The public is so "turned off" that only a fraction of 1 per cent of the elderly and chronically ill persons eligible for flu shots have taken advantage of the vaccine, a government public health official said yesterday.
Only 11,800 of an estimated 20 million eligible persons have received flu shots in the partially resumed immunization program despite widespread flu across the country, said Dr. J. Donald Miller of the Center for Disease Control.
"Perhaps the worst legacy" of the troubled swine flu immunization effort was "a turned off public," he said.
"There's a level of Suspicion about all this that we've never had about a public immunization program in the past," Millar told a flu advisory committee convened by Secretary Joseph A. Califano Jr. of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
Califano asked the 22 doctors, public health officials and other panelists to help the government decide what to do about flu shots next winter.
Calling the swine flu program "the tragedy of the past year," he said the panelists should debate and define governmenthealth policy for flu vacines.
"I know that the 1977-78 season seems distant, but we must resolve these issues now so that the process of manufacturing and distributing the proper vaccines can begin," Califano said.