Monday, April 26, 2010

Whelan Was Right. Get The Shot!

by Rich Kozlovich

There has been a great deal of talk over the last year as to whether everyone should have gotten the H1N1 flu shot. Personally, I have always thought it was a waste.  Even those I read regularly, and have a great deal of respect for, have disagreed. Dr. Elizabeth Whelan of the American Council on Science and Health (ASCH) has been consistent from the very beginning on this issue. GET THE SHOT!

Wisely or unwisely, I have never had a flu shot in my life. I am not opposed to immunization shots, I got a ton of them in the service, I just didn't think it worthwhile in the case of flu shots.  In my younger years I used to get the flu every year….and I believe that is why I don’t seem to get it anymore. Once exposed to a virus the body then has a certain natural immunization, provided you survived.

Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor for Reuters published an article entitled, 1976 shot may protect against modern swine flu. It turns out that “People who got immunized against the 1976 "swine flu" epidemic that never happened may have benefited from the shots after all -- they may have been protected from the 2009 H1N1 swine flu strain.”

She further points out that “The study, published on Friday, supports a theory that different strains of flu virus cycle in and out of circulation and that getting a flu vaccine every year may protect people from as-yet unseen flu strains in the future.”

Until this article I felt the shots would be a great idea if they knew which strain was going to attack that year, but since they were only guessing....it was a waste.  I have decided that my thinking on this issue has been seriously flawed. Clearly, as the years went by people got shots for different strains in different years. It must be concluded that even if the shot for that strain didn’t attack that year, it would eventually attack in some other year and the body would then have some residual resistance to that strain.

Whelan points out that one of the problems regarding this issue is that the public demands that these vaccines be made available on demand, and then don’t get the shots. What happens to the left over vaccine? It gets thrown away eventually, and this occurs every year. This is costly! Now, that is a waste.

I stand corrected and I am now in complete harmony with Dr. Elizabeth Whelan of the American Council on Science and Health.  Sorry it took me so long Doc.

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