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Archive for October, 2009

H1N1 mania

Damn those lines are long.  I have heard horror stories about waiting over 2 1/2 hours, with young children, to get the H1N1 jab. The number of people clamoring for the vaccine is astonishing to see, no doubt partly motivated by the tragic deaths of two children.

It is difficult to wade through the immense amount of  information thrown at us by the news, government agencies and other such endless pits of facts.  Amy Wallace has been one such science writer who has been rightfully lauded by the science-blog community for writing clearly and concisely on vaccination.  Her recent article in WIRED is an essential read, no matter your attention span.

The main reason we vaccinate is to protect the most vulnerable of our population. Vaccination directly protects an individual by educating their immune system to a particular pathogen. But what about the really young, elderly and immunocompromised? They depend on the rest of us to be vaccinated so as to minimize the spread of disease. By limiting the chain of infection in healthy individuals, we reduce the exposure of pathogens to at risk groups. This concept is generally termed as herd immunity.  A great example is the protein-conjugate vaccine (PC7), which is discussed here.

So brave those long lines and get your H1N1 shot. Remember you are not only doing it for you, but for those who are unable but need it most.

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