Commentary: I'll take your H1N1 shot

The (Tacoma) News TribuneOctober 12, 2009 

I'm not going to question the decisions being made by some parents and health care workers to forgo swine flu vaccinations.

Apparently it has something to do with the hard-won American right to get sick and the nonfactual fact that the immunization is new, experimental and unsafe. If every hospital bed is filled with a nurse or orderly by the time all the school-age kids get the flu, well that's just hard cheese, I guess.

Again, I wouldn't want to question hysteria when I'm near hysterical myself. I'm not afraid of the shot, though. And I'm certainly not afraid of putting some mist up my nose. I'm afraid of the flu.

So all I'd like to ask these Opt-Out Americans is this: Can I have your place in line? Being a baby boomer, I grew up loving immunizations. I was happy –- proud even –- to be a little soldier in the war on communicable disease. I helped take on polio one sugar cube at a time.

Still, today I'm a regular at the flu-shot clinic, proudly displaying my Dora the Explorer Band-Aid to everyone in the newsroom who dares look at my pasty upper arm.

But with swine flu, I'm so far back in line that I've only heard rumors that there's a front of the line. The odds of me ever getting immunized are about the same as the asteroid Apophis colliding with Earth in 2036 (but slightly less than the Huskies scoring on fourth and goal from the one).

According to protocols set by the federal Centers for Disease Control, I am not young enough and not old enough. I do not have a job considered vital to the public health, welfare or safety (or vital at all). I don't have children younger than 6 months old. Try as I might, I am not pregnant. I do not have chronic health problems or immune-system issues.

To read the complete column, visit www.thenewstribune.com.

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