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Health care workers, others need choice on flu vaccine


Published: Mon, October 23, 2017 @ 12:00 a.m.

Health care workers, others need choice on flu vaccine

As the leaves begin to color and the children are back to school, it becomes that time of year where we drive down the street past drug stores with the signs that read “Get your flu shot here.”

The shots become a controversial topic every year leading ourselves to ask questions such as: How beneficial are these flu shots? Are we really helping ourselves or hurting our immune systems by not allowing our bodies to build a tolerance?

Various health-care fields and nursing schools require a seasonal influenza vaccine in order to prevent patients from becoming more ill and for a worker’s own personal protection, but are we really protecting ourselves and others when medical personnel walk onto that hospital floor or in that doctor’s office?

According to the CDC, there are three different types of influenzas labeled A, B, C. The seasonal flu vaccine protects mostly against strands A and B. Scientists every flu season try to predict which strands they feel will be most popular during the autumn and winter months and that is how a vaccine is created.

But who is to say that even if we get vaccinated we won’t contract another strand of the flu that was not covered under the original vaccine as the months progress? The virus can take on different forms that scientists call an “antigenic drift.” This happens when genes of the influenza change as the virus replicates overtime.

Instead of having our insurance companies billed for a shot that may or may not work due to an ever-changing virus, health- care workers and community members should be allowed to have the choice to choose whether or not it is right for them.

Marisa DeLuca, Youngstown

Marissa DeLuca is a student in the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services at Youngstown State University.

Pricey Narcan treatments: A catch-22 for taxpayers?

As a student nurse working part-time as a pharmacy technician, I’ve gained a lot of insight into the lives of average, working people affected by rising health-care costs – specifically, co-pays for prescription medication. While working behind the pharmacy counter, I’ve seen many patients stunned when they are asked to pay double the price for a prescription they’ve been receiving for years.

One of the most recent infamous examples of this is EpiPen, with the sticker price soaring from $94 to more than $600 for two pens. The same is true for another life-saving drug with the brand name Evzio – also known as Narcan or naloxone.

Many families trying to help a loved one now come into the pharmacy to purchase vials of naloxone instead of paying the outrageous $4,500 cost for two doses of Evzio.

But now, police departments and first responders across the country are required to carry Narcan kits, which include the syringe, vial and nasal spray applicators. These methods are slower than the Evzio auto- injector but are more affordable.

Anyone in a human-service occupation would agree that the priority should be to save lives no matter what the cost, even if taxpayers are bearing the brunt of it. But with every use of Narcan, the likelihood of the victim finding treatment and getting clean for good is still unknown. And unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for the victim to be upset about being brought back because of the sudden and severe withdrawal symptoms they experience, which usually drive them to spend money on another fix.

I’m torn with this situation and the injustices on both sides. In a perfect world, I would love to see every overdose victim get a second chance and use resources to seek immediate treatment after their first injection of Narcan, and I want to see pharmaceutical companies fight to keep prices down rather than exploiting people who are sick for monetary gain.

However, with the public covering the cost of Narcan injections, struggling families trying to keep their loved ones alive with overpriced medication, and the drug abusers walking away from thousands of dollars of combined medical resources with no strings attached, you have to wonder: Where will this stop?

Valerie Jeffery, Youngstown

Valerie Jeffery is a student in the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services at Youngstown State University.

Celebrate Halloween over three or four days

In today’s unbelieve- able times, I’m trying to think about nice things our villages, towns and cities might offer their residents for enjoyment of the season.

On Oct. 31, the event is Halloween. Let’s have some good, old-fashioned fun. It could be stretched out to a three- or four-day event.

Let’s say Oct. 27 at a school auditorium, we have a storyteller telling ghost stories with maybe a scary movie or play. Refreshments could be provided for a fee to help sponsor the event for the community.

On Oct. 28, a Halloween dance indoors or outside, say a tennis court, with supervision, could take place. The people could come dressed in costumes with the DJ dressed as well and an unmasking at the end. For music, you could use songs like “The Monster Mash” with Boris Karloff and other songs of the season.

Oct. 31, Halloween night, at dusk, a Headless Horseman with an illuminated jack ‘o lantern could ride on a horse through town or parade field, chasing Ichabod Crane. Maybe light a bonfire, with a judging contest for the best costume of the children; again, refreshments for a fee.

One of the nights, you could have door-to-door trick or treat. I think this would be fun for all and a time to remember as we look back in years to come. Happy Halloween to all!

Paul Lawson, McDonald

Kaepernick needs to find more appropriate protest

I work at a physician’s office. While I am not required to wear a uniform at work, I am expected to dress and act appropriately while I’m there. If I were to show up for work wearing a shirt that has controversial words/graphics that represent my personal thoughts and feelings, I would most certainly be asked not to wear that while I was on the clock. If I refused, I would probably be told to leave, possibly fired.

I state this because when Colin Kaepernick started sitting then taking a knee during the national anthem at his NFL team’s games, he was on the clock. He should not have been allowed to continue that considering the NFL does have a specific policy that recommends players to stand during the national anthem.

If he wanted to call attention to police brutality against black males, he should have done some research and found out where in the U.S.A. there is a preponderance of this problem. Then, he should have gone on his own time and dime to these cities and used his celebrity to speak out about this during these cities’ public meetings that allow for the public to make comments.

What he’s done with his knee bending (which, ironically, is a sign of reverence for many religions) during the national anthem has just caused more division for an entirely different reason among a lot of people across the entire county. But he’s done nothing to start the dialogue with local police departments regarding his original issue.

Since Mr. Kaepernick is unemployed as I write this letter, I encourage him to do something more productive about his cause, and do it in a respectful and intelligent manner.

Factual information, coupled with a passionate delivery, is a powerful force.

C.V. Wirtz, Canfield


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