Still too much confusion over H1N1 shots

I’m in Toronto for a business meeting this week. Should I shake hands with the people I meet? Should I hug old friends I haven’t seen in a long time.
In the H1N1 world, these are big questions today. In fact, a recent poll found more than 60 percent of Canadians feel you shouldn’t shake hands in this time.
I’m also confused about the ’flu shots, though I know I’m supposed to get two this year.
Originally, the province was going to begin vaccinations of the traditional seasonal ’flu shot in early October, followed by the H1N1 ’flu shot when that vaccine became available.
Somewhere in the confusion of studies, some provinces determined the traditional ’flu shot was not going to be distributed to the public until January unless you were over the age of 65—the age group most susceptible to the seasonal ’flu.
People who have found themselves at risk for the seasonal ’flu in the past can make arrangements to have their shot early by signing a waiver with the health unit.
The conflicting daily information, and the conflicting policies by different provincial health agencies, has led to utter confusion. However, many provinces are rolling out the seasonal ’flu vaccine now, to be followed up with the H1N1 shot.
On Monday, the federal government announced it had shipped out one million doses of vaccine to health agencies across the country. The government is just waiting for final verification that the vaccine is safe (it appears a matter of procedure and should come this week).
And so district residents should be able to line up in early November to be vaccinated, with the province hoping to have everyone inoculated by the end of December.
Just who should receive the vaccine? Even the Prime Minister of Canada wasn’t sure if he should receive a shot. And if the prime minister isn’t sure, how can the general population be any wiser?
After all, his government appoints the chief medical officer for the scountry.
In an article published in Monday’s Toronto Star, the map of Ontario showed that as of Oct. 16, there were 74 diagnosed cases of the swine ’flu in the Northwestern Health Unit’s region. In information published in the United States, the state of Minnesota appears to have a higher rate of swine ’flu diagnosis than other states.
Today we know that younger children, pregnant women, and younger adults are more susceptible to the H1N1 ’flu. We also know from evidence that the ’flu never disappeared during the summer months, as is the expected norm.
We know that frequent washing of hands, and sneezing into one’s elbow or sleeve, will help reduce the risk of transmitting or catching the virus. Health departments also recommend that if you come down with the symptoms (i.e., fevers, chills, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea), you should stay home from work or school.
The H1N1 ’flu is the most active strain across North America. And it is expected to peak some time in the next few months.
So I wonder, “Should I go and sign the waiver to get the seasonal ’flu shot, and then get a second ’flu shot in early November, or should I follow the province’s guidelines and get the H1N1 in early November and wait until January to get the other shot?

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