Perhaps it is an inevitable result of the current climate in this country, but even the notion of vaccines can be politicized and infused with paranoia these days.
In recent years, many have come to believe that the childhood measles, mumps and rubella vaccine can cause autism — even though the “research” that sparked such beliefs has been shown to be fraudulent. Others have pointed to vaccines of various types as some sort of nefarious government plot. So it probably should come as no surprise that, with the flu season bearing down, recommendations for people to get vaccinated are met with skepticism in some quarters.
Across Washington, flu activity already has passed epidemic thresholds, according to an article in Sunday’s Columbian by reporter Marissa Harshman. And, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 25 states have reported widespread flu activity, including Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. In Clark County, as of last week, flu activity was elevated but not yet epidemic.
“The flu season is basically here in Clark County,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, health officer/administrator for Clark County Public Health. “This looks like it could very well be a severe flu season.”
Of most concern is a strain of H1N1, known as “Swine Flu” when it first appeared in humans during a 2009 pandemic, and medical officials report that it is hitting young adults and middle-aged adults particularly hard. “It’s the same virus that we saw in 2009 that caused the pandemic,” Dr. Michael Jhung of the CDC told CNN. “It has established itself very nicely in the human population. We’ve seen it every season since 2009 in people.”