Sunday, 15 October 2017

Flu and Flights of Fancy

I'm going to give you a warning. The link here goes to a Daily Mail article by Katie Hopkins.

You probably don't want to follow it, but it's right I source it.

To save you the trouble of reading it - it's Katie Hopkins telling us she won't allow her child to receive the flu vaccine because he's "fit and healthy." The article is a fine example of the power of anecdote over data.

Up to the 1918/9 Spanish Flu pandemic, influenza outbreaks followed the "U shape" of many diseases, where the very young and very old were most likely to die. Spanish Flu was different. It killed young, healthy adults. People drowned as their own lungs filled with blood.

Being young and healthy, given the wrong flu strain, is no protection. If the immune system of a young, healthy person turns against their own body it can be catastrophic.

I'm not saying this year's flu will be catastrophic. The Australian outbreak has probably told us roughly what it will be like. It's much like last year's but worse. But kids are abnormally good spreaders of disease, and the wrong rogue mutation could spread like wildfire.

I won't tell you what to do about flu vaccination - it's terribly complex. But I can tell you this - don't listen to Daily Mail controversialists who have to delete large numbers of tweets because they don't think very well.

They're not a very good example.

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A queue of people at the vicarage door, holding letters. The vicar is hiding behind the curtains.
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1 comment :

  1. I ignored your advice and clicked on the link. This is the bit that gets to me:

    "But you could argue that if Max gets it, he might give it to another child who is not so healthy, one who is high-risk with asthma – so social responsibility dictates you should vaccinate your low-risk child for the benefit of high-risk others.
    But honestly, I am just not that good a person. My son and his health will always take priority over my health, and the health of others outside of my family. So I returned the form, refusing permission."

    What right has she to put her family's health ahead of other people? (Even if giving her son the flu jab were in any way jeopardising his health?) And how sad that she doesn't seem to feel the tiniest bit guilty about thinkng that way.


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