A hot and talented nurse friend of mine sent this to me.
1. At this stage, for the most part the swine flu seems benign.
Over a million people in the US have already come down with swine flu, many of them without even knowing that they had it. The vast majority of people who get the swine flu recover after a week or so of high fever, aches, and respiratory distress. It’s not pleasant, but except in rare circumstances, it is not fatal. Most people who’ve been infected by swine flu think so little of it, they believe they just had a really bad cold or a regular flu. So unless the swine flu evolves to a much more virulent form, there’s no need for mass vaccination.
2. We don’t know if the vaccine will be effective.
Vaccines are only useful against the specific viral strain that was available at the time of their manufacture. But influenza viruses mutate quickly, and as the WHO has already said, the real concern with H1N1 swine flu is that it will combine with seasonal flu in the Fall, creating a new strain that will of course be immune to all available vaccines.
3. We don’t know if the vaccine is safe.
The FDA has authorized an expedited approval process for the swine flu vaccine, but we don’t know yet if it is safe. Even GlaxoSmithKline, one of the vaccine manufacturers has said, “The total population studied in clinical trials will be limited, due to the need to provide the vaccine to governments as quickly as possible. Additional studies will therefore be required and conducted after the vaccine is made available.”
In other words, the only thing that is safe, is to say that no one knows. Since it’s never been used before and they have not had time to conduct any sufficient human testing, by getting vaccinated you are being a human guinea pig.
4. Vaccine manufacturers have been insulated from liability by the government.
The Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius has granted legal immunity not only to the makers of the two drugs being used to treat swine flu, Tamiflu and Relenza, but also to the swine flu vaccine makers, for damages due to their use against swine flu. By effectively manipulating the legal system, the Pharmaceutical Industry through their powerful lobbyists have acquired almost complete and total insulation from any liability for their vaccines and adjuvants, which are additives added to generate a stronger immune response. It is believed that it is these adjuvants which often cause the problems. The last time the government embarked on a major vaccine campaign against a new swine flu was in 1976. Thousands filed claims for side effects such as paralysis caused by the vaccine and a number of people died. I am sure that the researchers know more now than they did last time and no one can say for certain that bad things will happen again or that you will suffer dire consequences if you get vaccinated. But this time you have no legal recourse even though this vaccine involves new factors, which makes it therefore experimental and unpredictable.
By shielding the manufacturers from any responsibility for any harm caused, the pharmaceutical firms have no financial incentive to make the safest product. In fact, they have a negative incentive to test it for safety, because if they are aware of problems, then they could potentially be held liable for willful misconduct.
Instead I advise my patients to build up and strengthen their immune systems to prevent viral infections.
THE LAST SWINE FLU EPIDEMIC
In 1976 after 200 soldiers at Fort Dix came down with flu-like symptoms the CDC and the country began to fear a pandemic of the swine flu was about to hit. The CDC identified the virus as being similar to the 1918 flu that killed thousands. The new 2009 H1N1 virus is also being compared to the 1918 swine flu.
The CDC called for a massive public vaccination program and pharmaceutical companies went to work. They were able to develop a vaccine quickly and experimental trials were performed on animals. But the results were disastrous when the vaccine was delivered to the American public.
Some people became sick with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a disease that makes the immune-system attack itself. “GBS is relatively rare in the general population but 10 times more prevalent among those who received the swine flu vaccine – particularly those whose immune systems may have already been compromised”, stated Medpage Today.
Ultimately the inoculation program was called off due to the risk and because the swine flu pandemic never materialized. The program was a key example of how experimental tests on animals doesn’t always translate to good medicine for humans.
In a typical year, 30,000+ Americans die from the flu and its complications. The Swine flu numbers may be higher, if infection rates are higher, as predicted, and depending on how many people get vacinated. But there is also a small risk that the lethality of H1N1 will change. The virus could mutate such that instead of death and complications being rare, they could be more common. At that moment, the fast availability of the vaccine could be crucial to avoid catastrophe. The risk is small, but so was the risk of failure from the levees in New Orleans.
Recent observations of little flu activity in places where the flu spread fastest in the spring, such as New York City, suggest that the population may already be building up substantial immunity to the virus. If this proves true, it will diminish further concerns over the overall number of people expected to become ill and could change the calculation on whether to get a vaccine, depending in part on whether you live in an area that has already experienced an H1N1 outbreak.