What the vaccine will really help

It is the talk of the town, or rather the nation: and if you expand a little, it is possible to say that it is the talk of a whole continent, that of North America.

It is the talk of the town, or rather the nation: and if you expand a little, it is possible to say that it is the talk of a whole continent, that of North America.

Thanks to last week’s declaration of a national emergency over the epidemic (if there is really one) by the U.S President Barack Obama, we have been hearing nothing but news about swine flu, or H1N1 virus, the availability of doses of shots and schedule of vaccinations, etc. etc. etc. on the radio, TV and reading them in the papers.

Welcome to the new horizons in the commercialization of health care, or better to say exploitation of health concerns for profit.

This is clearly a wave of euphoria that we have been witnessing over the last few months, thanks to the publicity pumped by media conglomerates fuelled by statements of health officials.

Leaving everything aside, if one thinks only of the number of units of hand sanitizer that must have been sold since the federal and provincial preventive guidelines have been issued, the dimensions of the power of this disease in creating a market can be easily realized.

Probably there is a small, 60 ml unit on every desk in every government office and probably in private companies as well.

Hand sanitizer is undoubtedly good stuff and it must be appropriate for those who can not or do not like to wash their hands.

What is wrong here is that people are being urged to use hand sanitizer because they are given a scare and not as a result of a promotion of a healthy practice, which is good with or without the threat of H1N1 virus..

Of course, that is only the hand sanitizer side of it; thinking of the huge volumes of vaccine to be produced by the pharmaceutical companies to be purchased by the governments, one should be able to safely bet that at least some pharmaceutical executives are salivating and rubbing their hands, thankful to the emergence of this strain of the virus.

Yes, the virus is not new, what is new is the strain. According to doctors, the virus has been known for at least for about 60 or 70 years and it is simply the euphoria surrounding it that makes it different from the flu that we have known for ages.

As the announcements keep coming one after another, residents in communities are flocking to vaccination clinics to have their shots as soon as possible.

It is good to feel to be protected and certainly all governments will benefit a lot from this feeling on the part of the electorate. They may not be doing a good job in managing the economy, but giving the impression of providing good health care could well help governing parties get some votes.

— Mustafa Eric

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