this whole flu shot shortage really bothers me. i’ve gotten a flu shot every year for the past 4 years, and in that time have only gotten really sick once and that was last year when i got some horrible intestinal virus that knocked me on my ass for about 2 weeks. flu shots are really important especially for those with compromised or very weak immune systems, but in a country where people increasingly lack health insurance, a flu shot may be a very big deal.
think about it, you’re working hourly, you have no sick days, and you’re barely able to pay your bills as it is. you need to go to work, regardless of how lousy you feel. let’s say you’re an incredibly underpaid daycare worker (like my aunt is) who gets no benefits, no vacation, no sick days, and you make $6.75 an hour. you go to work. the kids are sick, but they’re there because their parents, in the same situation, can’t miss work, so you pick up something from the kids. you take it home to your kids, who then take it to school, and your husband takes it to work, etc. if you had a flu shot, you probably wouldn’t get the flu in the first place, but since you didn’t, and neither did anyone else because of the incredible lack of foresight of our government officials (who i’m certain, will be getting flu shots, even if bush declared that he wouldn’t be getting one during the last debate) this nasty little virus can follow the network of personal contact dictated by daily activity.
i think this little problem really makes it apparent how utterly lax our public health “system” is – it’s virtually non-existant. the US got lucky with SARS, but our luck is going to run out sooner than later. forget about terrorist attacks – it’s nature that going to get us.
*Information on the 1918 flu pandemic
*the American Experience on PBS did a special on the 1918 flu
*02/04 article from CNN – 1918 flu more “birdlike” than previously thought
*this weekend’s NYT article says, “With Few Suppliers of Flu Shots, Shortage Was Long in Making”