The Los Angeles Times today reports that a widely available pneumonia vaccine might substantially reduce your risk from dying of the swine flu virus (H1N1) this fall. My family is planning to request the vaccine from our physician.
Money quote from the Los Angeles Times article:
Most physicians would probably give the vaccine to patients who are not in one of the high-risk groups, but who ask for it anyway. Dr. Linda Rosenstock, dean of UCLA’s School of Public Health, speculates that Pneumovax has not been promoted more heavily because the H1N1 pandemic has so far been perceived to be milder than seasonal flu. If the virus mutates to become more deadly, then the recommendations will become stronger, she believes. But she argues that increased efforts should be made to vaccinate more people. “As a public health measure, it makes sense to target the groups we would be most worried about, independent of the pandemic.”
The benefit of getting the vaccine, even without taking account of the swine flu pandemic, is that it provides at least some degree of protection through ten flu seasons.
Read the full Los Angeles Times article here.