For God’s Sake, Get Your Swine Flu Shot

This today from MSNBC:

Flu illnesses are as widespread now as they are at the winter peak of normal flu seasons, Thomas Frieden, director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters. “To be basically in the peak of flu season in October is extremely unusual,” he said.

Barack Obama today declared swine flu a national emergency. Get. Your. Flu shots. Both swine and general. And ask about the pneumonia vaccine. It is grossly irresponsible, if you’re an adult, not to get these shots this season, both for you and your children and grandchildren. If people were to act responsibly this season, mass deaths and misery could be averted, or at least substantially curbed. With a vaccine available, it is frankly immoral to pay such gross disregard for yourself and your community. “No man is an island; each is a part of the main.”

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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4 Responses to For God’s Sake, Get Your Swine Flu Shot

  1. yahstruthseeker says:

    Your kidding right? I sure as heck hope so. For as someone as intelligent as you obviously are – with big words and lots of intellectual talk i would think you would do some research into what exactly is IN the flu shot.
    here is a valid question: IF you decide to get the flu shot and I dont get it – why would I be irresponsible? If the vaccine is effective you should have no problems whatsoever – correct? So there should be no need for govt mandatory vaccination. Another point : on my blog i posted the Fluzone insert and wondering why the hell there is LIVE H1N1 in a SEASONAL flu vaccine. Something is rotten in denmark i would have to say.

  2. santitafarella says:

    Yahstruth:

    No, I’m not kidding. My two kids, my wife and I, all got our swine flu shot, our flu shot, and our pneumonia vaccine. If you were responding rationally to this flu season, that is what you would do also. And yes, I knew that there was live virus in the vaccine. It is breathtaking to me that anyone would decline the flu shots offered this season, imagining them to be somehow more dangerous than the varieties of flu going around themselves. Call your doctor. Ask her if she recommends the flu shot for you. If you don’t follow the advice of your physician, and the scientists at the CDC, what can I say to you? You’re obviously not a rational person if you can simply shrug off the advice of serious medical professionals.

    —Santi

  3. Jared K says:

    Santi,

    I wholeheartedly agree with you on vaccines. Thank you for publicly standing up for reason and for the safety of everyone!

    That said, did you happen to see this in the news?

    http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/dpp/health/dpgo_101309_woman_disabled_by_flu_shot_reaction_dystonia_4027780

    While I feel very sad for this girl, it is clear that the benefits of flu vaccines still, by far, outweigh the rare detriments (obviously, swine flu has already killed thousands–who knows how many lives might be saved by the vaccine?).

    But doesn’t this bring home the uncomfortable reality that we, as a society, are balancing community and individual interests? I’m not saying that we need to mandate flu vaccines (maybe we should?), but isn’t it interesting that that right thing to do here (encourage everyone to get flu shots) does sort of run up against the individualistic notion of leaving people alone to make their own decisions, however ignorant?

    Is it, strictly speaking, authoritarian to encourage, or pressure (or even mandate) others to get vaccines like these that might save thousands of lives?

    What do you think? I’m really intrigued by this community interest vs. individual interest tension.

  4. santitafarella says:

    Jared,

    A belated thank you concerning your communitarian links in an earlier post. I’m thinking about communitarianism. If you have a book to recommend, let me know.

    As to mandates, with regard to vaccines I think it wouldn’t work. I think that you would be going up against the Freudian psyche to force people to be “poked.” I think in this instance, this is a case where Freudian psychology is informative. The government forcing mass vaccinations would be a collective violation (in the minds of people who were afraid of the shot). People would react in neurotic and nutty ways to the whole idea.

    Unfortunately, the only way to get people to vaccinate in large numbers is when they see mass deaths on television. Only when people are scared will they do it. Fortunately, the swine flu is not killing a lot of people. If it starts to, the government won’t have to institute anything. People will start to freak, and line up for the shots.

    One reason that I got my family vaccinated promptly this season (flu, swine flu, and pneumonia) was because, if it gets really bad next month, or in December, people are going to be creating huge lines for the vaccine, and there may be shortages. Hopefully it will just be a humdrum flu season, no worse than usual (which still means 30,000 deaths). I’m happy to let the far right have a “see we told you it was no big deal” moment a few months from now, as opposed to seeing another 60,000 people die. But if hospitals start getting swamped, all the right wing anti-vaccine paranoia will wash away like their inane tea parties. People will be running to the doctor for their shots.

    By the way, the pneumonia vaccine lasts for ten years and can protect you from the complications associated with the flu that can lead to death. That’s a good shot to get (if your doctor is offering it).

    —Santi

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