Worried parents stalk the elusive swine flu vaccine

An orderly but alternately resigned and annoyed crowd lined up outside a Rockville clinic Wednesday seeking to nab some of a limited supply of H1N1 flu vaccinations.
By Petula Dvorak
Friday, October 23, 2009

They are whispering on the playgrounds and in the parks.

"Hey, I hear they've got it at this private school. I think I can get in and get some," one mom tells another.

"Should I camp out overnight?" a particularly nervous one asks.

"Go to the schools in Southeast; they have a ton over there and no crowds," others advise.

All over the Washington region, parents and parents-to-be are looking to score.

When it comes to swine flu, or H1N1, it's total madness.

About 400 people showed up this week at Cardozo High School in the District for the swine flu vaccine, and more than 1,000 waited in Rockville. Officials had to get bullhorns. The police came.

It's a scene out of "Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory," with hordes clamoring for the golden ticket.

Our federal agencies might have been slow to talk about HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases and a bevy of other health concerns in years past.

But this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been so aggressive and effective in convincing Americans that they need the H1N1 vaccine that ordinarily reasonable parents are running around like a bunch of jonesing addicts looking for their next fix.

I am seriously expecting to hear about black market rates soon.

Often, I am at the epicenter of parental insanity, ready to bumper-guard my furniture, lash my children to my side or blast them with Mozart if experts suggest it.

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