The flu season in the northern hemisphere has reached its midpoint, and the latest news suggests that the H1N1 outbreak has peaked in most if not all countries. Among the 208 countries where H1N1 has appeared, peak intensity persists in Poland, Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine. H1N1 vaccine is now widely available in the U.S., and many countries in western Europe are cancelling orders for additional vaccine because a single dose has been found to be effective. It’s likely there are continuing vaccine shortages in many developing countries, so travelers to these destinations should not expect to have access to the vaccine while abroad. It’s no surprise that manufacturing and distributing vaccine on a global scale at “break-neck speed” has produced widespread delays and surpluses and shortages.

If you haven’t had a shot, it’s still worth considering (especially if you are under age 30) as world health authorities warn that another wave of H1N1 remains a possibility. Plus, immunizing today is likely to give you some level of protection against related strains in years to come. Of course, everyone always needs to weigh the risks of side effects. Our species may weather this season’s attack without enormous social disruption and loss of life, but we’ve certainly been reminded that luck often outweighs all our furious efforts to protect ourselves.

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About The Author

Michael Hartung, editor of Healthy Travel Blog, serves as head of Product Development at HTH Worldwide. Mike is responsible for all product strategy and development for the company. Mike has over twenty years of successful product innovation to his credit. He has played a senior management role in three start-up companies and has built complex organizations in rapid growth environments. Prior to joining HTH in 2000, he served as President of U.S. Healthcare’s Workers Comp Advantage subsidiary, which he co-founded with Angelo Masciantonio. Mike has also served in senior roles at Aon Consulting, Vantage Health Partners and Managed Health Care Services. Mike earned an M.B.A. from New York University, an M.A. from Duke University and a B.A. from Carleton College.

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