Public-health officials around the world seem to be suggesting there is a possibility this flu pandemic could get much worse, that is, become more lethal. If that were to happen, it seems “obvious” that wise people should seek to have a preventive flu shot or access to a pill. Many people will say to themselves: Why not get the shot, just to be sure?
Part of the answer to that question is that until a million people roll up their sleeves to get the vaccine, no one can be sure how safe it will be. This is also a decisive answer to those who favour making vaccination mandatory.
Cassels and Schafer point out that this is not the first time public health authorities have recommended action for treating flu without evidence to support the safety or effectiveness of that course of action. The quote above references a review of influenza vaccination generally which did not support universal immunization of health adults. The authors also discuss Tamiflu and Relenza, anti-viral drugs which are supposed to reduce the severity and length of flu but which have been shown by scientific testing to be little or no better than a placebo. Worse, a recent international study reveals that about 50 per cent of children who have taken Tamiflu experienced side effects from gut problems, diarrhea, to serious, neuropsychiatric problems. Cassles and Schafer take authorities to task for glossing over the problems with these anti-viral drugs.
I have in the past criticized the Globe and Mail for repeating the "vaccines can do no wrong" mantra of public health authorities and marginalizing parents who express concerns about vaccine safety. I commend the Globe and Mail for offering this thought provoking article using credible sources to provide a different perspective on the current Swine Flu Pandemic/Panic and the rush to flood the world with an untested vaccine.