Mixed Reaction to Flu Shots
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By Jud Snyder  October 22, 2009 04:22 pm

Television news reports and articles in daily newspapers have certainly provided us with enough information about swine flu. It’s greeted with mixed reactions to say the least. Some say it’s too much conflicting data to be absorbed.
The amount of occasionally emotionally-charged news reports, whether they’re watched or read, has apparently increased attendance at swine flu vaccination clinics in Rohnert Park.
The next one’s scheduled for Codding Recreation Center (the former Senior Center) Friday, Oct. 30, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., sponsored by Sutter VNA (Visiting Nurse Association) and Hospice.
They provided instructions: They “will bill Medicare if you are covered by Medicare Part B (Show your Medicare Card). If you are covered by a Medicare HMO (this is not the same as Medicare Part B) you will need to pay for your shot that day. Sutter VNA cannot bill your HMO. Nor can they bill your insurance company - you will need to pay for your shot. The charge is $25.”
A swine flu clinic held last week at Kaiser Permanente on State Farm Drive had a long line of people flowing from inside the building to outside on the sidewalk. The clinic was for Kaiser members only and more will be held in the next few months.
Still, nationwide polls and surveys have shown about 40 to 50 percent of the populace have no intention to get the vaccine inoculation.
Influenza’s been a companion of civilized society for centuries. It’s greatest impact was the Great Influenza pandemic of 1918 which caused hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide, long before flu shots and clinics. In the last few decades the influenza virus has emerged every year, usually accompanied with a new strain. Remember avian flu? This year’s new strain has the prosaic title of H1N1. It first came to light earlier this year, mostly in eastern and midwestern states.
The H1N1 strain probably began in Mexico, which has been hard hit. As of October 11, 2009, the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) said 74 countries have reported more than 4,736 deaths.
Generally, said WHO, the cases have been relatively mild with coughing, sneezing, sore throats and sometimes muscular pain. But individuals with asthma, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and are pregnant are more susceptible to swine flu than healthier ones.
Preventing swine flu are the standard precautions, frequent washing of hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand lotion, avoiding touching possible contaminated furniture or walls and then touching your mouth or nose, stay clear of flu sufferers and crowded places if possible.
There’s a lot medical and pharmaceutical data headlined in the media every day on the subject, some of it contradictory to other statements. But that’s typical in this electronic age when so much is so available on so many outlets.
Perhaps the last word comes from a poll taken by the San Francisco Chronicle two weeks ago. The question was, “According to several polls, how does the public feel about getting a swine flu shot?” The majority of the answers - “Whatever, maybe, and who cares?’”

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