What's worse? Swine flu or vaccine?
A number of our Readers Who Comment are among the many Americans who, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, are wary of getting vaccinated against the swine flu.
Although the shot to attack the H1Ni virus has its defenders, the rapidly growing comment string is full of concerns about government medicine, fears of vaccines, complaints about the unavailability of the vaccine for the H1N1 virus because of the time it has taken to produce, and more than the usual number of nutty theories.
As Rob Stein and Jennifer Agiesta write, "The findings illustrate the dueling challenges the federal government faces in its unprecedented effort to protect Americans against the first influenza pandemic in more than four decades." First there has to be enough vaccine; second the public has to be convinced it needs to take it.
We'll start with a conversation karloski kicked off in writing, "I read all of these comments with interest and some with more than a bit of amusement. What I do not get is the idea of the vaccine being 'unsafe'. What makes people more fearful of the vaccine than of the H1N1 infection? Is there some conspiracy theory running wild out there that I am not aware of? Is the CIA or FSB trying to control our minds or poison us by slyly forcing us to take an unnecessary vaccine? Can some one kindly explain the paranoia factor to me? Cheers."
To which tarded2much replied, "karloski, vaccines are nothing but a more benign version of the flu virus. They can and often do make people sick, but to a much lesser degree. Many healthy people avoid flu vaccines because of that."
Then karloski said, "Hi tarded2much, Many thanks for your reply versus some of the other and more hilarious replies.. I understand the concept of the vaccine and it's production. I suppose we can only blame a woefully inadequate understanding of science in this country for the irrational fears that the production method implies. I agree that it is completely regrettable that even one person should be harmed by a vaccine. Having said that, we have to recognize that as a society we run a much larger danger - in any pandemic not necessarily this one - of infecting many more people because of our fears for ourselves driving us to reject vaccination. Is not the larger good, maybe even that of ones own family, more important than our own selfish fears?"
And now to the other comments:
andycutler wrote, "The challenge for the federal government is to stop lying, stop committing genocide against smart kids with mercury laden vaccines, and put the criminals at the CDC on trial... Anyone who READS the journal papers finds them overwhelming and utterly conclusive in proving vaccines cause autism and many other problems..."
NOTE: A special federal court ruled in February that vaccines do not cause autism and that thousands of families with autistic children are not entitled to compensation.
jollygreen wrote, "The paranoia factor is the general mistrust that American must have in their own medical care system. It is entirely run as a for profit operation, and we capitalists know exactly what that means, "Privatize the Profits, Socialize the Risks". So why shouldn't we mistrust the motives of big medicine and the pharmas?..."
ahashburn, noting that H1N1 vaccine production has lagged behind projections, said, "And people say there will be no rationing in government run health care? See how the government is reacting to the H1N1 gives some insight as how the government will react in other national health care issues in a government run health care program."
ChaosSix wrote, "I love how this article doesn't actually tell us anything useful (like what the observed side effects of the vaccine are, or how many Americans have died of H1N1). It just tells us how people "feel" about the flu and vaccine..."
Georgetowner1 said, "I am not afraid of the vaccinaton. I want the vaccination. Where the hell is the vaccination, that's what I want to know. Gee, a Democrat Federal Government is months slow in its response. If it was a Republican adminstration, the Democrats in Congress would be raging about how uncaring the Republicans are..."
And Leo9 wrote, "Gee, we have years of overhyped dangers of various diseases, followed by fouled-up government-operated vaccine production. Is there any surprise that the citizens have become leery of government actions regarding public health? This applies across party lines and ideology, so both "major" parties are to blame..."
linda_521 said, "Geeze, more american dumbness. Scare people to death, create hysteria; force them to get the shot, brain wash them into getting the shot; Then don't produce enough vaccine to immunization them This is par for the course in the u. s. Everybody will had had this flu, and those that die will already be burried when enough vaccine is available. This is more of the elite, capitolism, culling out the lower, lower middle class. We do need a revolt/revolution in this country."
jjedif wrote, "The vast majority of Americans are science-illiterate, so it's not surprising that so many have been persuaded to forego vaccinations due to bogus claims about safey. It will be their loss."
Shawn1968 said, "I got H1N1 last June with my wife and two girls, ages 5 and 9. It was a bit worse than the regular flu but it wasn't that bad. Big phrama is making a lot of money off of this and they are the same people telling us that we should all take their vaccine. hmmm..."
floof wrote, "The reason people aren't getting vaccinated isn't just because they are worried about the safety. I know plenty of people who want it, but it's so hard to get that people wonder if it's worth the risk of standing in a crowded line for 2 hours to get one. The theory among many friends is that you're more likely to get the flu waiting in line for the shot, since the immunity takes several days to kick in..."
We'll close with clairevb, who said, "Looks like this controversy will clean up the gene pool a bit. Fewer conspiratoids will survive to reproduce. Just feel sorry for their innocent children."
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