:14 PM
dianavan 18 Oct 04 - 10:07 PM
mg 18 Oct 04 - 09:27 PM
Stilly River Sage 18 Oct 04 - 08:59 PM
Little Brother 18 Oct 04 - 08:23 PM
Stilly River Sage 18 Oct 04 - 06:41 PM
Liz the Squeak 18 Oct 04 - 05:48 PM
GUEST 18 Oct 04 - 05:15 PM
GUEST,Edwards is the cause 18 Oct 04 - 02:40 PM
GUEST 18 Oct 04 - 02:24 PM
Rabbi-Sol 18 Oct 04 - 02:22 PM
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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 20 Oct 04 - 09:47 AM

That sounds interesting; I'll look for the book.


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 20 Oct 04 - 09:37 AM

Mary in Kentucky -

If you are really really interested in epidemiology, an interesting(???) book might be Armies of Pestilence: The Impact of Disease on History by R. S. Bray, Barnes and Noble Books, ©1996 by Bray, ISBN 0-7607-1915-2 (paperback). It carries a cover price of $9.95, but I believe I picked it up off a Barnes sale table for about $3.50 a while back.

Bray takes the view that most of the great armies had little to do with the "campaigns of empire." The actual battles were mostly decided by the bugs. He gives a very lengthy (and somewhat repetitive) enumeration of the "great plagues" in history, with some comment on how they affected events. About 211 pages of text, 2 chapters on Influenze, 10 or so pages of "Chapter Notes" and a 15 page bibliography.

The discussion of "current problems" is rather brief (but only compared to the rest of the book). It does present a rather complete picture of "who's the enemies" now - amongst the vermin.

For a "cheap" but reasonably scholarly book it's not a bad resource.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 20 Oct 04 - 09:17 AM

Even granting that it was known in August that there were "possible problems" with one supplier's lot, the most aggressive action possible could not have replaced the suspect material.

Assuming that there might have been another supplier capable of producing a replacement for 50% of the US need (there wasn't) -

That supplier would need 45 million fertilized eggs for each of the three viral strains selected for this year. It would take at least a few months to find enough busy chickens to replace the raw stock. There are not enough happy roosters around to do it in less than two or three months. It normally takes at least 6 months to stock the existing makers, and current year production had already been stocked by other makers.

Assuming that the eggs could be found, from initial innoculation of the eggs, through sorting out the ones that developed usable sera, separating, inactivating, and sterilizing the final serum is a multi-month process.

If the FDA had cancelled the contract with Chiron in order to give it to someone else, there still remained the possibility that Chiron would be able to clean up some or all of their supply, based on the evidence in August. Can you spell MASSIVE LAWSUIT?

There was no real reason to cancel the contract in August, since there is no other producer capable of replacing the supply. If Chiron believed then that they could still get some serum out, it probably seemed that the "lesser of evils" was to let them try.

There was no real reason to announce the problem, while there remained a possibility that Chiron could still deliver at least some of their product, since an early announcement of a "possible shortage" would likely have produced an earlier "run" on the existing supply, with even worse scalping and profiteering than has already occured. (One supplier jumped his price from $1 per shot to $60 per shot as it was, according to unconfirmed - but likely reliable - reports.)

In August, there was NO viable way to replace the suspect serum. There was, according to Chiron, a possibility that they could still deliver good serum for at least part of the contract. "Wait and See" seems like at least one of the responsible actions that one might choose in such a situation.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 04:50 PM

mack, I think you're referring to the 1918 epidemic. As you know, I'm interested in epidemiology - but realize I'm way over my head in striving to understand it, much less talk about it. I talked to the CDC about an MS cluster last summer, but they don't have the money to study it.

The book that the movie "Awakenings" was based on can be found at Amazon, here. The following quote is in the review:

The sleeping-sickness epidemic of 1918 caused hundreds of survivors to slip into a bizarre rigid paralysis with similarities to advanced Parkinson's disease.

