Don't be dumb: get the jab

Its astonishing how many people are ignoring the sound advice to take advantage of the H1N1 vaccine currently rolling out in Ireland. While many people think there is unnecessary panic, we have a few issues in Ireland that make this more dangerous - high levels of undiagnosed diabetes and very poor levels of good management for asthmatics. The former is due to a lack of screening, and the latter is due to the obscene costs of management (easily up to 1000 euros a year for medication plus GP fees). While a lot of people scoff at the fact that asthmatics are "overtreated" I can tell you that the reality for us is that you are basically stuck on the medication - for life. Losing 5 stone, getting fit and cutting out the fags didn't cure me, it made it possible to reduce my medication by about 50% (and the annual bill is now about 400 to 500 - still utterly obscene by any standards, the equivalent of a weeks wages for many people). So a lot of people tend to take their chances and just use reliever medication until it just stops being effective, which is sadly, what does tend to happen.

The real danger right now is if lots of people "take their chance" on getting H1N1, its more likely to spread to people who might be in at risk groups (who, I'm sorry, if you are in an at risk group and haven't been vaccinated, you are just extraordinarily dumb and have a death wish - there is a real danger of pneumonia). At risk groups need to act NOW and take advantage of the vaccination programme. People with small children need to follow suit as soon as possible, as should people living and working around people in at-risk groups. Remember that the vaccine is only 70-90% effective, so its really important as many people as possible take advantage of this before its too late, maybe for somebody else who hasn't the good fortune of health like yours.


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