Monday, September 14, 2009

H1N1: Many Questions and Stormy Days Ahead

The questions about H1N1 are coming fast and furious now, and I often don't know what to say.

Seniors feel slighted because they're lowest on the priority list for the new H1N1 vaccine. Middle-aged people who are otherwise healthy who would like the vaccine notice that they do not meet the criteria for being in the first wave of recipients, if at all. There are the many health care workers who usually don't receive a flu vaccine and are reluctant to get the H1N1 vaccine, even if it means protecting their patients from illness. Meanwhile, pregnant women are afraid to receive this newly formulated vaccine, even though they are top priority for receiving it in order to protect their gestating children, and parents of school age children are also afraid. And then there's the conspiracy theorists who feel it's all a government ploy to poison, sicken, and subjugate us.

What's an earnest Public Health Nurse to do, anyway?

The concerns, the worries, the misgivings, the fears, the suspicions---they are all rising to the surface as the flu season kicks into gear. There is certainly confusing information out there, and some of it even seems contradictory. We can rest assured that many media outlets will undoubtedly get it wrong along the way, further adding to the confusion that so many people feel.

So I answer calls, assuage fears, refer people to the most reliable websites about H1N1, and I cross my fingers that we find a qualified replacement for me before I leave my position on October 15th. It's a wild influenza world out there, and something tells me the weather's about to get rougher.
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