Flu Shot or Falafel Sandwich?

By Sharon Martinez
In November 20, 2010
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Flu Shot Sign

It's more convenient to get a flu shot than a falafel sandwich.

The Center for Disease Control (cdc.gov) is our government agency in charge of monitoring/preventing disease outbreaks in the United States. When it comes to the flu, they break down statistics by “season.” It’s not unlike the football season or holiday shopping season to me—a little too much hype when there are many other pressing health care issues we should all be debating. As I was driving to work recently, I listened to a radio talk show and learned that 62% of health care workers have gotten the flu shot this flu season. The other 38% have refused.  The radio commentator was troubled by this, and wondered if they were ignorant or just hated shots. I wondered: what knowledge or experience do these 38% of health care workers have, that they’ve made up their minds not to be vaccinated, even if it causes them problems on the job?
If you pop over to the CDC website, you will see that they are keeping an awesome tally of flu statistics. Last week, 185 people across the U.S. tested positive for the flu, most of them in the Southeastern U.S. Of those, nine tested positive for the H1N1 influenza strain. The other 176 people had the A or B strains. One pediatric death was reported.
The CDC says 12,000 people died of the H1N1 flu strain last year. Over the past 30 years, the number of people who die of the flu yearly has varied from a low of 3000 to a high of 49,000. Any of these numbers pale in comparison to the number of deaths we’ll experience from heart disease, strokes, and other diseases of affluence. This year, 126 million doses of swine flu shots have been shipped out to your neighborhood and mine.
My opinion? I wish our government spent this much effort on getting people to walk a couple of miles a day, or eat garbanzo beans. What about you? Have you had your flu shot? Overall, about one in four of us will decide to get one. A quick search on Yahoo Maps gave me 26 locations within two miles of my house where I could go and get a flu shot. In contrast, there were three listings for vegan take-out food.

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