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U.S. health officials have reported another million doses of the Swine Flu (H1N1) vaccines will be available to cities and states, making the total at 23.2 million doses. As the flu continues to spread throughout the country, where 46 states have reported their number of infections and hospitalizations rising, the swine flu continues to be mild for the majority of people.
Health experts urge certain priority groups to receive vaccination. These include pregnant women, infants, and children under the age of 18, senior citizens or anyone who suffers from a chronic health condition. Although officials and physicians have consistently stated the security of the vaccine, families and individuals all around the county continue to question its safety.
According to an article in the New York Times, parents throughout the city are opting out of vaccination: “fewer than half of New York City parents with children in elementary school have given permission for their children to receive the vaccine at school, reflecting some ambivalence about the need for the vaccine or concern about its effects.”
There has been a more significant and unavoidable sense of tension and anxiety this flu season, mostly due to the media’s depiction of a doomsday scenario regarding the Swine Flu. Although I have received the seasonal flu shot on three occasions with no side effects, I will not be taking either the H1N1 or seasonal flu vaccine shots this year.
There is an increased amount of doubt being placed from progressive thinking individuals and groups regarding the truthfulness by the media and the government regarding swine flu, and with good reason.
During the 1976 swine flu pandemic, the United States started one of the most massive vaccination campaigns in modern history to avert the emergence of a swine flu pandemic. 46 million people were vaccinated against the swine flu virus and 4,000 people developed Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), a neurological disease that can lead to paralysis or even death.
Recently, the media’s notorious fear mongering, pandering to the drug companies and the for-profit health care system are also reasons for the confusion and doubt. Many events in recent histoy have sparked this ‘questioning of the answers: 1) debacle with the war in Iraq 2) media fear mongering and lack of oversight and the asbestos scandal, which has lead to thousands developing a rare cancer known as mesothelioma.
Whether or not to receive the H1N1 Flu vaccine is a difficult decision, but one that should be made with caution and sufficient research. In my option, swine flu is real.
However, I, like many others, are taking steps on a daily basis to ensure my immune system is high and my hands are clean: carry hand sanitizer, eat healthy, gargle with salt water, take your vitamins and exercise.
Unless you are an infant, senior citizen, pregnant woman or suffer from any type of chronic health ailment, is there really a need to be vaccinated? It is imperative for those to receive as much news, medical and historical information as possible before making the decision.