Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The real immunization gap

I sent in my application today to the college clinic for a flu shot. As a healthy 68 year-old, I am not high on the list of those who might receive the scarce vaccine.

Oh, well. Even if I get the flu, which is by no means certain, it is unlikely to be life threatening.

Meanwhile, in sub-Saharan Africa -- the continent that seldom makes a blip on our national conscience -- only half of children receive immunization for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP). Even fewer are vaccinated against hepatitis B and polio. Measles and diarrhea are killers. Millions of children die each year needlessly.