Should You Get the H1N1 Vaccine?

David McCandless, author of The Visual MIscellaneum, delves into the usefulness of the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine. There was quite a bit of research involved, as there’s a crud load of material about H1N1 (naturally).

My wife’s an ER doc, and she says it’s not that big of a deal, seeing as way more people die from the flu, but here’s full graphic. You can decide for yourself.


  • Based on this data, by taking the H1N1 vaccination I have reduced my chances of contracting the flu by nearly 1 out of 2 with no apparent side effects. Any time I can reduce my chances of being sick the better. Then through in the potential severity of illness of H1N1 and the probability of fatal complications makes the decision that much easier.

  • It seems ironic to leave a written comment about a Visual Miscellaneum book, but here it is: I love the idea for that book.

  • Fails to mention that a nasal spray is easier and cheaper to deploy and more people are likely to have one (i.e. people who dislike needles)

  • Except the risks of mortality quoted for swine versus influenza are wrong. Or at least misleading, because they are based on different methodology. Originally morbidity and mortality due to swine flu were recorded based on confirmed cases only, whereas with influenza it is an estimate based on symptoms and complications.

    In other words, the risk of morbidity and mortality for swine flu is completely different and underreported if compared to influenza. However, they have recently changed their methodology so that estimates will match in the future (but people are still comparing apples to oranges in the meantime).

    Also, the reason for concern with respect to swine flu is that the susceptible population is 2-3 times larger. Therefore, if swine flu were to be as contagious and hit as hard as seasonal influenza, morbidity and mortality could be 2-3 times higher. Not to mention that we may be hit by both forms of flu.

  • Allen Grayson December 6, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    From what I’ve seen, the book appears to be very interesting.