Got that sinking feeling? Get vaccinated!If you were drowning and someone threw you a life line, would you grab it in hopes of getting towed to safety – or simply give up and allow yourself to slip beneath the waves?
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
If you were drowning and someone threw you a life line, would you grab it in hopes of getting towed to safety – or simply give up and allow yourself to slip beneath the waves?
It’s likely few of us would willingly turn down that offer of help, and yet many of us are doing that very thing every day that goes by without getting vaccinated against the H1N1 virus.
According to Deb Bahen of Carlton County Public Health, over 84 percent of Carlton County residents have not yet chosen to receive the H1N1 vaccine, though it has been proven to protect against the virulent disease and save lives.
In terms of numbers, only some 5,200 of the approximately 33,000 residents in the county have actually been vaccinated thus far, though the H1N1 vaccine is free and widely available.
The dangers of going unvaccinated are compelling. Not only is your own health at risk, but if you should happen to contract the pandemic disease, you put your friends, family and coworkers at risk as well.
Thus far, the most protected age group in the county is our youngest, with 65 percent of children ages 6-23 months already vaccinated against H1N1, and that’s a good thing, since they are in one of the highest risk groups. The least protected age group in the county is our young adults ages 19-24, with only 8 percent of them vaccinated to date. And yet, statistics show that young adults who get H1N1 are especially hard hit by it, with a death rate three times higher than with seasonal influenza.
It’s tough to figure out why someone would turn down the offer of this sort of life line, unless it’s due to misinformation or complacency. Some may argue that the H1N1 vaccine is too new to have been adequately tested, and yet health officials reassure us that it has received the same rigorous testing as any other flu vaccine.
Others claim that the flu scare is past and never developed into anything nearly as serious as originally feared. And yet, past flu pandemics such as this one have historically exhibited a third wave of disease, and with two already under our belts, that final wave could well be expected to hit yet this winter.
Why not stop by Carlton County Public Health, 30 10th Street North in Cloquet, any Monday between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. or any Thursday between the hours of 9 a.m. and noon through April 1, and take a few short minutes to get vaccinated.
Can’t make it during that time? Try one of the following community clinics around the area: Barnum Senior Center, Feb. 3, 10-11:30 a.m.; Black Bear Casino (during the Suicide Prevention Conference), Feb. 4, 4-6 p.m.; Larson Commons in Cloquet, Feb. 9, 1-2:30 p.m.; Esko Senior Center, Feb. 10, 1-2:30 p.m.; Moose Lake Senior Center, Feb. 11, 10-11:30 a.m.; or Aspen Arms in Cloquet, Feb. 17, 2-3:30 p.m.
Who among us can risk the chance of sinking or swimming – especially when there’s a life line out there to help keep us safe?