Cost of becoming guinea pigs

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From June Beslièvre.

WE are told (JEP, 8 May) that Islanders will be offered the chance to take advantage of a new swine flu vaccine later this year.

This, we are told, means we would be the first to try out the new vaccine. The term guinea pig comes to mind – or should that be guinea swine? What will happen to our visitors? Will they have to have a piggy passport to say they have been inoculated before they set foot in the Island?

How will this be done and, more importantly, who will pay? Our doctor’s bill recently went up by £2.50 and no doubt the flu jab this autumn will be up to £15. Plus, of course, the States’ contribution to the doctors’ fees.

My abiding memory of this non-event was the 12-year-old sitting in a car crying her eyes out because she didn’t want to catch the flu like her friend and her mother ranting at the TV camera because the school hadn’t told them a pupil had holidayed in Mexico.

This reminded me of before the war when gas masks were issued and we all had to try them on. The youngest were still petrified even though they had Mickey Mouse masks. My mother frightened us all by saying: ‘We’ll all be dead in a month.’

On their website the World Health Organisation, who started the panic in the first place, give a list of things people should do to avoid catching this new strain of flu, the last one of which said: ‘Find healthy ways to deal with stress and anxiety.’

That’s the trouble with life today, all rights and responsibilities have been taken away from us and we have to do as we are told. The optimists among us will look forward to the long hot summer we have been promised but others, instead of getting reassurance that things may not be as bad as they seem, will worry themselves sick before the flu even arrives – if it ever does.

Beware calling ‘wolf’. A little story from my daughter in Canada: ‘I was in the mall food court with a lady standing close by who sneezed. I said “bless you” and followed with “I hope you haven’t been in Mexico.” She replied: “Yes I was, I haven’t gone to the doctor yet, it’s most probably just a regular flu that’s going around”.’

Genée Cottage,

Rue de la Hauteur,

St Lawrence.

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