"I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust everything I say. I am telling the truth."

--Ursula K. Leguin

November 2009



Layout By

Powered by InsaneJournal
Previous | Next

Public Service: Yes, get the vaccine

Okay, this has come up one my reading lists, so I figured I should give the short version, here.

Very short low-down on swine flu, aka h1n1 novel virus: It's not horribly deadly it just spreads really fast and no one has immunity to speak of, so yes, you should get the vaccine.

Less short but still short low-down: The swine flu is, by and large, no more dangerous than any seasonal flu. It hits with about the same intensity, so we're talking three days to two weeks of general urgh to acute misery. As always, there can be complications that lead to death; that's influenza for you.

The reason it is rated a pandemic is because of how fast and widely it spreads, due to the unfortunate fact that it is a new virus and no one has more than partial immunity. Older people have gotten more flus and have more chance of that partial immunity, young people have less.

The fear, therefore, is mostly that it will hit everyone in an entire area/campus/town all at once and cause severe problems in basic functioning because everyone will be sick at the same time. No groceries, because there's maybe one person well enough to work at the store, no bus routes, no mail, that kind of thing. This is, of course, of especial concern when it comes to health care workers being hit right when they're needed most. If the ambulance drivers and nurses all have 104 fevers for five days, this is a huge problem.

The particular danger signs are intense nausea and the inability to keep food or liquids down, sudden dizziness, shortness of breath, or showing signs of a secondary infection like pneumonia; ignoring those signs and not getting to a hospital if they appear is a stupid thing to do, but that won't stop some people, especially young people who are used to throwing off even bad illnesses. Hence, deaths.

In summary, you should get the vaccine because, even though you may not ever get enough seasonal symptoms to notice, you are probably still a transmitter and the critical point is to stop the spread of this one.
Tags: ,


Oct. 22nd, 2009 06:21 pm (UTC)
Good post. I try and tell people here (outside work) about it and they just roll their eyes at me. This is a nice summary of what the concerns are.
Oct. 23rd, 2009 04:05 pm (UTC)
*nods* It's one of those weird situations where it won't be bad... unless it's bad. And, while there will be a greater absolute number of fatalities, the risk doesn't seem to be any worse than usual, individually.
Oct. 23rd, 2009 01:26 pm (UTC)
I'm hoping to get the vaccine. The problem is availability.

I'm still hoping to get both H1N1 and the seasonal vaccine for my six year old. Her pediatrician's office has been out of the seasonal vaccine and has no idea when they'll get more (and will run out of the 'more' pretty rapidly, assuming they ever do get it).
Oct. 23rd, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC)
*nodnod* Hopefully they'll let you make an appointment/reservation for her.
Oct. 23rd, 2009 04:14 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, because she's six, we have to get it from her pediatrician. They're not sure if they'll be able to get enough for all the highest risk kids, and they're not scheduling anything until they have the vaccine on hand.

For the seasonal stuff, they've had some twice so far this year, and each time, only the families lucky enough to check about it in a narrow window got any. Demand is high, and supply is extremely low. From what I gather, the vaccine for kids is made differently from the vaccine for adults. It doesn't contain preservatives and so only lasts a few days.

The pediatrician's office has no idea when or even if they'll get the H1N1 vaccine.

I heard from a pregnant friend yesterday that the University of Michigan hospital had some but ran out after about three days. She didn't manage to get it during that window because her scheduled appointment was a few days later. They might have more next week when she goes in again, and they might not.