- - Friday, March 19, 2010


Fess Parker, TV’s ‘Davy Crockett,’ dies

LOS ANGELES — Actor Fess Parker, who became every baby boomer’s idol in the 1950s and launched a craze for coonskin caps as television’s Davy Crockett, died Thursday of natural causes. He was 85.

Family spokeswoman Sao Anash said Mr. Parker, who was also TV’s Daniel Boone and later a major California winemaker and developer, died at his Santa Ynez Valley home. His death comes on the 84th birthday of his wife of 50 years, Marcella.

The first installment of “Davy Crockett,” with Buddy Ebsen as Crockett’s sidekick, debuted in December 1954 as part of the “Disneyland” TV show.


NASA, cruise line got flu shots first

ATLANTA — Last fall, as swine flu cases mounted and parents desperately sought to protect their children, the hard-to-get vaccine was handed out in some surprising places: the Royal Caribbean cruise line, the headquarters of drug giant Merck, the Johnson Space Center and a Department of Energy office in Idaho.

In some cases, financial institutions and other recipients got doses before some county health departments and doctors’ offices, according to records obtained by the Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Even though the federal government spent more than $1.6 billion to manufacture and distribute the vaccine, there is no complete record of where it went.

At least 85 percent of the doses given in the first six weeks went to groups most at risk for flu complications — children and other young people, pregnant women and those with certain health problems, according to an estimate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Wall Street banks and cruise ship companies accounted for a tiny fraction of the 30,000 or so sites getting vaccine in those desperate early days.

Overall, U.S. health officials and a number of outside experts say the vaccination effort went very well.

“It was a remarkable logistical success,” said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. “As with many things in public health, the things that work really well, nobody notices.”

He said that the imperfect database is because of limited money and that the agency’s top priority at the height of the epidemic was to get the vaccine out as quickly as possible.


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