In various news reports this morning, many of us heard about a possible regimen of THREE flu shots this fall: one to fight the yearly seasonal influenza and two more intended to fight the swine flu spreading around the world. Dr. Nancy Snyderman on the Today Show this morning mentioned that a swine flu vaccine will require a large public relations campaign directed toward the American people. She said this as her interviewer, Meredith Vieira, mentioned that she does not normally get a flu shot.
As I watched this exchange I thought of my own public relations campaign that I’ll need to launch on the home front. At first, I thought it would just with my husband who will tell you, “I’ve never gotten a flu shot.” Good for him. I get one every year mostly because I am not so afraid of the flu (though I should be, right?) but terrified of the chaos that would befall my home if I were down for the count. I know: I’m not indispensable, right? Wrong. I am. At least here. But don’t tell anyone . . . But when I brought up this three-shot scenario in the car on the way to school, three fourteen-year-old boys, mine the most vocal and referencing scientific facts that I wasn’t aware of, argued with me and vowed not to be in any line for a swine flu vaccination.
I sort of felt like the shoe cobbler who’s got more obstacles when it comes to his own kids’ feet than his customers in town. Here I was, a few minutes earlier, wondering how the government (the government!!!) was going to persuade us to get immunized for something that will hopefully blow over quite soon. But clearly I’ll have issues closer to home to deal with.
But enough about me. Consider what the Washington Post reported today:
“If enacted, the multibillion-dollar effort would represent the first time that top federal health officials have asked Americans to get more than one flu vaccine in a year, raising serious challenges concerning production, distribution and the ability to track potentially severe side effects.”
It is those possible side effects that will require a quickly assembled health lesson, especially if we can get through this current crisis with as few fatalities as possible.
How will you be involved? Let me know.