Swine flu vaccine: To do it or not to do it?

Every day, I am being bombarded with news headlines SCREAMING about swine flu and the swine flu vaccine.  The level of hysteria and panic reminds me of those National Enquirer headlines that would tout the arrival of a half-alien, half-human baby or the discovery of Elvis eating a donut at an Alabama truck stop twenty years after his alleged death.  I just don’t know what to take seriously anymore when I read stuff like the fact that Moldova is giving its soliders extra rations of garlic and onion to aid in the prevention of swine flu (or is it to protect them against vampires???); or that China is quarantining planeloads of passengers suspected of carrying the virus.  My doctor has scared me half to death, telling me about a pregnant woman in New York who lost her baby and almost died herself because of swine flu.  On the other hand, there is a youtube video going around about a young woman who got neurological damage as a result of getting the flu vaccine.  Now, she can only walk backwards!  I don’t know if I should take this as news or as a hoax. 

My cousin is in the pro-conspiracy camp, believing this is a huge money-making entreprise by the governments of various countries combined with pharamaceutical interests to push yet another vaccine.  The chance of you getting swine flu, or malaria, or having a helicopter crash unexpectedly on the roof of your house, are about the same, she says.  If they could make vaccines against helicopters crashes damaging your rooftop, they would market and sell that too.  I replied that they already do, but it is called an insurance policy rather than a vaccine!  There is so much information and misinformation out there about vaccines that it makes my head spin.  I mean vaccines have been recently linked to autism too.  While my pediatrician scoffs at what he calls a deeply inaccurate study, my other friends who are both doctors have not given any vaccine to their own two daughters since birth.  I mean NADA.  Aren’t they scared of polio or TB or…..

Every year, there seems to be a new scare that is being exploited by media to sell their newspapers.  Mad Cow.  SARS. West Nile.  The list goes on.  Obviously, these are real diseases and people have become ill or dies from it.  But are they really “epidemics” or is this just being blown out of proportion?  Don’t we live everyday with the chance of catching something that will lead us to illness or possibly death?  It reminds me of an essay by Andy Rooney I read long time ago that was called “living is dangerous to your health.”  Meanwhile, I have an appointment today with my doctor and I know she is going to want to push me again to get the vaccine, which my “instinct” is telling me not to.  I have never had a flu vaccine and thank god, the last time I got the flu was 7 years ago but then again you never know.  Am I putting my unborn child in jeopardy by getting or NOT getting the vaccine?  I just want to skip my appointment and run for the hills…sigh…

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