I found another interesting quote here

Public health authorities have been planning for how to respond to the next influenza pandemic. Given the association of encephalitis lethargica with the 1918 pandemic (and despite the lack of confirmatory evidence), it would be prudent to consider the possibility of a global outbreak of encephalitis lethargica about 12 months following the flu pandemic.

PS: A friend's great-grandfather died in the 1918 flu epidemic.
PPS: I got my flu shot yesterday. I stood in line 30 minutes with another lady who has MS. The current thinking now is for people with MS to get the shot. (MS is a disease of the immune systme, not fully understood.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: Metchosin
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 03:48 PM

Sounds to me as if the US tends to put all its eggs in one basket.


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: darkriver
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 03:20 PM

Dianavan,

the plug was pulled by the UK regulatory agency.
FDA was working with Chiron on some suspect batches of the vaccine. The UK announcement took even the FDA by surprise.

My wife is a microbiologist, and tells me that the bacteria found in some of the UNFINISHED lots is a common environmental organism. During the course of finishing a lot (that is, a specific batch) of drugs, the lot is sterilized. However, nobody's giving details, so I don't really understand what is going on.

As for politics--yes, this stuff was known back in August of this year, and nothing was done about it. After all, it's a Bad Thing when government tries to tell business what to do. Plus the Bush Administration and the Republican party were busy getting ready for the convention....

doug


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: nutty
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 02:57 PM

I'm like Sorcha ...can't have the injection because of an egg allergy.
Only found out after the doctor gave me a jab for the first time.
I was so ill I thought I was going to die.

I was extra careful when I was called for a Pneumonia jab .... had the nurse read all the instructions.
She thought that it would be OK because the only contra-indication was to mercury.
I caused a real stir at the surgery when I told them I was allergic to mercury as well. (I had something called Pinks Disease as a child)

So I'm just keeping my fingers crossed and hoping the germs pass me by.


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 01:43 PM

Here's an article from "Medical News Today" which throws some light into what went wrong in the USA, compared to the UK, which used the same supplier which went toes up - Why did Chiron Flu Crisis Affect USA more than England?

"Last August UK officials, with the same information the US officials had, decided something had to be done in case the Chiron supplies, 14% of UK supplies, went belly up. The US officials decided to believe Chiron and gamble 48% of their supplies on an assurance that everything would turn out fine despite some worrying set backs.

"When October 5th arrived, the British authorities pulled the plug on the Chiron, Liverpool, supplies. US authorities were caught out - nothing had been done in advance, the country had allowed itself to get into this situation."

................................

A lot of the time when we talk about having flu, it's not flu at all, but a bad cold or something else. I had a dose of real flu at Christmas a few years ago, and it was exceedingly unpleasant, especially since it went through the rest of the family.

Ever since I've been sure to get my flu dose as soon as they start giving them out, and I haven't been brought down again.

I wrote a song about it, and I posted it on the Mudcat later - The Millennium Flu


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 05:00 AM

Technology Review Flu Vaccine Production: a "step through" of a brief article on what's required to make flu vaccine.

If you want, you can download a .pdf that really gives you a better picture of how things fit together, but the .pdf is 2.2 MB (it's 2 pages, but MIT uses great graphics) so it took quite a while on my connection.

The gist of it is, if you want to make a flu vaccine:

1. You buy 90 million (9*10^7) fertilized chicken eggs 6 months in advance for each strain of influenza that may need a vaccine. Usually that's been 3 strains in recent years, but you might be asked to do four.

2. You wait for the World Health Organization to guess what strain(s) of influenza will be popular this year.

3. You use samples provided by WHO of the 3 (or sometimes 4) strains that they're "betting on" to infect your eggs with both the influenza strain and a "harmless" carrier virus (remember 90,000,000 eggs per strain).

