SwineFluRecently, I have had several patients tell me that they do not want to receive the swine flu vaccine. They offer many reasons such as they “have never received the flu shot in the past and they have been just fine” and “the vaccination has not been out long enough to know the side effects”. I have even heard that some people believe this uproar over the H1N1 virus is all propaganda by the pharmaceutical companies (see comment section) created to increase vaccine profits.

I am here to tell you that the risk with this virus is very real!

H1N1 is proposed to kill between 90,000 and 100,000 patients in this country over the coming winter months. Although it is a new vaccine, it is safe. Tens of thousands of doses have already been dispensed to both adults and pediatric patients with no overwhelming side effects. In this case, the benefit strongly outweighs the risk. The unfortunate fact about this virus, in particular, is that the young healthy individuals are more likely to die from the disease. We have no immunity, as we have never lived through a pandemic such as this current swine flu.  We have been given the opportunity to protect ourselves and I suggest that we all take it. I believe so strongly in this coverage that my four children, my husband and I will be receiving the vaccination as early as possible.

Lastly, I do want to make the point that taking the seasonal influenza vaccine is still very important. Upward of 35,000 people die each year from seasonal flu. The H1N1 virus is entirely different from the viruses contained in the seasonal flu vaccine. Seasonal flu vaccine will NOT cover H1N1 and the H1N1 vaccine will NOT cover seasonal influenza. The CDC strongly recommends receiving both vaccines.

So, please take a proactive approach to your own health care and take both vaccines!