Friday, October 30, 2009

A flimsy raft on the information tsunami

Why would anyone not want to get vaccinated against the H1N1 flu?

This, after all, appears to be the pandemic that we have been warned about for several years. It's serious stuff. On Oct. 26, 2009 it killed a 13-year-old boy in the Toronto area.

Agencies such as the Public Health Agency of Canada are providing a flood of information about H1N1 and recommending that people use the free vaccine.

Thousands of Canadians are listening and lining up to receive it. In some cities, lineups are so long that supplies of the vaccine are running out temporarily.

I think using the vaccine is a great idea. The bottom line is: The consequences of not protecting yourself could be fatal.

This week I tried and failed to make that point with an intelligent, well educated 30-something. It was if he was indifferent to that tsunami of medical and scientific information.

I realized that this threat is not real for him. Like most of his friends and relatives, he has had the enormously good fortune of growing up in a healthy, prosperous and peaceful society with free universal health care where young people just do not die of the flu.

His personal experience tells him that he is, if not invulnerable, at least safe from the flu.

But personal experience is a flimsy raft in which to try to ride this tsunami.

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