Monday, July 27, 2009

Swine Flu Vaccines, Autism and Public Health Gamblers

You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when youre sittin at the table.
Therell be time enough for countin when the dealins done.

Now evry gambler knows that the secret to survivin
Is knowin what to throw away and knowing what to keep.
cause evry hands a winner and evry hands a loser,
And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep.

Kenny Rogers, The Gambler

In Europe governments are rushing production and purchase of Swine Flu (H1N1) Vaccines before the winter cold season hits and flu cases traditionally rise as reported at

"In a drive to inoculate people against swine flu before winter, many European governments say they will fast-track the testing of a vaccine, arousing concern among some experts about safety and proper doses.

The European Medicines Agency, the EU's top drug regulatory body, is accelerating the approval process for swine flu vaccine, and countries such as Britain, Greece, France and Sweden say they'll start using the vaccine after it's green-lighted — possibly within weeks.

In an interview, Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the World Health Organization's flu chief, warned about the potential dangers of untested vaccines, although he stopped short of criticizing Europe's approach outright.

"One of the things which cannot be compromised is the safety of vaccines," he said Friday. "There are certain areas where you can make economies, perhaps, but certain areas where you simply do not try to make any economies."

The WHO has predicted there could be 2 billion swine flu cases worldwide this year and next, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control predicts 40 percent of Americans might contract the virus.

Flu vaccines have been used for 40 years, and many experts say extensive testing is unnecessary, since the swine flu vaccine will simply contain a new ingredient: the swine flu virus.

But European officials won't know if the new vaccine causes any rare side effects until millions of people get the shots. Still, they say the benefit of saving lives is worth the gamble.

"Everybody is doing the best they can in a situation which is far from ideal," said Martin Harvey-Allchurch, a spokesman for the European Medicines Agency. "With the winter flu season approaching, we need to make sure the vaccine is available."

In Europe, flu vaccines are usually tested on hundreds of people for several weeks or months, to ensure the immune system produces enough antibodies to fight the infection.

But to ensure swine flu vaccine is available as soon as possible, the European Medicines Agency is allowing companies to skip testing in large numbers of people before the vaccine is approved."

The swine flu pandemic preparations prove some simple points in the vaccine autism wars - governments are more than willing to cut safety corners when it comes to vaccination of the public against contagious diseases. Safety testing before vaccine usage can be waived, and will be waived, if governments deems it necessary. And yet, parents concerned about vaccines and possible autism consequences, possible neurological damage resulting from vaccine usage, are branded as quacks and crackpots?

As the quote above highlights fully, governments are more than willing to gamble, to take chances with the unintended consequences of vaccine injections, if such injections MIGHT prevent the spread of a deadly disease. But of course they would not attempt to cover up such consequences after the fact, would they? After all they do know in advance that UNTESTED vaccines will only produce RARE side effects right?

Shame on me for ever doubting our public health gamblers.

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Unknown said...

Thank you for your comment and the links. Your point is well taken.

When a serious threat arises though vaccines are used regardless of whether they are tested or not for safety, for the aftermath or consequences of using the vaccines.

It does not really seem credible for public health authorities to say that the vaccines themselves are perfectly safe given lack of testing.

navywifeandmom said...

I don't trust them. Look back at the 1976 swine flu scare where the vaccine killed people but there was never an outbreak.

The regular flu is statistically more dangerous than the swine flu (not that I get regular flu shots either).