Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Avian Flu Poo

Every year, one of the doctors in my building gives me crap about not getting a flu vaccine. Every year, I explain to him why I do not get the vaccine. Every year, he gets ill multiple times throughout flu season while I do not. One would think that he would give up trying to give me unsolicited advice and worry about his own immune system.

This year, he countered my rationale with "Well, you know, we could have a pandemic on our hands with this whole avian flu thing".

I hope this man is not your doctor.

Get the facts.

From the World Health Organization Avian Flu Facts sheet:

What is the status of vaccine development and production?
Vaccines effective against a pandemic virus are not yet available. Vaccines are produced each year for seasonal influenza but will not protect against pandemic influenza. Although a vaccine against the H5N1 virus is under development in several countries, no vaccine is ready for commercial production and no vaccines are expected to be widely available until several months after the start of a pandemic. Some clinical trials are now under way to test whether experimental vaccines will be fully protective and to determine whether different formulations can economize on the amount of antigen required, thus boosting production capacity. Because the vaccine needs to closely match the pandemic virus, large-scale commercial production will not start until the new virus has emerged and a pandemic has been declared. Current global production capacity falls far short of the demand expected during a pandemic.

4 Comments:

At 2:12 PM, Blogger Piece of Work said...

I never get the flu vaccine either--since I have only had the flu once in my life--25 years ago-- I tend not to worry about it. I don't get it for my kids either, which my old pediatrician understood. THe new one is trying to make me feel guilty about it, though.

 
At 2:20 PM, Blogger wrnglrjan said...

I've never had one (nor have I ever had the flu) but this year I'm getting pressure for me (I'm 33 weeks pregnant) and for my daughter (17 months) to get them.

Please tell me your reason(s) so I can verbalize them for myself. It's difficult when the doctor says you should ...

Jan

 
At 9:58 AM, Blogger she falters to rise said...

I don't get the vaccine because I'm not in a "high risk" category nor am I working in "high risk" environments (elementary schools, college dorms, patient regions of the hospital). I also take better care of myself than the average american (diet, exercise, sleep, etc.). My family has a history of not being able to get flu vaccines due to adverse reactions, so I would rather not have one unless the cost outweighs the benefit. For this reason, I'm very cautious during flu season to wash my hands frequently, clean public computer keyboards and phones, and to not touch my mouth or eyes without first having cleaned my hands.

I think we forget that given the luck of being a relatively healthy person with a strong immune system, our bodies can be primed for an attack by all sorts of insults.

The decision to get a flu shot should be based on your physical health, your exposure risk, your ability to handle the flu shot without adverse consequences, etc--the reasons I do not get one may not be a good rationale for you not to get one.

 
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