4. You incubate the eggs long enough for the viral payload to multiply.

5. You extract the viral material from all of the eggs - or course keeping the material from each egg separate, because the next step is to:

6. Sort through all the viral material obtained and find the samples that contain both the correct influenza viral signature and the right carrier viral material. (Enormous crap shoot here - with extremely variable yields)

7. Chemically inactivate all the "good samples" and package it up for distribution.

8. Chemically inactivate all the "not good samples" and put them in a hole somewhere.

8. Wait for the lawsuits to start.

If, as happened this year, you run into a glitch anywhere in the process, you chemically inactivate all the viral material from all of the eggs, and then you dig a very large hole and put 90 million (or 3 or 4 times 90 million) eggs in it and cover it up. Since it takes several months to get through the whole process, there is no way to recover within any single flu season.

Anybody want to go into this business?

The article linked describes an alternate method for replicating the sample viruses that WHO provides, that would eliminate the "crap shoot" over which are the good eggs and which are the useless ones; but it's at least 5 years from being proved safe, and being accepted by the international regulatory agencies, and thus far has been "demonstrated" only for small quantity production.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: beardedbruce
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 01:41 AM

OG,

You keep missing the point. If something bad happens, it MUST be because of Bush. If something good happens, it is those fearles liberals standing up to Bush.

You had best get this straight before the election, of you may end up getting "re-educated" when the side of good and light defeats the side of evil. Wrong-thinking is punishable...


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: mg
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 01:40 AM

For starters, you would eliminate frivolous law suits, but you would also eliminate some, many, very legitimate law suits. I don't know what the answer is, and I am certainly for reform, but that would put such a chill on the process that it would reek of injustice for the less financially able. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: GUEST,Old Guy
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 01:34 AM

In most other countries, you pay the defendants costs when you loose a law suit. Plus when you loose they can sue for damages.

This eliminates frivolous suits where they get you to settle to get them off your back.

Why don't we have this in America?

How is tort reform ever going to happen when almost all of the law makers are lawyers? Maybe Americans can band together and not vote for any lawyers. After 10 or 20 years Congress would be lawyer free enough to pass tort reform.

Call it the Citizens Tort Reform Coalition.

Frivolous lawsuits are another reason American companies are going offshore.

Old Guy


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: dianavan
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 01:22 AM

Sorcha - I can no longer have flu vaccine for the same reason. I didn't know I was allergic to eggs until I rcvd. a vaccine that had been grown in an egg medium ( a live vaccine). Once the vaccine had left my body (almost a year), I was no longer allergic to eggs. It has been suggested that I be immunized with the synthetic vaccine, which is not grown in an egg medium - I think I'll pass. The allergic reaction was unpleasant and plagued me for a year. I had to adhere to a very strict diet to get my body back to normal.

Jack the Sailor - Yes, there are waiting lists: especially for elective, or non emergency surgery. I'm not saying that it is a perfect system (we have been experiencing severe cut-backs) but if the level of funding were to be restored, we would probably have a decent system. Funny how they cut-back and then say the system is dysfunctional.

When I needed knee surgery, my care was excellent. I had to go to emergency on a long week-end (everyone's worst nightmare). The doctors got right on it! I was in surgery Tuesday morning and my physio was excellent - the same as any athlete. My crutches cost some $$$, the physio was 20.00 a session and the drugs also cost a bit. All of the above was re-imbursed by my extended medical plan. Everything else was free (premiums are paid by my employer). Cost to me - 0.

Basically, the propaganda about our health care is about creating a two-tier system where the poor get one level of service and the rich get another. At present we all use the same system of delivery. Its time to increase the funding.

d


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: mack/misophist
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 12:42 AM

Mary Garvey had an interesting idea about our immune systems but in this case she was incorrect. "The Flu" that comes along each winter is always a fresh mutation. The virus is endemic in water fowl. Each year when they migrate to central Asia, the various strains meet and mix to produce a new variety. Most years it's minor. Some years, not. The point is, that a new vaccine is necessary each time. But most of us don't really need the shot unless we're in a high risk group and it's a bad variant.

