Some good news on the vaccination front: the World Health Organization (WHO) welcomes the approval by Swissmedic, the Swiss regulatory authority for therapeutic products, for a trial with an experimental Ebola vaccine at the Lausanne University Hospital. This marks the latest step towards bringing safe and effective Ebola vaccines for testing and implementation as quickly as possible. The goal is to produce millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines by the end of 2015.
That’s incredible news; as of last Friday the U.S. Center for Disease Control was reporting a total of 10,141 report cases worldwide, with 5,692 confirmed by testing and 4,922 deaths so far.
Closer to home, there are plenty of alarming health situations to worry about over which we have much more control. During the 2013-2014 flu season, for instance, only 46% of Americans received their flu shot, even though it kills about 3,000 people in this country in a good year, nearly 50,000 in a bad one. Flu shots don’t provide immunization against every strain of flu, but they greatly decrease the likelihood of contracting the flu and the severity of the flu should one become ill. So, as New York Times op ed piece asks:
Do me a favor. Turn away from the ceaseless media coverage of Ebola in Texas — the interviews with the Dallas nurse’s neighbors, the hand-wringing over her pooch, the instructions on protective medical gear — and answer this: Have you had your flu shot? Are you planning on one?