Chicago Tribune blogger Eric Zorn wondered what was up with a “shock radio” commercial for swine flu vaccine this month. So he investigated. Apparently the US Government is not sufficiently in debt: it made grants to all the states to educate us about swine flu. Is there anyone left who needs to be educated? Zorn then went to the CDC site with swine flu statistics, and learned that there is almost no swine flu circulating in the US at this time. (See graph below; we are currently in week 17 of 2010 and there is almost no swine flu to be found.) Here is what the Illinois Health Department told Zorn:
As with any educational campaign, there is a cost. Radio and television stations don’t give prime airtime away for free, no matter what the message is. This campaign cost approximately $2 million – IDPH used public health emergency response funding to pay for this educational ad campaign. The CDC and the federal government recognized the importance of educational campaigns and awarded public health emergency preparedness money to every state, and many major cities, specifically for educational campaigns. The CDC stipulated that the money be used only for H1N1 flu efforts.