The "Great Depression" of 2009 having run the course and now sputtering to its merciful end; public authorities have conspired with the media to yet again panic most of us: Over flu-shots.
What's going on here? Why has the collective psyche become so programmed, gullible and craved for prophets of doom? Canadians have been imbibed with a dose of scepticism over the pronouncements of our politicians. It seems though we may be sadly lacking in a healthy outbreak of scepticism over a bureaucracy assisted by the media's insatiable thirst for the morbid, and a pharmaceutical industry motivated by greed.
There is much anecdotal evidence to suggest that the 2009 outbreak of the flu virus is not essentially different than most. Figures from the Atlanta, Georgia based American Centers for Disease Control (CDC) which is generally considered the world's foremost authority on communicable disease, show that each year 200-thousand Americans are hospitalised with the "seasonal" flu...of those 36,000 die. Yes! People die of the flu each year and frequently for no good or apparent reasons. The CDC describes the current swine flu outbreak in these terms - "For most healthy individuals H1N1 can be mild but (it) can be serious for those with underlying medical conditions."
Here in Ottawa though, as in many other communities across Canada, residents are being panicked into lining-up for hours at mass immunization clinics that, were it not for the seriousness of the silly situation, might be worthy of a "Keystone Cop" movie scenario orchestrated by our public health officials.
Whoa, stand back a minute! SARS a few years back. The panic and planning over the Avian Flu. And, now this. One would like to think they would get it right. Ottawa's half-dozen or so clinics are averaging about 5000 people per day. In a city of one-million, if (as predicted) half of the population shows-up...it will take over 100 days (one third of a year) to deal with everyone who wants protection from H1N1. A long time after the outbreak has passed-on and, I suspect after the front-line personnel handling the flow have been in full retreat, if not already manning picket-lines. Yet the brain trust behind the plan have not allowed family physicians to immunize their own patients in their offices. In fact so ludicrous is the plan that doctors themselves are lined-up with the rest for hours at the public "cattle-call" clinics.
Let's smarten-up and switch-off the panic mode. In reality in 2009 as in most every year, flu related illnesses will claim Canadian lives. The H1N1 outbreak may be more virulent than some past seasonal flu strains. Yes: By all means everyone wishing to be immunized should have access to a doctor, a clinic, a health practitioner and whoever else can administer the dosage. But, let's just chill and relax. Although it is already too late for this year - From current appearance, Public Health Officials; the bureaucrats to whom they report; and our overheated media need to learn to better handle these matters. If practice makes efficient - if not perfect - We've got some way to go.