Monday, October 26, 2009

Swine flu vaccine raises troubling questions? Does it REALLY???

I saw this article in the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian on Sunday, and the total lack of balance and logic in it annoyed me so much, I had to write in.

Swine flu vaccine raises troubling questions

Really, what questions are so troubling? To me, the fact that people are asking questions is good, BUT the fact that their questions are so basic and that they do not look for or believe the answers from the CDC and other professionals is what is troubling.

Why are random people on Facebook quoted and their opinions given the same weight as medical professionals who have studied this stuff for years and have reams of scientific evidence on their side?

"the vaccine was rushed through development — many vaccines take years to make, while the swine flu shot was made in response to a virus that reared its head only months ago. They argue it hasn’t been properly or thoroughly tested"

"shooting myself up with an experimental drug that has not really been given enough time to find out the side effects"

Whoa - experimental drug? Maybe when vaccine technology was being developed in the last century, it might have been considered "experimental", but let's get real! We've eradicated smallpox by the use of vaccination. Polio - remember that?

Vaccines take years to DEVELOP, not to MAKE. The flu vaccine was developed ages ago. Different strains of flu come out every year.

H1N1-A is just A STRAIN of flu. Every year they determine what strains of flu are likely to hit, and make the flu vaccine for them. So, there's no "new" vaccine, no "new" process. It's what they've been doing every year, for OVER 40 YEARS, for the seasonal flu (other strains of infuenza, remember?)

Are we really seriously comparing the state of the art in medical science in 1976 - over 40 years ago - to that now? Flu vaccine might have been experimental then, but somehow, with BILLIONS of doses administered worldwide in the past FORTY years, think maybe that it's by now been properly tried and tested?

And of course, Wayne O'Brady on Facebook doesn't know of what this vaccine is composed. Guess he didn't look very far - a simple Yahoo! search turned up the following information provided by Dr. Richard Besser, former head of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

9. What are the ingredients in the H1N1 vaccine?

Again, there are two different vaccines. The nasal spray is what is called a "live attenuated vaccine." They take the virus and change it so that it can’t cause the flu, but it can infect the cells in your nose and cause an immune reaction. The injectable vaccine has a surface protein in it called hemagglutinin. All vaccines contain trace amounts of ingredients that are used in its manufacturing, as well as stabilizers so that the vaccine remains effective.

Also, if your vaccine comes from a multi-dose vial, it will have a very small amount of a preservative called thimerosol. It is important to remember that both vaccines can have trace amounts of egg protein in them, because the viruses that are used to make the vaccine are grown in eggs. People with egg allergies can’t receive either vaccine.

The level of basic scientific ignorance that is displayed when anything science-based is discussed is just appalling. This does not bode very well for the future of this country.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you Jacki. I have found people trying to warn me not letting my children to get the vaccine because it is not a good one. They say people are experimenting and many can get killed. So, what it is better then die from the flu than trying to get rid of it. Sometimes people do not think. And trying to reason with them is even worst because they are convinced about what they are saying, and they are not doctors.

Lisa Allen-Agostini said...

as i understand it, most vaccines take much longer than the four months or so the h1n1 vac did to come to market ("make" meaning develop and produce), because they are tested in several phases. this vaccine wasn't given the same rigorous testing, from what i deduced from the research (yup, research) i did.
what's in the vaccine isn't the issue--except if you have an egg allergy etc. it's the lack of testing and the potentially carcinogenic additives that most people who object have a problem with. plus the previous swine flu vac's link to GBS raised a flag.
drug companies are by and large unethical, as far as i can see. they will do anything they can get away with and charge you for it. none of us has any reason to blindly trust that the milk of human kindness flows through their corporate veins. these vacs are not being made for human good but for corporate profit. that's the truth and to simply *trust* that they're doing it right would be insane. if that makes me wrong... well. i guess i'm wrong.
why are fb people quoted? simple way to get quotes from a big sample. in no way are their opinions presented as definitive--although the AP, which presumably you'd trust more than me--found in a poll that a third of US parents were hesitant about giving their kids the vac as well. it's actually quite normal to solicit quotes for an article. would you have preferred i called random people on the phone? same result, no?
and btw it's not only folks like wayne and glenda who said they didn't trust the vac. Gillian Goddard, who is quoted in the article, has a degree in medicine although she is not a clinician.