Today, CBC reported on yet another death caused by the Swine Flu, but this time there’s a catch. According to the report, the victim was a woman in her mid twenties, whom apparently had no pre-existing medical condition. She was, for all intents and purposes a healthy adult female.
To me, this is a huge wake-up call, because outside of the original outbreak in Mexico, swine flu cases were mostly mild, requiring no hospitalization, and little, if any treatment. Now, all of a sudden we see that it can kill even healthy adults, and kill them fast! She was infected only one week before she succumbed and passed away. As it turns out, you don’t need to be a child, old or have a compromised immune system for the swine flu to kill you.
People’s reasons for not getting vaccinated vary greatly; they can come up with all sorts of justifications for not getting the shot. Most of these reasons are logical fallacies in themselves, and really don’t make a whole lot of sense.
We have our typical conspiracy theory angle, the “I’m not getting vaccinated because the pharmaceutical industry is evil, they keep us sick so they can profit on the treatments.” Which makes no sense, really, it doesn’t, just think: why would a company want to kill off its customers? Dead people don’t pay, and they don’t need treatments.
Then we have those who still think that vaccines cause autism for some reason, even though this has been so completely debunked. I am not even going to bother beating this dead horse.
Other people aren’t comfortable with the fact that Thiomersal (more commonly known as thimerosal in the United States) is used as a preservative in vaccines. The reasoning here is that Thiomersal contains mercury, which most people know as that weird, liquid metal substance found in thermometers. What most people don’t know; is that there are different kinds of mercury. Thimerosal is metabolized by the body and turned into ethyl mercury, which as it turns out is processed and expelled by your body. Unlike methyl mercury, which can accumulate in your system and cause all sorts of nasty symptoms. Not only is ethyl mercury known to be safe, but it can be found in quite a few products aside from vaccines. It is found in all sorts of cosmetics, and I bet a lot of the people who are against vaccines because of thimerosal probably use some sort of product which contains it.
There is no safety reason to avoid thimerosal-containing vaccines. The National Advisory Committee (NACI) has thoroughly reviewed the evidence and indicated that “There is no legitimate safety reason to avoid the use of thimerosal-containing products for children or older individuals, including pregnant women.”
The concept of herd immunity applies here too, because if a larger percentage of the population is vaccinated, the virus has a smaller pool of individuals to successfully infect. This helps protect those who for what ever reason may not be able to be vaccinated themselves, as their chances of encountering the virus decrease.
Then there are those who think vaccines are made with viruses and the: “I’m not getting a flu shot, cause it gives the flu” argument. While this is true, vaccines contain inactive flu viruses or dead viruses if you will. There is absolutely no way in which a vaccine can cause you to contract the flu, now this is not to say that a small percentage of the population may experience negative effects from vaccination, but the negative affects are often much milder then the disease it is intended to prevent. Milder, meaning in won’t kill you.
I’m in my mid-twenties, which means I am smack dab in the middle of the demographic most at risk for the H1N1 flu virus, and I am not taking ANY chances. I will be getting vaccinated on or around November 1st, when the vaccine becomes available here in Canada.
Why take any chances?