The Washington Post reported on the "scramble to parcel out the H1N1 vaccine". This is an interesting article about how people have been affected by the lack of availability of H1N1 vaccine at this point.
(1) Some people are making a lot of calls looking for the vaccination. The plan, of course, was to have people getting vaccinated at this time. Plans were made for what the article calls a massive vaccination campaign. The resources that could have been used for such a massive campaign now must wait to be used while other people are handling far more phone calls than expected. Not a very efficient use of resources, although not totally within anyone's control and certainly not by choice. Points to the difficulty of planning under uncertainty--a key facet of economics.
(2) The article also notes "incomplete or conflicting information on state and local government Web sites". This would be viewed as bad in general. It is viewed as particularly disadvantageous from an economics perspective where choices are supposed to be made with full and accurate information. So, even if people want to make rational choices, it is made difficulty by the failure to provide all the information necessary.
(3) A note that confidence in the government's ability to respond is down. This may or may not affect this influenza issue much but is bound to affect how people plan for future infectious disease issues or disasters. If people do not feel they can rely on central planners, they will need to plan for themselves. To a degree, this is fine and probably appropriate. However, if high levels of coordination are needed for future responses and people are acting in their own interests and feel averse toward listening to authorities they do not trust, this could affect the ability to respond efficiently.
(4) The demand for the vaccination is varying around the country--at least in part correlated with the spread of the virus. This demonstrates the basic response to take more preventive steps when the perceived threat is higher.
Just a few examples of basic economic concepts being demonstrated by people's behavior with respect to H1N1 vaccinations.
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