How much do you know about pesticides and your health?
Are government officials handling it correctly? Anything you would do differently? Just curious from your professional standpoint what your thoughts are on the subject. In the meantime, here are some preliminary reactions.
One way to tell: In a real crisis — a flu pandemic, for example — plans call for the opposite prioritization: Cops, waterworks engineers, power plant operators, morticians, and others essential to keeping the society functioning get the antivirals and the early doses of vaccine.
Indispensability, not vulnerability, is the main triage standard for crises. Health care workers qualify under both standards. There is a Malathion essay flu vaccine Malathion essay every year, when it comes to protecting high-risk people.
Last year 87 million doses were available in the U. The latter group is off the list this year because of the shortage, as are most of the household contacts of high-risk people. There is a shortfall this year, fewer doses than the demand.
We always have a serious shortage, fewer doses than the public health authorities say we need and ought to want. If the — flu season is of average severity, it will probably kill more than the 36, Americans who have succumbed to flu in the average recent year.
Given a successful reallocation, the economic cost of lots of unvaccinated workers out with the flu for a week or two will increase more than the flu-related mortality and hospitalization rates will.
If there is a crisis, it is only a crisis of supply versus demand. A decade ago, about 25 million Americans wanted flu vaccine each year. Now, about 80 million want it — a big public health achievement. Worldwide, only Canada vaccinates a higher percentage of its citizens than the U.
Until a few years ago, the CDC estimated that 20, Americans died every year of the flu. Most of these deaths were preventable with wider vaccination, but not many Americans were especially upset. When the CDC increased the mortality estimate to 36, based partly on changes in statistical modeling and partly on increased circulation of the more virulent H3N2 strain of influenza, Americans were again not especially upset at the extra 16, annual deaths.
The flu vaccine manufacturing process is notoriously fragile. It is far from unprecedented for manufacturers to have problems ensuring that the vaccine is sterile.
And it is far from unprecedented for regulators in the U. So this year we lost roughly half our supply, instead of the much smaller percentage lost when similar problems arose in years past, and the much smaller percentage lost this year by the U.
Those who are being asked to forgo their flu shot this year deserve respect, thanks, and an apology. It is certainly sound public health to make this request, even though it may not be sound economics.
Far too many health authorities have voiced contempt for those who hesitate to make the sacrifice, rather than gratitude to those who make it. And as far as I know no authority has yet apologized for the policy errors that have made the sacrifice necessary. This is the teachable moment for the — flu season.
Millions of people who do not routinely get their flu shot want one this year. This is the natural psychology of shortages. It means that right now is the best opportunity in years to persuade people high-risk and otherwise to establish an annual flu shot habit next year.
Of course the best persuasion includes a behavioral commitment. So someone should be mailing out or emailing coupons, to be filled out and sent to our doctors or pharmacies, or employers: Please order one for me, and send me a reminder when it comes in.Fungus Gnats.
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