Kumanan Wilson, Canada research chair in public health at the University of Ottawa, said in an interview with Canwest News Service that children and adults could be exposed to an incompletely tested vaccine and that a compensation scheme is needed to encourage the public to buy into any mass immunization program.
When the World Health Organization last month proclaimed swine flu the first pandemic since 1968, Canada’s chief public health officer, David Butler-Jones, said everyone should get the new flu shot when it becomes available.
“The more people that have immunity, the easier it is to stop,” he said.
But Canwest News Service has learned that, unlike the United States, the Public Health Agency of Canada has no plans to compensate people who may be injured by an H1N1 vaccine.
A vaccine injury program would give people who suffer an adverse reaction faster access to compensation without having to go through the legal system. Quebec is the only jurisdiction in Canada that has a non-fault compensation program.Public Health Agency of Canada officials acknowledged last week there won’t be time for a swine flu vaccine to go through standard safety testing before immunizations begin in the fall. The first doses are expected to be available in three to four months. Officials said they are working with regulators on ways to reduce any time required for getting the vaccine out. Canada could invoke emergency provisions to get the vaccine out quicker, before all the data from human trials that test safety are complete.
Specifically, given some evidence that the swine flu (H1N1) virus has itself been linked to autism, governments should keep reliable records on autism diagnoses amongst children receiving the swine flu vaccine, or children born of mothers who received the vaccine while pregnant. Would it be too much to ask governments to keep such records and make the resulting information available before relying on the old "correlation does not imply causation", or "it's just a coincidence" arguments to mock those who see their children regress into autism after vaccination?