ATLANTA—Informing the more than 150 million Americans affected by the error that the mistake was “totally our bad,” embarrassed officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that they had accidentally switched all 2018 flu shots with samples of HIV. “Oh, god, we really and truly screwed the pooch on this one. We wish to say we’re deeply sorry, especially to the 59.1 percent of children in the U.S. who received what they had every right to expect were influenza vaccines this fall. Not that it’s anywhere near adequate consolation, but we’re offering a full refund as a partial apology for infecting you with HIV,” said CDC director Robert Redfield, who explained that the two kinds of vials are stocked “really close to each other, and look practically identical.” “We promise to be way more careful in the future. On the plus side, your HIV is only in the acute infection stage, so many of you have a decent amount of time before you develop full-blown acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Yes, obviously, the ideal scenario is to have no life-threatening spectrum of infections destroying your white blood cells, especially—and this is extra embarrassing—during flu season, like it is right now. Man, we were so adamant about you getting these shots in the first place, too.” Redfield encouraged Americans to schedule another flu shot just as soon as the CDC followed up on reports that in the rush to correct the error, some replacement batches had been mistakenly swapped out for anthrax.

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