Saturday, January 31, 2015

Risk Management

[The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] estimates that from the 1976-1977 season to the 2006-2007 flu season, flu-associated deaths ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.
Estimating Seasonal Influenza-Associated Deaths in the United States: CDC Study Confirms Variability of Flu
So if we go with that low number, it's likely that this flu season will kill about 3,000 people in the United States.
And judging from this chart, also from the CDC, it seems that most of us aren't vaccinated every year.

Which leads me to wonder: If we presume that some of the reasons people aren't vaccinated against influenza are roughly the same as the reasons why people don't partake of any other vaccine - too young, compromised immune system, allergies, et cetera, why don't we see the same level of interest in making sure that every has a flu shot as we are in making sure that all children receive measles shots?

My guess, this time a simple one, is that people simply aren't as afraid of the flu as they are of measles. Which makes sense. The flu, while a threat, is more or less a mundane and everyday sort of issue, seen by most people as a given. Which is a recognized confounding factor in most people's ability to accurately gauge the level of a threat.

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