Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Swine Flu

So in order to pre-emptively let off some steam about a topic that will surely come up over thanksgiving dinner, let me just state very clearly, categorically, that I am very skeptical about the H1N1 flu and vaccine. My parents, both of whom used to work in the health care profession, seem convinced that I absolutely HAVE to get the vaccine.
Because I am a working class mud person, I have Kaiser health insurance. They are currently not allowing me to get a vaccine, and I have no problem with that. I hesitantly allowed my son to get the vaccine about 2 months ago, because he's a child, and children have proven to be susceptible to the virus. Not so much for adults, and I have a healthy immune system, and I also think that a fever, cough, headache, tiredness, or even nausea is a fair trade for a few days off from work.
More importantly though, there are legitimate questions about the safety, efficacy, and NEED for the vaccine.
I've been skeptical about swine flu mania since the very beginning (usually, when things get blamed on Mexico, the US is invariably to blame), and some recent events in the Ukraine raise some very pertinent questions that we all need to ask ourselves about who really benefits from mass hysteria over otherwise non-hysterical events.

Politicians in the Ukraine are capitalizing on a flu outbreak in that country in advance of elections in January. The President and Prime Minister are jockeying to proclaim to be the only candidate that can save the masses from the evil flu outbreak, which had a very rapid onset. In response, people are overreacting at the first hint of any related symptoms and hoarding supplies like surgical masks, flu remedies, and even garlic and lemon.

"What we're seeing is a normal psychological reaction to the complete incompetence of the state authorities. People are scared and they don't know who to trust any more."
-Semon Gluzman, a psychiatrist in Kiev, Ukraine

What's worse is that Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has declared martial law in response to the outbreak, curtailing freedom of assembly in the final two months of a close election campaign, and he's even gone so far as to enact quarantine zones with mandatory vaccination policies in various parts of the country. Independent reports are alleging that thousands are dead within these quarantine zones, perhaps from the vaccine itself, and not from the flu virus.
News reports out of the country are unclear, but suffice it to say, something very fishy is going on over there.

We do know that the Ukrainian flu is similar to swine flu, but it isn't the swine flu.
We also know that politicians are trying to capitalize on the outbreak, and the public doesn't know who to believe.

Please people, don't believe the hype. Use your brain, do some research, and make your own decisions.

FYI - Kaiser is not sounding any alarms about H1N1 virus, and I don't believe that they are just trying to be cheap.