With the unanticipated shortage of the new H1N1 swine flu vaccine, my life as a practicing internist suddenly changed. My office phone began ringing off the hook with worried calls. Fear of the new, unknown vaccine was suddenly replaced by fear of not having it.
This panic was overblown, as the H1N1 flu has been mild in the vast majority of cases.
I contacted the director of the Citywide Immunization Registry in New York, and by late October I was able to procure a small supply (100 doses) of both the inhaled live (but weakened) virus vaccine as well as the injected one made from dead virus. Though I wasn't advertising it, word that I had it soon spread among my patients and friends.