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The Swine Flu Affair: Decision-Making on a Slippery Disease
27. For full text see HEW press release, December 16, 1976.
28. Memorandum from the Secretary of HEW to the President, "Outbreak of A-Victoria and Formation of Ad Hoc Committee," February 4, 1977.
29. Washington Post, February 8, 1977, p. A2, Col. 1, continuation of article entitled "Limited Flu Shot Plan Urged" by Victor Cohn, p. Al, Col. 6.
30. New York Times, February 10, 1977, p. 38, Col. 1, editorial entitled, "The Califano Prescription for Flu."
31. Washington Post, February 13, 1977, p. C6, Col. 1, editorial entitled, "Swine Flu: Letting the Sunshine In."
32. United States Senate, Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, Subcommittee on Health, Hearings, September 23, 1976, p. 57.
33. Office of Assistant Secretary for Health, Contract 263-77-e-0076, Reports and Recommendations of the National Immunization Work Groups, "Research and Development," March 11, 1977, p. 4.
34. The trivalent vaccine recommended for use during the winter of 1978-79 was to include first, vaccine against Russian flu; second, vaccine against Victoria or Texas flu, and third, vaccine against the prevailing strain of mild, type-B virus. For discussions of nomenclature see the Technical Afterword.
35. See note 4.
36. In 1976 Carballo was human resources Secretary in the State of Wisconsin; Goldmark, who had held a comparable post in Massachusetts, was Director of the New York State Budget; Stevens was Goldmark's successor in Massachusetts as Secretary for Human Resources.
37. In the course of this study we screened tapes and read summaries of all relevant evening news shows on all three networks from February 1976 through March 1977. Tapes and summaries were made available by Vanderbilt University. We also read applicable transcripts of all CBS News coverage, evening, morning and radio. These came to us courtesy of CBS News. For press and magazine coverage we used clippings compiled contemporaneously for CDC. We subsequently interviewed reporters and others in both types of media.
Another view of coverage in the media is offered by David M. Rubin, "Remember Swine-flu?" Columbia Journalism Review, July/August 1977. Surveying samples of TV and press coverage for the week of excitement over temporally-related deaths in Pittsburgh (October 11-17, 1976), Professor Rubin finds reporting generally "… neither sensational nor inaccurate. On the contrary it faithfully reflected the confusion among public officials…." This squares with our impression throughout the 13 months. Rubin is concerned for the profession of journalism. (He trains journalists at NYU.) He wishes his professionals had done much better than they did. We who train public servants feel we have to take the journalism "as is." For what it is worth, we think the swine flu coverage rather better than average. Our concern is with that confusion among officials.
Rubin has also put his findings before doctors with suggestions to improve per-