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When pigs fly

October 24, 2009 - John Stack

 

There has recently been a lot of kicking about New York mandating that hospital workers must be vaccinated for the swine flu by November 30th. To me, this is just foolishness coupled with selfishness combined with a bit of sutting off your fingers to spite your hand.

            First, some facts on the swine flu. All ready flu season is at its peak. To have flu season at its peak in October is nearly unprecedented. Those most at risk of swine flu are the young, pregnant and elderly. Over 5,000 people have died of H1N1, with confirmed deaths locally. H1N1 is transmitted like other flu, in that it is passed on by coughing, sneezing and even people touching surfaces with swine flu and then touching their mouth or nose. This week, President Obama declared Swine flu a national emergency. There have been nearly a half million confirmed cases of H1N1, which is probably significantly lower than the actual number of cases.

            New York State health officials mandated swine flu shots. As with anything mandated, it of course was immediately hit with lawsuits claiming it was infringing upon this right or that. This became moot this week, when NY rescinded this edict. The rule was rescinded not because of any lawsuits or threats, but by the logistical fact that there would not be enough vaccines available on time. "This is welcome news," said Carl Korn, a spokesman for the New York State United Teachers union. "This suit was never about the safety of the vaccine, or the merits of it. The suit was always about giving individuals the choice, as adults, as to whether or not they wanted to be vaccinated without the threat of termination." This view strikes me as particularly odd.

            Lorna Patterson is a RN in the Albany Med ER. She is among a group of nurses that sued NY over the vaccine issue. Without a hint of irony she said ‘our health is being affected’. Hmmm. A vaccine that would protect not only the nurse, but significantly decrease the chance of the people around her at the hospital (young, sick toddlers, pregnant women, etc).. When my kids go to camp in the summer, or when my kids went to daycare, or school, they would not be allowed to attend unless they were properly vaccinated.. I guess I should have protested or sued over my kids being vaccinated would be a condition of their attendance! The nurses’ attorney Terence Kindlon, said ‘This is a significant civil rights issue. We feel people are being forced to do something by the government. I guess that is unlike my prior point about kids needing to be inoculated .

            What I can’t understand is, why am I not guaranteed the nurse my children are seeing isn’t carrying a deadly virus, of which is extremely preventable? How about if your pregnant sister gets H1N1 and loses her life and the life of the unborn child? How does standing on a principle just for the sake of standing on a principle, if it may put dozens and maybe hundreds at risk?

            Friends of mine have told me they were also against this edict. They claim, ‘why aren’t shop keepers and cashiers also mandated? Well, I guess that if a pregnant mother gets a Jonesing for a bag of Doritos, she probably has the choice of not getting the Doritos, or having someone get it for her. But, if she was having some complications with her pregnancy, I don’t think she has the choice of staying home and hoping the doctor and nurses could help he rover the phone. And when she went to the hospital she should be sure she wasn’t going to be subject to even worse possible proble. The same would be true for a sick child.

 

 

 

 

 
 

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