Did you get/are you getting vaccinated?
I know some people are fed up with H1N1 right now, but it’s hard not to talk about it. Since the beginning, I’ve been trying to find a sensible balance between flu hysteria and what a FB friend called the “vaccine Che Gevaras”, people who are on a mission to find yet another conspiracy into this.
Here’s what I’d like to say to both sides:
1- People, calm down. Your kid did not get H1N1 because he’s been coughing slightly and certainly does not need to be taken to the ER, where, arem, people are REALLY sick! Try to put things back in perspective: you’re not that scared of the regular flu (which affects and kills as many people), are you? Stop believing and panicking over everything you hear, it’s not helping (media, I’m pointing the finger at you. It’s one thing to give information and another to propagate fear. You have a big responsibility: please be aware of that and stand up to the challenge). Try not to forget that most people are NOT getting the flu, and that the vast majority of people who do get it will be FINE.
2- All drugs and vaccines have side effects. The pharma industry is there to make money, and there have been really
criminal questionable practices in the past. But it’s not the devil either, and it’s not at all in its interest to make you sick or cause you trouble. As long as you’re thoughtful and weigh your options carefully, I have no problem if you choose not to get vaccinated. But actively bashing vaccination and relentlessly coming up with completely loony and far-fetched arguments is really not going to win you credibility points. You know, poor grammar presentations including the sentence: “what *they* don't want you to know about” as well as scary background music are not usually a reliable source of information. Yes, there’s a chance that in 5, 10, or 25 years someone could find out that this vaccine was dangerous. But it’s also the case with many foods, cleaning products, cooking and eating supplies, cosmetics, and other things. I’m not totally pro-modern-medicine-let’s-prescribe-drugs-for-anything, but if there’s one thing it has done right, it’s vaccines. It’s OK to doubt, it’s OK to question, but I think at some point one must have some faith in public health authorities.
LP got his shot last week, and he developed side effects (very sudden high fever, shaking all over, excessive sleepiness, aches… -it stopped just as abruptly after 18 hours) that made me freak out a little and doubt myself, I admit it. It was not cool but now at least I know his system has built up a defense against the virus, and it made me realize how sick he could have been with the real flu and how difficult this could have been for all of us…
Not being on the priority list, M and I need to wait two more weeks in order to get the shot ourselves (the first few weeks were reserved for health workers, children, pregnant women, and people with special, chronic conditions). You can rest assured that we all will, if only because my office has a flu policy where I would need to stay home for 7 to 10 (unpaid) days if I ever get sick or get in close contact with someone who is… Seems a bit harsh, but I don’t mind, I can understand that this is for the greater good and actually like the fact that they are prepared (they also have a disaster plan where they would simply close down the office if a certain threshold of sick employees is met). We have regular updates and briefings, whereas in comparison, M’s office has not even mentioned the pandemic once. In fact, it’s probably the case for most workplaces, and it somehow worries me. No need to be hysterical about it, but I think regarding these things over-preparedness is much, much better than possible chaos entailed by the opposite.