Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Swine Flu Reactions Close to Home

A very good friend of mine, who I respect, vehemently disagrees with me about the swine flue vaccinations. This friend sees refusal to get vaccinated as, at best, irresponsible, even abusive to one's family and co-workers. I completely understand, and respect that point of view. I understand where she is coming from, given the context of her profession, and her love for her family. I also completely disagree with her. What makes it more difficult in these crazy faux apocalyptic times is that others in her family also disagree, which makes for highly uncomfortable tension and bad feelings. I don't know if my friend agrees that the swine flu propaganda is propaganda, hype, and a man made, intentionally released "bug" set loose in the world. (Where I see the swine flu plushie as a surreal piece of indoctrination she sees it as an educational tool or toy) I would assume if she did believe that, she'd be more reluctant to get vaccinated.

Not necessarily so, I guess. Someone I know believes, like I do, that the swine flu is all of the above, but even so, will get vaccinated. This person trusts the vaccinations: they are harmless. (This person also told me that someone close to them has a job where it's requited they get vaccinated. I wondered, but didn't ask, if that's legal. Something to look into.)

When things like this are close to home, it forces you to check your own position on things. People I love, care about and respect disagree with me, sometimes almost violently so, on issues. What to do in these cases? After thinking about my thoughts on the swine flu, thinking on their positions, I am left with: I still believe and think what I did before hearing their positions.

Fortunately, I am not faced with, like my close friend, a challenge to family harmony. I don't have children, and my husband and I share the same opinions. What if, however, we did have children, or our disagreements clashed so strongly we ... what? Separate? Divorce? Sounds silly, but imagine one spouse refusing to get vaccinated, while the other insists he/she does. I wouldn't want my spouse to risk getting killed or harmed from the vaccinations (not to mention the other insidious aftermaths of a semi-mandated, "practice run" program of propaganda) while he wouldn't want me to be exposed to the flu, or, expose others. Of course, if one is vaccinated, it wouldn't matter if someone else were vaccinated or not. I realize from their point of view it's not that simple, for every person vaccinated, many more are not, and they see those individuals as at risk for getting ill, particularly children.

(See a related article The ethics of vaccination, even though it concludes that getting vaccinated is a good thing.)

Speaking of swine flu matters close to home, here in the Pacific Northwest a swine flu outbreak hit a Washington state campus hard. Approximately 2,500 students came down with the swine flu. Swine flu hits Washington State Univ. Classes started August 24th.

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