I hope the swine flu outbreak focuses attention on the importance of vaccination.
When you consider seasonal (annual) influenza (which kills ~36,000 per year) and how lackidaisical people are about vaccination, I can only hope that this makes people realize just how important vaccination for annual influenza is. Because I’m guessing, that right about now, people would be lining up for a vaccine.
It’s easy to be sanguine about vaccination, or to ‘debate’ whether vaccines actually work, when such beliefs are viewed as having little or no consequence. But the specter of a pandemic has a funny way of focusing attention. You have to work much harder to justify not getting a flu shot. Suddenly, echinacea and grapefruit seed extract don’t seem so useful (I CAN HAZ VAKSEEN?). As I quipped last week, if influenza were taken seriously, vaccination would be a sacrament.
I don’t want anyone else to die from this, but hopefully, many people will have learned from these deaths, and when the influenza vaccine is released later this year, get a flu shot.
And, of course, WASH YOUR DAMN HANDS!