Saturday, December 11, 2004

From (flu shot) famine to waste

Like many doctors, I had my order of flu vaccine cancelled because the company I ordered through was selling the Chiron product. Luckily, I had ordered some pediatric doses of flu vaccine just a few days before the bombshell news so I eventually got 10 pediatric doses. Since I didn't have any eligible patients under 3 years of age, I combined 2 doses to make enough for an adult dose and was able to give it to 5 eligible patients. However, I was surprised that even in my small practice, I was having trouble finding patients to give it to. Some of my patients who need it the most still refused to get it, saying they didn't believe in it, or that they had gotten it once and it gave them the flu.

Before I got my small shipment of flu vaccine, I received many frantic calls from patients, both high-risk and not, looking for flu shots, I recall reading about people going across the border to Canada just to get a flu shot.

Now on top of news that the US has secured additional flu vaccine, I'm not surprised to see reports that some flu vaccine may get wasted because either the restrictions were too effective, or many eligible patients are declining to get flu shots.


I'm still in solo practice, just not blogging. I've been steadily seeing about 40-45 patients/month for the past 3 months, so I've reached some steady state for now. I think I'll need to try direct mail advertising to reach ALL the local households if I want to quickly grow my practice. We'll see how I manage that in the coming holiday weeks.