Note. A few years ago it was discovered that the great Influenze pandemic of 1916 (?) was an early variety of swine flu. 40 million dead, more or less, in about 18 months. They still don't know why.


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: CarolC
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 10:51 PM

Sounds like someone is blackmailing US citizens to get us to agree to Bush's idea of acceptible tort reform. "Give us what we want, or we'll make sure you get the flu".


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 10:15 PM

no waiting list dianavan?

:)


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: Sorcha
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 10:14 PM

You all go ahead and get the shot. I won't. Allergic to eggs which is what the vaccine is incubated in. I'd rather have the flu (I did last year). Somebody else can have my shot.


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: dianavan
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 10:07 PM

Edward is not the cause of the vaccine shortage - it is the FDA that is the problem.

We have the same drug regulations in Canada as in the U.S. and should be able to sell our extra million doses to the U.S. but its hung up in the FDA.

Bush said he was workin' on it with Canada in the last debate. Maybe he should be workin on the FDA. Even if he starts workin' on it today it will take three weeks to ready the shipment for delivery. Lets face it, if Bush cared about health care in the U.S., this shortage would not have occurred.

By the way - for all of you who think socialized medicine is a 'bad deal'...

To get my flu shot, all I have to do is sign up. If 10 or more people in my workplace want it, a public health nurse will set a date and come out to the workplace and give us our injections. It soesn't cost a cent. Pretty shoddy, eh. Meantime, back in the U.S.A.....


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: mg
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 09:27 PM

I wonder what we are doing to our immune systems though, those of us who are basically healthy....shouldn't we make them work out now and then? It scares me to think of children not being able to not have flu now and then...although the logistics with working parents etc. would be factor....what if big bugs come our way? Won't we be collectively weaker? mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 08:59 PM

Yeah? Have you ever put this to the test? (I can't imagine anyone in her right mind wanting to test this theory with you if you have the flu--but perhaps you're merely thinking of your old pal Rosy Palm?) Even then, I can't imagine it. I had the Asian flu when I was a kid and use that as the yardstick by which I measure "The Flu."

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: Little Brother
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 08:23 PM

"What good is having an erection if you are in bed with the flu and too sick to use it ?"   

It would take more than the flu to put me out of business. - LB


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 06:41 PM

I took my kids in to their pediatrician on the Saturday before this news broke for a "flu clinic" and they got their shots. I planned to get mine during the following week at the university where I work but that plan soon evaporated. Looks like I'm in limbo this year. First year I haven't gotten the shot in about 15 years.

In years past the flu vaccine wasn't all used, some of it went to waste, depending on where it was being distributed. I'd be willing to bet that many of the people who are so desperate to get the shot this year haven't gotten them in the past. It's all to do with the perceived notion of scarcity.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 05:48 PM

I just know that despite being in a high risk category, I've only ever had flu when I've had the vaccine. The years I don't have the vaccine, I've not had flu.

Whether it's coincidence or not, it's not really a good advert for taking the vaccine for me....

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 05:15 PM

we all know it is Bill clinton's fault!


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: GUEST,Edwards is the cause
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 02:40 PM

Protection for vaccine makers
Product liability concerns continue to hinder vaccine development | By Lynne Lederman

Lawsuits are continuing to have a chilling effect on vaccine producers, both reducing the number of companies willing to get into the vaccine business and raising the costs of development, according to legal and industry representatives at the Vaccines meeting held October 22–24 in Arlington, Va. (cosponsored by The Scientist). On the gathering's first day, legislation to limit class-action lawsuits and large damage awards against corporations failed by a single vote in Congress, killing the bill (S 274) for this year and leaving meeting attendees predicting a negative effect on the vaccine industry.

