Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I am not part of the 'worried well'

In today's Daily Telegraph there's an article that says that the Chairman of the Royal College of GPs, Dr Clare Gerada, believes the government should consider a law preventing 'healthy' people who are not in flu high-risk groups from getting the flu vaccine. These people, which include me, are referred to as the 'worried well'.

Well, bollocks to that.

1. If the NHS has managed to run out of flu vaccine for the people it's meant to be protecting in the high-risk groups then that's the NHS' problem and blaming people who paid for the vaccine isn't going to fix it. It's a pure question of economics.

2. Getting a vaccination against a nasty disease that kills people isn't being 'worried', it's being sensible. I get the flu vaccine because I don't want the flu, not because I am fearful. Flu is a very nasty disease and I don't want to get it: OK, Dr. Gerada? And this year one of the main strains is H1N1, to quote the US CDC: "In contrast to seasonal flu, nearly 90 percent of the deaths (from H1N1) occurred among people younger than 65 years of age."

3. In the US the CDC has recommended universal flu vaccination rather than the UK vaccination of high-risk groups. They don't appear to be labelling people like me as 'worried well'.

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