H1N1: Is this Vaccine right for you?
The word Swine Flu, or H1N1: Mention the name and you will strike fear in the hearts of people around the world. More frightening to some than the worldwide recession, H1N1 is known to be quick to spread, is extremely contagious, and on occasion, deadly in otherwise healthy individuals. In the midst of vaccines being distributed and panic over a vaccination shortage, many are asking themselves whether or not they should get the shot at all. One thing is for certain; it's difficult to find straight answers unless you look in the right places.
If there is a flu shot available each year, why is the H1N1 vaccine so controversial? For one, the regular flu is not considered to be a pandemic. Although thousands of people are said to die from the regular strains of flu each year, there are many more dying from H1N1. When an illness strikes the general public as hard as this one has, controversy and speculation run rampant.
Vaccinations are a hot subject to begin with, but few have met with the resistance that has the H1N1 vaccine has. Medical experts state that it is similar to the regular flu shot in that it was created the same way, but it has come under fire due to the quick production of vaccine. Conspiracy theories have run rampant, and if you look Swine Flu Vaccines up on the Internet you will find people discussing outlandish tales as to how the government is trying to kill off the weak and those with medical conditions in order to ramp up for the new health care programs. Misinformation has bred hysteria.
One of the reasons that there is such a level of anxiousness with regard to this vaccine is that until H1N1, the Government has always charged the general public for a regular flu shot. Due to the spread and higher rate of complications, this vaccine is offered for free. Yet another reason is that the elderly have always been the focus on the flu shot, whereas the H1N1 vaccine is being given to the young as a high priority group.
Is this vaccine for you? The Government is urging people, especially those in high-risk categories, to get the vaccination. There are many though, who are passing this vaccine by in favor of taking their chances with the disease. To make an informed decision, you must do your own research. Visit reputable web sites, not blogs or sites posting people's opinions. Sites such as the Mayo clinic and your local Public Health portals will give you the most up to date and accurate information. Ask your doctor or registered nurse for advice. Up until recently, some doctors were on the fence as to whether the shot was necessary. As the vaccine has become available, most are urging their patients to get the shot.
The bottom line is this: Young, healthy people have died from H1N1. Not all of these people, children included, have had underlying conditions that would make them susceptible. It is difficult to know how hard H1N1 will hit you, as the majority of cases have been mild. Only you can make the decision as to which risk is greater: the Vaccination or the Swine Flu itself?
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