In past years there have been flu pandemics that have affected large numbers of the population, caused much death and resulted in severe economic and social disruption.
Spanish flu occurred just after the First World War and caused millions of deaths worldwide. "Asian" flu in the late 1950s and "Hong Kong" flu in the late 1960s were less severe, but had serious consequences globally.
Pandemic flu is caused when a new strain of influenza virus emerges which is markedly different from recent circulating strains. As most people are not immune it can cause serious illness and result in more serious disruption to society than "Ordinary" flu we see in the UK each winter.
What about the Avian Flu?
Avian flu is infection caused by a strain of influenza virus that usually infects wild or domesticated birds (particularly poultry), but occasionally crosses the species barrier and infects people. This is what we have seen recently in the cases in South East Asia.
Until recently, it was thought that avian flu only rarely affected people and caused only mild disease such as conjunctivitis. Since 1997, however, more severe illness has occurred in people who have become infected with avian flu strains following exposure to infected birds. One strain H5N1- has been associated with a very high death rate when people have been infected.
Is there a vaccine for avian flu?
Not at the moment for people. An H5N1 vaccine is being developed against the current H5N1 viruses.
The government has a stockpile of antiviral drugs for emergency use and is building up this stockpile against the start of the pandemic.
What do we do as Christians?
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)
Yes indeed, God has not given us a spirit that fears and gets anxious each time the enemy threatens to cause destruction. We as Christians have been given power, love and a sound mind. We obtained this spirit through Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within us. Since we have a sound mind we do not fret or get worked up when the enemy tries to come in like a flood. Fear is contagious.
It is a strategy that the enemy uses. Instead of submitting our minds to fear, let us renew our minds with the word of God. Then we will have power to overcome any plans of the enemy and maintain a sound mind at all times.
So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.Isaiah 59:19 (KJV)
Should I get vaccinated?
If it's being offered to you by your GP (General Practitioner) then yes why not. However the flu vaccine is mainly recommended for all those over 65, the very young and those who would be seriously ill if they were to get the flu e.g. people with sickle cell.
I received my flu vaccine yesterday at occupational health. As a health care professional it was required for us to do so.
However judging by past historic flu pandemics, which have occurred even though people have been vaccinated I am not 100% protected.
Is that good news or bad news?
Good news for those who are covered by the blood of Jesus, bad news for those who are not. Hey I know it sounds harsh but it's the truth.
See the day you accepted Christ as your lord and saviour you received the greatest, most reliable and effective vaccine ever created.
It's not man made, never runs out and is ever flowing from our Lord Jesus Christ.
The blood of Jesus will not only protect you against any new strain of the influenza virus, it protects against all diseases. Glory be to God!!
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)
God already paid the price for our healing back on that old rugged cross. The blood of Jesus covers us. That is the greatest vaccine.
It doesn't mean you do not get vaccinated against the common diseases that are endemic in many countries worldwide for example if I'm going to Nigeria I will need the malaria chemoprophylaxis and typhoid vaccinations.
However it does mean that if Man's vaccines fail (which they often do) we have the blood of Jesus already there releasing those antibodies that are ever flowing from the cross, kick-starting our immune system into action and washing away any virus, bacteria. You name it in -in sight.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (KJV)
Do not be anxious about anything. As Christians when we hear rumours of potential plagues, wars, etc we shouldn't fear.
Instead we're to make our requests known to God through prayer and thanksgiving. Then the peace of God will keep our hearts.
As a child of God you're not only saved and heaven bound, you should also walk in confidence on this earth knowing that All things work together for your good.
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12 (NIV)
If you have been given the permission to enter into the holies of holies and approach the God of the universe, what do you have to fear?