Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Re-considering flu vaccine

This blogger (responding to the Atlantic article) seems pretty reasonable. Yes, there is some doubt in any given flu season as to exactly how much flu is out there, and what exactly the vaccine does, especially when it comes to preventing deaths. But, and it's a big but: the vaccine prevents a lot of its recipients from either getting or spreading the flu. There are costs to people getting sick--they are less able to care for themselves and their families (that's why my wife and I started getting vaccinated years ago), and their employers probably suffer from their absence. Emergency personnel may lose the critical mass of people they need 24/7.

A normal flu apparently spreads more slowly, but kills more those infected, than this year's swine flu. Contrary to the way I've been thinking, this may mean there is more reason to get the vaccine this year. The closer we come to everyone getting vaccinated, the fewer people will get sick with flu.

Of course this blogger can't resist suggesting that one of these years, a flu will once again, as in 1919, kill 5% of the human race. I doubt it.

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