2020-10-23

BEST INTENTIONS by Marie Rea, BS DevCom

Swine Flu Vaccine Realities: We’ve had it for over a month now and we’re all doing fine!

Those in Australia who are unaware of the importance of getting the Swine Flu vaccine will do well to check the government’s website. They must not rely on American perspectives and illogical innuendoes being hurled against the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine!

Surely, experiences related to the United States, its people, its environment and their own studies and tests on their own Swine Flu vaccine are quite different from that of Australia’s.

The Americans have produced several vaccines in the past. There was one that was released to the public, found to be causing (undesirable) side effects and was withdrawn. The Australian health scenario is different.

Any Australian weighing the pros and cons of having the swine flu vaccine should take a look at this Australian government’s website:

http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/uci-myths-guideprov

This writer can proudly say that she and her family, including her visiting 74-year-old mother all had been vaccinated with the swine flu vaccine. The whole family shall be going on a cruise to Tasmania in a few weeks’ time and might be at risk. Her husband and her two sons all have asthma. It is therefore important to avail of the vaccine. It has been over a month since we had our shots and so far we’ve all been well, except for a fleeting pain in our upper arms – no fever, no other side effects noted!

We have another scheduled trip to Europe next year. The two cruises we intend to take warrant that we avail of this precaution. Spring in that part of the world is also the start of the flu season!

Apart from the elderly, those at risk are health professionals and workers, those with pre-existing medical conditions which may include:

? Chronic respiratory conditions, including asthma and chronic obstructive
pulmonary ailments;
? Pregnancy (particularly in second and third trimesters);
? People who are extremely overweight;
? People with Cardiac disease (more than simple high blood pressure);
? People with Diabetes; Chronic metabolic diseases; Chronic kidney
disease; Haemoglobinopathies; Immunosuppressed (including cancers,
HIV/AIDS infection, transplant treatments); and other Chronic
neurological conditions

According to the Australian health emergency website, “The risk of people with pre-existing conditions having a more severe disease is because they may have weaker body defences (immune systems) or because, when the body is affected by other conditions or illness, it is easier for bacteria to invade the cells that have been damaged by the flu virus and so cause other illnesses such as pneumonia.”

Why should we rely on Americans opinion? Many of them frown on the merits of vaccination. They failed to come up with a feasible swine flu vaccination program ahead of the onslaught of the winter season.

Australia is leading the way to a more intelligent way of overcoming the ill effects of man’s excesses. Pandemic swine flu is just one of them.

This writer believes that our health system is much better than its American counterpart, I trust the Australian government has done the right thing and came up with an effective National Swine Flu Program for its citizens.

Australia’s MEDICARE (system), despite its weaknesses, still mean that its citizens, even those not in private health fund can see a General Practitioner (GP) when he is unwell and not get charged for it! There are other benefits that I don’t need to enumerate.

Doing nothing when the threat of a pandemic is just around the corner is in itself irrational! Numerous tests have been done before the final product has been approved. If the government rushed the release of the vaccine, it would have been distributed during the peak period in July 2009 when thousands all over the world were dying of the AH1N1 virus. Despite the onset of summer, there will be tourists from the Northern Hemisphere who will be potentially spreading the disease in our country. Once again, prevention is the key to survival.

Depending on a person’s immune system, he may or may not contract the virus. He/she may even get a mild case but transmission may be serious to vulnerable individuals especially the young.

Only those who are 10 years old and over are allowed to get the vaccine as tests are still being done for the lower age groups. Once again, this shows how the Australian government exercises caution in this regard!

There will always be morons including some media organizations who worry more about the billions of dollars given by the US administration to companies to make the vaccine and the conditions attached with them.

Who cares? Our concern is Australia. We do things differently here, probably more honestly and efficiently. As an Australian citizen blessed with a blissful existence in this wonderful country, I trust fully this present government’s health initiatives although there’s more to be done!

When in doubt, weigh the pros and cons with your trusted doctor for they will be the ones you go to anyway when you get sick! The most important thing: WASH YOUR HANDS! Do this often, especially before and after handling food.