I just read that a flood affected US health department “staged a mobile clinic Tuesday with an emphasis on tetanus and hepatitis A shots” (despite a total lack of real evidence for doing so).

Floods don’t result in epidemics in the US.

An article quote said, “We have had reports already of people being sick. That’s the importance of the vaccine…”

“Flood shots”, as they’e been called over the years, are misused all too often after a devastating flood. The type of “shot”varies, depending mostly on local availability (i.e., whatever is on-hand). Shots for tetanus, hepatitis, and even cholera are often offered as “better than doing nothing” As an alternative, everyone in the US should have a COVID vaccine, regardless of flood status.


  • Epidemics will occur. Although often reported in poor nations, epidemics are very rare in the developed world.
  • Mass vaccination is necessary. (don’t risk complications from a “flood shot” given outside of routine recommendations)
  • Mosquito control is necessary. (don’t waste money spraying in absence of identified disease in the vector)
  • It’s all over in a few months. (It takes years, sometimes decades to recover from a flood
  • It’s safe after waters are gone. Many flood-related deaths occur during recovery as a result of burns, carbon monoxide poisoning, falls and electrocutions


  • Drowning
  • Injuries, mostly during cleanup
  • Loss of safe water and adequate sanitation
  •  Loss of food and shelter
  • Toxic exposures (e.g. chemicals, mold)

Water, water everywhere, and all the boards did shrink; Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink.

 -Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Coleridge-

Based upon: Keim M. Flood Disasters. In Eds., Koenig K, Schultz C. Disaster Medicine. Cambridge University Press. New York, NY. 2010 p 529-54

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