H1N1 vaccine controversy

Federal health authorities are encouraging everyone to get the H1N1 vaccine. According to the World Health Organization, the H1N1 vaccines have been proven to be safe, and they have the same degree of effectiveness as the vaccine for seasonal influenza. No adverse effects has been noted.

However, there are people who don't want to be vaccinated. Opponents of the new vaccine argue that most deaths attributed to H1N1 have been linked to underlying medical conditions. Healthy people can fight off the swine flu, like they can fight off the regular flu.

According to columnist Shelley Fralic, there is no need for healthy people to get vaccinated. The H1N1 vaccine is important for those with suppressed immune systems, and chronic infirmities like diabetes, kidney disease, asthma and blood disorders. According to experts, pregnant women in their third trimester are also at risk, as are natives on reserves, health care workers, and children under five.

Fralic says that her decision is based on “a growing unease that our modern society seems inordinately predisposed to the quick-fix petri dish cure for fear a common sniffle might morph into a death sentence, instead of trusting our own built-in immune systems.”

Modern medicine has just about erased certain deadly diseases, like polio, tuberculosis, smallpox, and measles. But, according to opponents of the new vaccine, the best defense for the flu is to eat properly, get some fresh air, don't sneeze or cough on people, and wash your hands a lot. If you get the flu, stay home and drink soup and ginger ale.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, most documented cases of swine flu have been mild ones. The Public Health Agency also says that 2,000 to 8,000 people in Canada die each year from other flu strains; the swine flu is not any worse than other strains.

Source: Fralic, Shelley. “Column: Swine flu shot? Not for this little piggy.” Vancouver Sun. 24, Oct 2009. 1 Nov 2009.