Saturday, September 26, 2009

Swine Flu Vaccine Controversy

Being aware of all sides... and differing info...

Net the Truth Online

Disturbing: Read comments closely see excerpt

Should Parents Fear Giving Kids Swine Flu Vaccine?By Opposing Views Editorial Staff , To Protect and Serve Opposing Views - September 18, 2009

Related ArticlesFive Delicious Foods You Can Actually Eat Does "Save the Boobs" Breast Cancer PSA Go Too Far? Successful Dieters Show Unique Brain Patterns You Can Either Have Sex or Immortality; It's Your Choice Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration approved the long awaited vaccine for H1N1 swine flu. The government has ordered 195 million doses of it, with the first supplies expected to arrive in early October. It's recommended that the elderly, pregnant women and children get the shot because they have higher death rates from swine flu. But some parents may be hesitant to vaccinate their children due to fears of a rare but very serious side effect.

One of the ingredients in the vaccine is thimerosal, which is a preservative commonly used in vaccines. But thimerosal is a form of mercury, which can be toxic, especially for pregnant women and young children, Baylor College of Medicine vaccine expert Carol Baker told USA Today. But Baker, a member of the government’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, was quick to point out in a Q & A with the paper:

...thimerosal, made of ethyl mercury, is different from the methyl mercury found in fish. Methyl mercury can cause congenital problems in fetuses. The ethyl mercury used in vaccine isn’t thought to pose a problem, especially because it’s used in trace amounts.

Indeed, most studies have found that thimerosal is harmless. "We have yet to find any evidence that thimerosal ever hurt anyone," said Dr. Andrew Pavia, chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Utah told ABC News.

But there is still serious concern. This fear mostly stems from the the 1976-77 flu season when a vaccine developed to prevent the spread of a strain of the swine flu was linked to a still-unexplained increase in cases of a rare neurological condition known as Guillain-Barre syndrome in those who received immunizations.

Many groups opposed to current vaccination practices continue to condemn thimerosal as a toxin responsible for the development of autism and related ailments in children. "We don't have adequate safety studies on this vaccine before we are moving forward to market," said Lyn Redwood, president and co-founder of the group SafeMinds. "I'm really not convinced that we know for sure that the risk of the disease outweighs the risk of the vaccine, especially since this is a brand new additive that we have never used before in combination with thimerosal."

But medical experts say the fear is unfounded, pointing out that that is the reason why we have the FDA.

"I see no reason to anticipate major safety concerns with this vaccine," said Dr. Peter Hotez, a professor and chair of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Tropical Medicine at George Washington University. "The vaccine will be tested and licensed, and the FDA will not allow it to go forward unless the vaccine is shown to be safe and elicit an effective immune response."

The maker of the vaccine, Sanofi-Aventis, insists it is safe. Even still, spokeswoman Donna Cary says the company is anticipating making two versions -- one with thimerosal, and one without. So parents who still have concerns about thimerosal should have an option.

Excerpt Post Comment

If you like results in smaller bites, consider this. In 2003, Bayer petitioned California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to take thimerosal off the list of reproductive toxins. The OEHHA responded

"The scientific evidence that PMA and Thimerosal cause reproductive toxicity is CLEAR and VOLUMINOUS."

"The evidence for its reproductive toxicity includes severe mental retardation or malformations in human offspring who were poisoned when their mothers were exposed to ethylmercury or thimerosal while pregnant."

It's online at

Thimerosal in swine flu vaccines stirs fresh controversy

Read more:

Prepare for a Vaccine Controversy

...Public health officials had already stockpiled millions of doses of antiviral drugs, created diagnostic kits that detected the virus as soon as it appeared in California in April and enrolled five companies to make vaccine. By mid-October we may have as many as 80 million doses ready for a mass immunization program.

But if there’s a weak link in this chain of preparedness, it is the federal bureaucracy’s torpor in explaining the risks of the vaccination program to the public. There is a chance, for example, that the H1N1 flu will sweep through cities before the vaccine is ready, causing serious illness and many deaths. (By the same token, H1N1 may turn out to be so mild as to seem harmless.)

And there is a possibility that the vaccine itself might provoke side effects; for example, about one in 100,000 people who received the 1976 swine flu vaccine developed Guillain-Barré syndrome, a crippling nerve disorder.
Public health officials have grown more vigilant since then. In 1999, for instance, doctors reported cases of intussusception, a sometimes deadly intestinal disorder, in a few infants given a new vaccine against rotavirus. After a causal link was confirmed, the vaccine was withdrawn.

Six years later, there were more reports of Guillain-Barré, in patients who had received a new vaccine against meningococcal bacteria. This time, vaccine safety sleuths found that the association was rare or even coincidental, and the Food and Drug Administration kept the vaccine on the market...

Why is the swine flu vaccine creating controversy?

Flu season is approaching, and fear is riding along. Many people are aware that the H1N1 virus could re-emerge with a vengeance once the time for seasonal flu is upon us. Thankfully, a vaccine is currently being tested for potential release before “traditional” flu and the H1N1 virus or “swine flu” have a chance to hit us with a double whammy.

However, there are still other people who are afraid of the vaccine itself. In fact, fears surrounding the swine flu vaccine are growing by the day. First we heard from groups concerned that there may not be enough of the vaccine to go around (some estimates put the total number of ready vaccines at the start of flue season somewhere around 60 million doses, a far cry from what is needed) — now, people are pointing to the 1976 swine flu epidemic, also treated with a vaccine. The problem then? After receving vaccinations, hundreds of people came down with Guillain-Barre syndrome allegedly related to that vaccine.

I say allegedly because nothing has ever been proven. Sure, the illnesses lent bad publicity to the creators of that vaccine, and the program was halted only after an estimated 40 million Americans received the vaccine, but no scientific proof exists to link the 70s era swine flu vaccine and Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Regardless of any medical “proof”, many people are remembering what happened over 30 years ago and voicing their concerns about what might happen with the current round of planned vaccinations.
Also, there’s a new buzz word in the game of vaccine fear — “adjuvant”. What is “adjuvant”, and why are people angry about its addition to the proposed swine flu vaccine?

An adjuvant is “something that allows the immune system to respond with higher levels of effectiveness,” according to the pharmaceutical company Aventis Pasteur. Basically, an adjuvant is an additive that could eventually lower the amount of vaccine needed per person, opening up the door for more individual doses to be available.

Consumers are most likely concerned about adjuvants because they haven’t heard of them before. However, adjuvants (which are mostly made of different forms of aluminum) are already in use in the United States, and if you’ve had a vaccine in the past twenty years, you’ve already been in contact with them. Adjuvants are currently used in vaccinations for everything from hepatitis A and B, to diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccines...

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