Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Perspective on H1N1

Having gotten the public convinced that the H1N1 (swine) flu is something to be concerned about, public health officials are now having to work a little harder to ensure that the vaccine is getting to those who are most likely to be hit hard by the disease:
On the one hand, each vaccinated person is one less carrier of the flu, regardless of individual risk. On the other, government officials have set unambiguous priorities based on who is most vulnerable: pregnant women, people who live with or take care of infants under 6 months old, health care workers, anyone 6 months to 24 years of age and people who are older than that but have underlying health problems that make them susceptible to influenza-related complications.
While the seasonal flu we're used to tends to hit those with weakened immune systems hardest, like the elderly, H1N1 causes more trouble for the young. If you're not in a high priority group, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't get vaccinated. Just give some thought to your relative risk...

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