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Flu vaccine lessons

12/03/04

It's still too early to say for sure, but it looks as though despite the fact that the flu vaccine is in very short supply, we just might have a very light year of people coming down with this sometimes deadly illness.  

This in comparison to last year (2003) when there was an adequate supply of flu vaccine available, but when the CDC made it's biggest mistake ever in guessing which flu strains would be the most common.  

Last year people who got the vaccine felt protected against this killer, but many suffered anyway and then of course were contagious to others around them.

The flu (influenza) is not something to mess around with, especially when you are old, or very young, or you are in poor health.  Complications from the flu are deadly and kill 10's of thousands of people every year.

What one has to wonder however, is whether the lack of such a flu vaccine has actually been healthy for the nation if we only learn our lessons about it.  With the absence of adequate vaccine, many people are more conscious of their health and hygiene habits.  

Would Americans be quite so careful if we had the vaccine available to us?  Nobody will ever know of course.  But the fact that we had the vaccine last year, depended on it when we shouldn't, and so much of the nation became sick, makes this reporter question how much reliance we should be putting on science.  

Have we have traded common sense and those warnings from our mothers to wash hands for the supposed security offered to us by scientists?   I believe we have and much to the shock and horror of community after community who last year saw their loved ones dying or in seriously bad health.  Maybe we should still heed Mom's advice with one little change.  "Wash your hands... anyway!" 

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