Media generate flu shot panic

    Based on historical rates of influenza vaccination in this country, the Centers for Disease Control estimate that only 42.8 million Americans in the government's targeted "priority group" will actually bother to get immunized in 2004. Thanks to the media hype, many of those folks are not getting the flu shot because they think someone else needs it more than they do.

    Aventis Pasteur, the U.S. manufacturer, is providing 58 million doses this season. And there are an additional 3 million doses of the nose spray from MedImmune.

    Can anyone explain why the media generates panic among our citizens, when every person who needs or wants to be immunized against the flu can be?

    If freedom of the press is to survive, then those who claim to be reporting the news to us will have to develop a greater sense of responsible journalism.

Michael S. Cole, M.D.
22 December 2004
Southwest Times Record