Sunday, October 4, 2009

The flu vs. non-experts!

I just found out this article online. The story comes down to this: We have a vaccine for H1N1, but many people don't want to get it because it's unsafe, or so they say. Here are a few quotes from the article:

"Experts stressed that the vaccine was made the same way it is every year and there is no reason to think it will pose any greater risk. Serious side effects involving the seasonal vaccines are extremely rare."

Then, a few paragraphs below:

"We are concerned that the H1N1 vaccine is too new and too untested to be given to such a young child," said Jenn Lewis, an attorney who lives in the District and has a 9-month-old daughter. "We would prefer that our child not be a 'guinea pig' for the vaccine."

All that comes to my mind after reading the article is a quote from PiT:


Since when do people know so much about virology and medicine? The article doesn't mention whether or not the people that are against H1N1 vaccine also refuse to get the seasonal flu vaccine every year. If they do get it every year, then they really have some (wrong) preconceptions about the flu vaccine. Every year, a group of knowledgeable people (in the field of course) make a guess as to what strain of the flu will go around and that's what they put in the vaccine. Some years they guess right (or close enough) that the seasonal flu vaccine is a success, and some other years they miss miserably and it maybe would've made little difference not to get it.

Do you know the difference this year? The H1N1 vaccine is 100% dead on the virus strain. That means that, as long as the virus doesn't mutate (at least significantly), if you get the vaccine you will NOT get the "swine flu".

"From what I've read and what I've heard, all it causes is just a mild case of the flu," said Laura Reavis of Buford, Ga., who has no plans to go for shots herself and no inclination to inoculate her 2-year-old daughter, Rebecca, and 6-month-old son, Woodrow. Her husband, Daniel, plans to pass, too. "You get sick for a few days or maybe a week, get over it, and life goes on." (Emphasis added by me)

This response wouldn't be so bad if most people who thought like this and got sick would just stay home and contain the spreading. The problem is they will go to work (who, other than grad students and professors :D, can afford to not work these days, right?) and cough everywhere and really make no effort to stop passing it on to others. That is why vaccines are so important. That's exactly why vaccines are ranked high up in medical advancements.

For those who are against vaccines, really go learn (from unbiased) sources about how vaccines are made and about immunity (in particular herd immunity).

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