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Davis, California

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Column: No vaccine? No problem!

Guantanamo Bay prisoners are now being offered the H1N1 flu virus vaccine on top of the usual amenities of water boarding and detainment without trial.

It’s paradoxical to think suspected terrorists who were at one point being tortured have upgraded to being provided with vaccines for the national swine flu pandemic. Army Maj. James Crabtree told the Washington Post, “U.S. military officials are responsible for the health and care of the detainee population.”

Uhh. Did Obama make that much change?

According to the Pentagon, 300 doses of the vaccine are scheduled to make it to Cuba in the next few days, if they haven’t arrived already. Troops and workers will receive the vaccine first, but the detainees are next in the queue.

The UC Davis Student Health Services’ website states the “H1N1 flu vaccine will arrive [on the UC Davis campus] later than originally expected and may be available in December or January.”

It’s one thing to provide prisoners with a necessary vaccine for ethical reasons. However, the situation shifts when there is a shortage of vaccines at places like our Cowell Health Center and across the nation. Although detainees should receive vaccines for serious viruses, they should not be prioritized over other citizens.

If you have so much as sneezed in the last few months at Davis, the health center will probably diagnose you as having swine flu. They don’t even want you to come in to diagnose your sneeze. They ask you to call and they’ll let you know if the sneeze is dire. They also suggest that you stay home until 24 hours after the last time you sneeze.

They do, however, give you this nifty little note excusing you from all sorts of stuff. Almost like a get out of jail free card. I bet the Guantanamo prisoners would prefer that to a vaccine.

Anyway, with swine flu at “pandemic” levels, and vaccines more likely to reach Cuba before Davis, we all have been taking preventative measures. We’re told to constantly wash our hands and to avoid touching our nose, mouth, eyes and other people.

What about contexts where we have to touch people (like hand-shaking) but are unable to wash our hands? One context where this comes up in a lot – aside from being a prisoner – is in a business setting. Baryo Dee, president of Junior Investors and Entrepreneurs (JIE), has been thinking about this issue. She and JIE are hosting a workshop tonight at 6:45 p.m. in Olson 106 about preventing illness by using real business skills.

More specifically, JIE will be creating a business that relates to illness prevention.

“Our workshop will inform people interested in business about a core aspect of business: creating a business plan,” Dee said. “And those interested in the environment and disease management will learn steps we’re actively doing to prevent it.”

JIE is looking for “people interested in accounting, biology and other science majors, economics, management, English and journalism,” Dee said.

The JIE workshop combines science and business with practical use during these vaccine-less times. Those of us who aren’t studying science or business still have a lot to gain from this workshop.

“Everyone else can learn about resources on campus to help students through the entire internship/job search process,” Dee said.

People interested in joining might be able to receive internship credit or units.

When life gives you lemons, make some hard lemonade. If we can’t get vaccines for this year’s killer virus, we can at least make some practical use out of it thanks to workshops like these.

SARA KOHGADAI sneezed really early on this quarter and missed a week of school thanks to it. She vows never to sneeze again, but will see what kind of insider info JIE has tonight. If you want more info, e-mail her at sbkohgadai@ucdavis.edu.


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