"We don't believe lawyers should exist. They have ruined the vaccine industry and made it impossible to get insurance," said one angry attendee, Stan Yakatan, an industry consultant with Katan Associates in Hermosa Beach, Calif., and a former venture capitalist.

"Class actions are profitable primarily to lawyers," said Neal Halsey, director of the Institute of Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins University. "The frequent resolution of these cases by settlement provides the incentive for more lawsuits which do not depend upon scientific evidence," he said.

A number of conditions have been falsely attributed to vaccines, Halsey noted. The public fails to understand that when one event follows another, they are not necessarily causally related. For example, he said, the public has been reluctant to accept that the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine or thimerosal-containing vaccines do not cause autism, despite elegant studies demonstrating this, such as those conducted by Kreesten Madsen at the University of Aarhus in Denmark.

Certain state courts have certified class action suits that should not have been allowed and have admitted "junk science" in the guise of expert testimony, said Victor E. Schwartz, an attorney with Shook, Hardy & Bacon, in Washington, D.C. One tactic of plaintiffs' lawyers has been to vilify the potential defendants to the media in order to affect public opinion long before the trial takes place, Schwartz said. "This can be done with any medicine, no matter how benevolent."

The remedy, Schwartz suggested, lies in part with a compensation program like the one covering childhood vaccines that would cover all vaccines and all the ingredients, including preservatives, other than adulterants, as well as in public education.

Vaccine producers should be immunized from attack by trial lawyers, said James M. Wood, an attorney with Reed Smith Crosby Heafey in Oakland, Calif., who represents manufacturers of prescription medicines and medical devices. These product liability cases ignore the contributions of vaccines to public health and safety, he said.

And without appropriate product liability protection for vaccines for bioterrorism agents, there will be mass tort litigation, Wood warned. "It is a pipe dream that trial lawyers would accept a moratorium on lawsuits for bioterrorism vaccines," he said.

Although the National Childhood Vaccination Injury Act—which is funded by taxes on each dose of vaccine and provides relief to those suffering adverse events due to vaccination—is a good no-fault model, it is still possible for individuals to pull out of the act and to litigate, Wood noted.

Vaxgen of South San Francisco was able to purchase product liability insurance for the anthrax vaccine it';s developing, said Chief Executive Officer Lance Gordon. The cost is reimbursed by the government, which is funding anthrax vaccine development, as long as the company can prove that their costs are fair and reasonable said Gordon. Vaxgen did so by pointing out that their insurance cost per dose is what the government currently taxes for pediatric vaccines. But "the RFP Vaxgen responded to did not address the issue of insurance at all," Gordon noted, "and there is nothing reliable existing in current legislation regarding liability insurance."
Links for this article
Vaccines: from Political, Socio-economic, Scientific Provider, User, and Legal View Points Conference, Arlington, Va., October 22–24, 2003
http://gtcbio.com/ebrochure/vaccine%20brochure.pdf

K.M. Madsen et al.," A population-based study of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and autism," New England Journal of Medicine, 347:1477-1482, November 7, 2002.
[PubMed Abstract]

K.M. Madsen et al., "Thimerosal and the occurrence of autism: negative ecological evidence from Danish population-based data," Pediatrics, 112:604-606, September 2003.
[PubMed Abstract]

J.D. Miller, "Vaccine deal turnaround," The Scientist, July 4, 2003.
http://www.biomedcentral.com/news/20030704/06/


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Subject: RE: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 02:24 PM

You always need something to stir your lem sip though?


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Subject: BS: Flu Vaccine Shortage
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 02:22 PM

It is a crying shame that in the USA, the richest and most technologically advances country in the world, we should face shortages of Flu vaccine that could save many lives. Why is it that we have a shortage of this vaccine, and on the other hand have a plentiful supply of drugs to treat Erectile Dysfunction. What good is having an erection if you are in bed with the flu and too sick to use it ?   
                                           SOL ZELLER


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