Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Calling all artists: GET THE FLU SHOT

For whatever it's worth, this is my call to action to try to encourage all artists to get their H1N1 flu vaccine shot. With conspiracy theories zinging about the internet with all the fury of a balloon boy hoax it seems that more and more people are buying into unsubstantiated hype, and fewer and fewer people are making informed decisions based on the available facts.

Well here are some facts regarding the arts community:

Artists tend to be among the poorer elements of the population - and their low income level is significantly chronic. This is reflected in their ability to get, and maintain, a high level of health care, and their ability to follow up that care with prescription medications and other ancillary care. Most do not have drug or comprehensive health and dental care.

This is significant enough that when I have tried to arrange group coverage for arts communities, the insurers have been hesitant for precisely these reasons. On the whole, artists tend to have more complicated (read expensive) health issues as many issues have gone undiagnosed or untreated. It is community that scares them. So, for many artists, their health may already be somewhat compromised by way of economic circumstance.

Among artists, and economically speaking, women are particularly hard it, according to available statistics. Certainly, and quite sadly, women artists are among the lowest income earners, particularly here on Prince Edward Island. At the very same time, women seem to be amongst the most vulnerable to H1N1.

Not only that, but many of the people in the arts community, especially those in the high risk demographics, have families and children to support and care for. If they become ill, this could have a devastating impact on their families ability to simply make ends meet.

And so, I am calling upon every member of the arts community to get the H1N1 vaccine. I don't want to see anyone in this community fall seriously ill, let alone, perish. I also don't want to see anyone from this community spreading this virus amongst the community, and potentially endangering someone whose health may already be compromised, and whose family is relying on them.

In short, do your part, and help protect yourself and our community.