Part 4 of 5
This is the fourth part of a five-part series on preparing for a potentially tough flu season.
The H1N1 flu virus has been around for decades in various strains. Each year different flu viruses combine, that’s why a new vaccine is required annually.
June 11, 2009 The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the H1N1 to be a pandemic. The H1N1 virus contains a mix of human, bird, and swine strains.
Making a vaccine
Vaccines are prepared by first identifying the current year’s flu types. H1N1 was identified only last spring. The first concern is the rush to production for the H1N1 vaccine.
Madison gives her sister, Katy, a pretend shot.
The last time the government embarked on a major vaccine campaign to inoculate the public was in 1976. A November 1976 CBS program with Mike Wallace, stated there was only one recorded death attributed to the swine flu, but 300 claims of death from the vaccine. The CBS program related there were 4,000 filed claims (mostly Guillian barre a neurological disorder/neurological illness, one of the side effects from the shots).
This time around, people will have no recourse. You take a flu vaccine at your own risk. The 2006 Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP) allows the DHHS Secretary to invoke almost complete immunity from liability for manufacturers of vaccines and drugs used to combat a declared public health emergency. As long as manufacturers do not deliberately harm consumers, they won’t be liable for damages. Guillian barre shows up within 4 to 8 weeks after a vaccine. Waiting a full eight weeks before releasing a vaccine is important to see if there’s a complication risk. Hopefully, this year they will wait until the human tests are done and complication data have all been tabulated.
How are vaccines produced?
The next concern is that the vaccine production has changed. Traditional production of vaccines has been in chicken eggs. People allergic to eggs could not receive a vaccine. The egg method is more time consuming, therefore limited, especially when rushing to meet a deadline. Cell-based technology is relatively new and it brings faster results. Cell-based vaccines offer the potential to increase production surge capacity, such as with H1N1. The cell-based vaccines use mammalian (human, often kidney) cells to incubate the vaccine.
Dr. Joseph Mercola raises alarming questions about the H1N1 vaccine. He says, “The swine flu vaccine has been hit by new cancer fears after a German health expert gave a shocking warning about its safety. Lung specialist Wolfgang Wodarg has said that there are many risks associated with the vaccine for the H1N1 virus. The nutrient solution for the vaccine consists of cancerous cells from animals, and some fear that the risk of cancer could be increased by injecting the cells. The vaccine can also cause worse side effects than the actual swine flu virus.”
Are African green monkey cells being used to culture the virus for the vaccine? If in human cells, how were they obtained? Where is the vaccine being manufactured that will be used in the U.S.? Doesn’t the public deserve to know?
How effective is any flu vaccine?
What’s the ability of any flu vaccine to produce the desired result? This is really a BIG question. A problem for all flu vaccines is that viruses mutate and by the time vaccinations are given, the vaccine may not match the virus in circulation.
Effectiveness of the flu vaccine depends on who you ask. Even the Centers of Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) numbers are all over the place. When the vaccine is well-matched to a current virus they say the vaccine is 70 to 90 percent effective. Another CDC study found the vaccine was only 49 percent effective in children 6 to 24 months.
CDC’s own official records documented in National Vital Statistics Reports, reports only a few hundred people died from influenza (flu) in 2001. Although the average number usually given is 36,000; many of these deaths occur in people with pre-existing conditions, weakened immune systems, and the elderly. The CDC is projecting 50 percent of the population may get the swine flu this season. The most vulnerable are 18 to 24 year olds and pregnant women, with the primarily concern among people with pre-existing illnesses.
Dr. J. Anthony Morris, formerly Chief Vaccine Control Officer at the FDA said, “There is no evidence that any influenza vaccine thus far developed is effective in preventing or mitigating any attack of influenza. The producers of these vaccines know that they are worthless, but they go on selling them, anyway.”
Think Twice is an extensive site, full of articles, studies, and documentation. Although the H1N1 strain of influenza seems relatively mild, contracting the flu will put you out of commission for the better part of a week. The CDC is predicting that half of the U.S. population will get H1N1. The most vulnerable are those with pre-existing illnesses and pregnant women.
The thimerosal question
If you decide to inoculate your family, ask for preservative- thimerosal-free vaccines. The CDC claims there are no harmful side effects from thimerosal, yet it’s surrounded by controversy. Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative used in vaccines.
There are studies indicating that thimerosal can induce neural damage similar to that seen in autism patients. According to one study, thimerosal-induced cellular damage caused concentration-and time-dependent mitochondrial damage, reduced oxidative-reduction activity, cellular degeneration, and cell death. Thimerosal at low concentrations induced significant cellular toxicity in human neuronal and fetal cells. Thimerosal was found to be significantly more toxic than the other metal compounds examined.
As you may have gathered, the information in this blog is NOT approved by the FDA. You need to make an intelligent decision with your health care provider about H1N1 vaccination. I’ve provided hot links (click on the words highlighted in green) to read the studies and articles I’ve mentioned. Please do your own research to decide weather or not to vaccinate your family this flu season. In case you’re wondering, I’ve never had a flu shot and I won’t get one this year either.
Next: “What to do if you get the flu”