It's one thing to set a priority list for who should get the first batch of swine flu vaccine, and quite another to convince those who most need the shots to get them.
Behind the scenes at yesterday's CDC meeting of vaccine planners, the experts worried that whatever list they produced could actually wind up reducing the number of people vaccinated.
For example, only 15 percent of pregnant women in America typically get a seasonal flu shot, though it's long been recommended for all of them. Convincing obstetricians to push pandemic flu shots could remain a tough sell, too, the CDC's Pascale Wortley told the expert panel Wednesday. "It is tremendously challenging and has been for a while," she said.
The experts noted that luring teens and college students to get the vaccine won't be easy either -- getting young adults to the doctor is notoriously tough.
Meanwhile, people over age 65, who are strongly urged to get seasonal flu shots and are the most faithful in getting vaccinations, are finding it hard to believe that they're not supposed to get swine flu shots until everyone else has been immunized. The New York Times notes that some doctors watching the proceedings found the guidelines,
"... confusing and impractical, and wondered how physicians would respond when their elderly patients asked for a swine flu shot along with their seasonal flu vaccine."
Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University infectious disease expert, warned the panel not to get too detailed in determining their priority list. The ultimate goal is to immunize as many people as possible. With a second wave of pandemic flu expected to hit U.S. shores in early fall, he said, "the only sin is vaccine left in the refrigerator."