Last week at work a guy sent an e-mail out. He was at a local walk in clinic to get his H1N1 vaccine shot. He said there was walk in available with no wait.
I decided to drive down the hill to the clinic at the local strip mall from work. It was around a 5 minute drive down the hill. It was raining heavily that day. On the drive down I thought; I'm more likely to die in a car accident driving to the clinic and back than I am to die of swine flu.
I got to the clinic but I guess word got around and they said you needed an appointment and it was booked solid for the next two days. I just turned around and left. Luckily the drive back to the office was uneventful in the heavy rain.
In Nova Scotia there are around 1 million generally healthy people. Of this population 1 has died of swine flu this year. That's right, the chance of an otherwise healthy person in Nova Scotia dying of swine flu is literally about 1 in a million.
That's about as remote a chance of mortality as it gets. You're statistically much more likely to be murdered than to die of swine flu.
The most likely outcome for me is I won't get swine flu. If I did get it the far most likely outcome is I would enjoy a paid week off work without having to use any of my vacation time.
Some might look at that and suggest that there was no significant H1N1 threat. That it was and is an artificial crisis, just a lot of hysteria and sensational yellow journalism trying to sell newspapers. I believe the threat was at least somewhat overstated. Still I'll give the government some credit for acting on what it knew and acting in good faith.
I respect Dr. Strang and when he went on live at five more than once to state the threat was real and to get vaccinated then I believe he is competent and sincere and his statements are based on real science.
Still if H1N1 is such a threat then why so few mortalities? I think of it like the Y2K computer bug, and the cold war. There was perceived to be a serious threat to our very society. Vast resources were spent countering this threat. In the end the threat didn't really materialize and we were able to resume our lives.
Was there ever a real threat to begin with? Who knows, it doesn't really matter since the thing we were worried about didn't materialize [well not yet at least with swine flu]. So we should grudgingly consider it money well spent. The thing about H1N1 different from the cold war/Y2K is that with H1N1 we don't really have big powerful financial interests profiteering from the situation. So it is more likely to be sincere when we're told this is something we need to deal with decisively.