Last Sunday, I went ahead to get the H1N1 (novel influenza A) flu mist. Our local hospital was giving it to people who have ‘direct patient care’. Meaning healthcare workers like me who are 3-6 ft away of patients suspected with influenza-like illness. To be honest, I was having a dilemma about this. I wasn’t sure if this is ‘safe’ or not. To snort a live virus was not my favorite thing in the world, but if it could protect me from getting the H1N1 (also known as the swine flu or flu babi, as Indonesians say it), I’d do it.

I’d personally prefer the shot version, but only people in this group could have it:

  • Over 50 years of age
  • Pregnant women
  • People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs
  • People who have had an allergic reaction to a flu vaccination
  • People who have developed Guillain-Barre syndrome within 6 weeks of receiving an influenza vaccination.
  • People who have a moderate to severe illness.

Others asked me, “Why would you do that? Aren’t you scared? I wouldn’t do that if I were you. This is new and still experimental. My body is my temple, I will never get anything weird into it.”

First of all, I have faith in nowadays’ medical breakthrough. I may not be religious, but I do believe in science. I understand it’s a clinical trial, but if I could partake in a scientifically controlled study to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the H1N1 vaccine, I would. Second of all, I would not be selfish -not wanting to try on a possible precaution-  for the sake of my two kids who are the age of 7 and 8.

Back then when measles and smallpox were epidemic, could you imagine if nobody want to try to be vaccinated? Not saying that this H1N1 would be as scary as those two, but the number of deaths is rising.  I bet a lot of people was also pessimistic when Emile Roux and Louis Pasteur were working on the first vaccine for rabies by growing the virus in rabbits. And not too many were very enthusiastic to be administered by the vaccination.

Hopefully the inoculation of novel influenza A (H1N1) will be as successful as Edward Jenner’s smallpox. If a milkmaid from the 17th century could do it, so could we.

My body is my temple, and I’d like it good and strong to last a long time.

**Here is more info from CDC about 2009 H1N1 and Seasonal Flu**