Dates for your diaries (Booking available soon)
Porlock Village Hall Tuesday 3rd October
Washford Village Hall Tuesday 10th October
Dunster Tithe Barn Wednesday 18th October
“I MEAN, WHO DIES OF FLU?”
These were words of the wife of a 42 year old man who at that time was in intensive care and seemed to be doing just that (dying). Mercifully, he got better, but last year in Australia, for example, more people died of flu than in road traffic collisions.
The World Health Organisation’s sagely advice if you want to avoid getting flu (and, honestly you should) is to move to the middle of a desert, alone. Or get a flu jab.
Problem 1: “But weren’t there some problems with lowered protection a few years ago?”
The flu jab is a mixture of usually three vaccines against three different strains (ie members of the same family) of the flu virus. The precise strains are determined by which ones are most common in a particular year when the wave of flu infections start on the far eastern side of the globe. It is usually over 80% protective but, unusually, 2 year ago the majority of flu infections were from strains not covered by the vaccine; the actual protection that year was therefore much lower at about a third.
That’s a big shame for anyone who had the flu jab but then still came down with flu of course. But (a) forecasting natural events is never going to be 100% - but the scientists who do the forecasting are usually much more successful, and are likely to be more successful this year and (b) 33% protection is still much better than 0% protection.
Problem 2: Now I know what some people will be thinking at this stage: ”…Ah yes, but I/someone I know/someone I read about in the Daily Grump had the flu jab, and it gave them flu!”
There are few things in life which you can confidently say will never happen, but getting flu from a flu jab is one of them. The reason is that the jab contains inactivated, dead, fragments of the virus. These stimulate the immune system (and it is perhaps this immune stimulation that some people may experience after a flu jab) but not in over 4,000 million years or so have dead inert chemicals been persuaded to come to life.
Also, it must be remembered that people get their flu jabs usually in October, and there are plenty of other viruses around at that time. Some people out of the millions, who have a flu jab will a few days letter come down with some other viral illness that they would have had whether or not they go a flu jab – in other words, the flu jab happening before is a coincidence – but in the minds of the people who get unwell, it is firmly established that the jab must have had something to do with it. And so the urban myth continues.
So we strongly encourage everyone who is eligible (anyone over 65y, pregnant women, children and adults at risk of flu because of underlying ilnesses) to have their flu jab – I know I will be!