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As the US government prepares to hand out more than 250 million free doses of vaccine for the H1N1 virus, health officials are confronting fear and misinformation. What is the H1N1, or swine flu, as it's commonly known? Who should take a vaccine against it? By taking early precautions to combat the flu, has the government caused more anxiety than necessary? Also, Also, Afghan terror suspect, Najibullah Zazi, enters a plea in federal court, and placebos, or sugar pills, are making people feel better. Pharmaceutical companies  want to know why. Sara Terry guest hosts this rebroadcast of today's To the Point.

Banner image: A dose of flu vaccination is administered during an exercise at TC Williams High School September 11, 2009 in Alexandria, Virginia. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Making News Terrorism Suspect Pleads Not Guilty 7 MIN, 13 SEC

In New York today, a man suspected of plotting to set off a bomb near the anniversary of 9/11 has pleaded not guilty to a conspiracy indictment. Afghan immigrant Najibullah Zazi was arrested last week in Denver on charges of lying to the FBI, before being transferred to New York. Tina Susman, national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, was in the courtroom.

Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times (@TinaSusman)

Main Topic H1N1: What You Need to Know, What You Need to Do 33 MIN, 23 SEC

By early next week, the first batch of some 250 million swine flu vaccine treatments will be available free, paid for by the American government. In an unprecedented preventive campaign, health officials are trying to blunt the impact of the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, as it’s commonly called. But symptoms are described as a mild influenza. Is the public overreacting? Is the media getting the story right? What do you need to know? What do you need to do?

Jeffrey Kahn, Chief of Infectious Diseases, Children's Medical Center
Amanda Ripley, journalist and author (@amandaripley)
Georges Benjamin, Executive Director, American Public Health Association
Serena Vinter, Senior Research Associate, Trust for America's Health

The Unthinkable

Amanda Ripley

Reporter's Notebook Big Pharma and the Placebo Effect 8 MIN, 51 SEC

A funny thing keeps happening on the way to getting new drugs approved by the FDA. Placebos, or sugar pills, are beating out new blockbuster medicines in test trials, causing a series of setbacks for big pharmaceuticals. Steve Silberman is a senior writer at Wired magazine.

Steve Silberman, Senior Writer, Wired Magazine

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