Monday, 26 October 2009

States of Emergency

IT was just as I was hearing that my diabetic friend had decided not to have the swine flu vaccination that America declared a State of Emergency over the deteriorating swine flu situation. It struck me that her drive into town was probably statistically more dangerous than any risk from the vaccine. In fact, as there's been no problems with the trials, it certainly is more dangerous to drive on Britain's roads. The vaccine is rolled out this week and, while pointing out I'm not a specialist medical reporter (my only speciality is that I ask questions), I do tell friends that I'll be first in the queue for my swine flu jab. Why was my friend not having the vaccine even though as a diabetic she's in the 'at risk' group? She was worried about any potential side effects. I asked her which articles she'd read to come to this conclusion - "none". I asked her if she'd spoken to her GP about the decision or any other learned person - no. Did she know what risks and how much at risk she was from contracting swine flu? No. The UK government begins another advertising campaign this week but faced with this sort of 'gut feeling' decision-making, they've got a tough battle on their hands.

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