We would like to clarify some incomplete information concerning the safety of flu shots. The seasonal flu shot has been given to millions of pregnant women over many years. Both the seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccine are FDA rated pregnancy category C meaning they should be given if the benefits outweigh the risks. For both pregnant women and their babies, this is true because of increased susceptibility, greater risk for serious infection, hospitalization, and death. Since 2004, leading experts in obstetrics and gynecology have recommended that pregnant women be vaccinated during pregnancy. The CDC recommends they receive both types of flu vaccines and are currently in the highest priority group.
Although there are no completed clinical trials to examine the safety of the H1N1 vaccine in children, results thus far have been similar those seen in the seasonal flu vaccine. This data makes sense, since they are both produced using the same technique. Afluria has not been studied in children less than 18 years, but other brands (Fluzone) have been studied in children six months and older and have been found to be safe. It is also true that children less than nine who have never been vaccinated against the seasonal flu, need two doses if receiving the shot. In healthy children, nasal mist forms are available and only require one dose. Nasal mist does not contain thimerosal. For children with underlying medical conditions who cannot receive the nasal vaccine, the benefit of the two shots for each vaccine would still likely outweigh the risks.
The CDC estimated that about 36,000 people died, and over 200,000 people were hospitalized of seasonal flu-related causes each year in United States. Flu vaccines are the single best way to prevent getting the flu and stop the spread of these deadly illnesses.
Nicholas Maddux, North Dakota State University
Jessica Johnson, University of Minnesota
NICHOLAS MADDUX and JESSICA JOHNSON are doctor of pharmacy candidates for 2010 who are currently on clinical rotations in Brainerd.
Change school election dates
As many of the individuals stated while running for the District 181 School Board, I too believe that there were many qualified candidates. I think our board is in good hands. However, I was disappointed with the small voter turnout, as reported by the Crow Wing County auditor. As stated in your paper on Nov. 4, four years ago, only 7 percent turned out in a similar election and this year 11.4 percent voted. That's obviously a minority of us deciding who represents us all! Let's face it, electing school taxpayer representatives is probably one of the most important decisions we citizens make. I take it very seriously.
I think it's time for our school board to consider changing the school elections to be held simultaneously as the regular four-year elections during which we elect our U.S. president as well as other federal, state, and local office holders. In the past, the rationale of the board has been that there is so much more political information that the local voters won't pay as much attention to District 181's issues. I strongly disagree because that opinion doesn't give us voters much credit, plus those of us who did vote maybe had too much influence. When the new board assembles, I hope they decide to change this process. It's time more of us get involved.
East Gull Lake
Could the government be worse?
As far as the government running a nonprofit health care system with their mismanagement and corruption, the greed, excessive profits, obscene salaries and bonuses of the private sector are an even worse thought.
DNR forum is Nov. 18
The vast natural resources of Morrison and Crow Wing counties are some of our communities' greatest assets. The lakes, streams, and forests that surround the greater Brainerd area are more than just the places we live. Our unique outdoors are essential to our livelihoods and local economies - it's how we make our living.
So it is critical that we maintain our natural resources, and put real conservation efforts into the way we go about our lives.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is an important partner in that effort. Unlike many urban and suburban communities, the DNR plays a big role in our daily lives. From invasive species, docks and platforms, hunting licenses and lake improvement districts, people in our region interact with the DNR continually.
We hear from our constituents with DNR-related issues all the time. To give our constituents a chance to ask questions of the DNR staff, we have organized a public forum on Wednesday, Nov. 18 beginning at 6 p.m.
Bob Meier, DNR assistant commissioner of policy and government relations, and other DNR staff will be on hand to give a short presentation. They will provide information on a variety of topics, including the APM program and the Shoreland rules revision, and take questions from the audience.
The meeting will be held at the Northland Arboretum, 14250 Conservation Drive in Brainerd. We hope to see you there.
Rep. Al Doty
Rep. John Ward
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