Monday, August 29, 2011

The FLU is coming!

Outside the Walgreens at the corner of Sunset Drive and SW 117th Avenue, the big sign says: "Flu Shots Here Today. We Accept Most Insurance." The seasonal influenza (flu) officially lasts from October to May in the US, peaking in January-February. However, distributors race to get the vaccines to market for obvious marketing reasons. People can now get the annual vaccine that may help them avoid getting sick with the influenza virus. Before 2010, only persons older than 65 years of age and those with health issues are encouraged to get the flu shots. Now, the recommendation expands to include everyone older than 6 years of age. Wow! That certainly has the potential to generate zillions in income for the manufacturers. However, I am not sure the general population will take the new recommendation in stride. If you are interested to know how the vaccines are made, here is a quick digest. It's complicated!

There are 106 countries that conduct year round surveillance to identify the influenza viruses being found. I would be interested to know where are the hunting grounds for these viruses. All of these nasties when found are sent to the World Health Organization (WHO) centers (US, UK, Australia, Japan and China) so that they can decide how to choose which dead or near dead viruses to use in the vaccines for a particular year. Once decided, the vaccines will have three selected viruses that they think will most likely to infect a certain geographic location and that they think the vaccines may be effective. This is a decision made by each country for itself when it decides to manufacture the vaccines for its population and for countries that cannot manufacture the vaccines. For 2011-2012, the decision of which viruses won the beauty contest was made in January of this year. The vaccines are now ready for distribution.

I am mystified because to make all the vaccines that contain dead viruses, they have to have a good supply of them, alive! Where do they come from? One thing I am not doing every year, is to get those dead guys injected into my muscle. I'd rather get the flu (I like these viruses better because they are live) and deal with it then. Don't tell my doctor I said that. He'll chew me up!
Flu Shot

1 comment:

nature freak said...

This 40 year old will avoid the flu vaccine like the plague!

I hate sounding paranoid, but as you say, this "certainly has the potential to generate zillions in income for the manufacturers".

I rather deal with the flu.