To the Editor:
Vaccinations against influenza the "flu shot" should indeed be encouraged by our public health officials, but not merely to allay fears concerning confusion with anthrax symptoms ("Flu Shots Won't Alleviate Worries...", Nov. 1).
Influenza, a largely preventable disease, continues to kill over 20,000 Americans each year, despite the availability of an effective vaccine. Yet, between one-third and one-half of those who would most benefit, such as the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases, remain unprotected.
If more Americans get their flu shots, even though provoked by unwarranted fear of contracting anthrax, the net effect of this scare might actually result in saving lives, those that would have otherwise been lost to an old foe, influenza.