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October 18, 2009


I have not gotten a flu shot in over 30 years because when I got them, I got sick from them and the reaction grew worse until the last one I had a lump in my arm that lasted for months as well as having gotten quite sick. I assume I am allergic to something in them. I got the flu once in the intervening years and it was no fun but no lump in my arm after it; so I was still ahead. I thought about trying it with the swine flu shots except they say that there isn't enough for everyone and I am both in the older category and can avoid a lot of contact with people during the flu season-- except grandkids. I did get a pneumonia vaccination which might help if I get the flu.

What I think about Maher is he got called out by Alex Baldwin for favoring recreational drugs but not pharmaceutical. Hypocrisy and he got angry at Baldwin for it but it's what I also thought. He fears medicine but brags he does pot regularly-- give me a break.

Personally, I think if people get the flu vaccine, request it when possible without thimerosal (mercury) and it's available. Thimerosal doesn't cause everyone problems but why take the risk.

Pregnant women are the ONLY people who should get the vaccine.. Anyone else who gets it is out of their mind! Much more can go wrong by TAKING it as opposed to not taking it. There is less than a zero percent chance I will take this vaccine after I read this article: http://www.thevaccination.com/article/2/Should-I-get-the-new-H1N1-vaccine.html

They've only tested 120 pregnant women with this vaccine.


This push to get it out is an enormous experiment, just to be clear.


Bpaul, I doubt your figure. Here's a comment left on Dr. Sanjay Gutpa's blog last month. This physician, and expectant mother, says that a study of over 2000 pregnant women found the swine flu vaccine to be safe. I'm going to trust the knowledge of science over unfounded fears and speculation, as should everyone else.

As an expectant mother to be going into my third trimester in October, as well as a physician in the ICU and ED, I can tell you that I am quite concerned about the swine flu. I have seen first hand how quickly it can spread before anyone has even recognized it as flu, and how serious it can be for anyone with health problems. I also recognize first hand tht my immune system is not at all as strong as it was pre-pregnancy, and I feel particularly vulnerable. I will also share that I will get the H1N1 vaccine, preferably without thimerosal preservative, as there have been reports about thimerosal's ability to permeate the blood brain barrier in both mother and fetus.

As far as Guillan Barre Syndrome, I am a neurologist, and I can tell you that it is an extremely rare complication, albeit quite serious. Most of the GBS cases I treat have not had any association with a vaccination but rather an upper respiratory or gastrointestinal illness.

At the end of the day, it is all of our responsibilities to weigh the risks and benefits. In a recent study of over 2000 pregnant women, the swine flu vaccine (with thimerosal) was shown not to adversely affect mother or baby. By the time the thimerosal is in the actual individual vaccine, it is highly diluted. What will it do to our children down the line? We have no idea. But then again, the chemical additives that most pregnant women place into their bodies on a daily basis alone from fast food, sodas, etc, are probably far worse and taken completely for granted.

Just my two cents worth, from a super high risk pregnant female physician on the front line who has studied the literature extensively and is trying to make the best informed decision for my baby and myself.

Amy L. Jarvis MD

On a societal level vaccination may be a good policy, but individually it may not be.

A few bad reactions, side effects, even deaths as a result of vaccination is not a statistical problem to the CDC when considering mass innoculation of an entire population, but individually this may be a very big problem indeed.

For example, wild polio was entirely eliminated in the United States for decades until an isolated case appeared a year or two ago possibly due to contact overseas or with a recent immigrant. The only way anyone got polio in the U.S. was from the live Salk vaccine itself or by coming in contact with the feces of a recently vaccinated child. However, officials kept urging polio vaccination because they did not want to see a re-emergence of widespread polio. This went on for a long time.

To them this made sense, but why would any individual want to risk the vaccine when there was zero risk in not having it?

Finally, they were forced to cutail use of the live Salk vaccine and switch to a less risky killed virus vaccine.

Everyone must weight these risks as presented in the link provided above by Louise M. and decide for themselves if it is worth it.

Personally, it is not. Thimerosol, the preservative commonly used in the vaccine is a neurologic toxin with unpredictable and potentially very serious effects on the human body.

I witnessed recently a family of three healthy children become ill for several days after receiving the inhaled version of the H1N1 vaccine.

Vaccine are so safe that the German military and the government will get a special one ... with no mercury please..
See :http://www.thelocal.de/national/20091018-22649.html

Brian, for a sort of alternative guy you have certainly sipped of conventional medical/phamaceutical cool-aid. As you know from my book I have an axe to grind against conventional medicine which, IMO, doesn't equal "science." It more often than not equals "business."

I could cite dozens of articles on the problems of vaccinations. This one that I came across today has a good summary of many of the problems caused by "science." http://clareswinney.wordpress.com/2009/10/15/hawaii-legislators-question-h1n1-vaccines-doctors-express-serious-reservations-about-safety/

This book about the harm caused by the highly touted polio vaccine is also an eye opener http://www.amazon.com/Virus-Vaccine-Contaminated-Cancers-Government/dp/0312342721/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1256090512&sr=8-1

I'm with Bill Maher.

Brian writes, "Swine flu vaccine fearmongering is bad, bad, bad."

Again, in my opinion ( my opinions are entirely anecdotally based never having done a peer reviewed study) swine flu fear mongering must be bad too. See this past week's flu fear mongering on 60 Minutes featuring a strapping 15 year old fighting for his life. Don't run, gallop to get that swine flu shot.

Randy, the swine flu vaccine is safe. I don't believe any serious side effects have been reported. This article demolishes the myths that Maher and others are promulgating:

The story ends with...
"Since April this flu has caused tens of thousands of hospitalizations and more than a thousand deaths," Offit said. "This is only October and influenza is a winter disease, so no telling what we are about to see.

"We should thank the Lord that we have this vaccine at this stage."

Well, I'd rather thank science. It's a no-brainer to take the vaccine, especially if someone is young, pregnant, or in another high-risk group.

No side effects from the vaccine, which is effective in preventing swine flu. Versus tens of thousands of hospitalizations and over a thousand deaths.

Regarding the 60 Minutes episode, which I saw, this showed why it is so important to get vaccinated. Healthy people, mostly young, are falling deathly ill from the swine flu. 60 Minutes simply reported this truth. Facts aren't fear-mongering.


I'll encourage you again to apply the healthy skepticism you exercise in matters religious to the medical information you receive. Medicine is not science. It's a "practice." Vaccination is only one place where there is conflicting information. Consider today's news that the American Cancer Society is backing off their long time recommendation on frequent cancer screenings. The message between the lines is that it has been harmful. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/21/health/21cancer.html?_r=1&hp
One wonders how many women have had to undergo unnecessary lumpectomies, radiation and chemo base on bad "science."

One more comment on the vaccine controversy. There is a valid controversy.
Vaccine proponents should read and think about this article from the November 2009 Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200911/brownlee-h1n1

It raises serious questions about the politics and weak "science" involved in the promulgation of vaccines and also anti viral drugs. Concluding quote:

"All of which leaves open the question of what people should do when faced with a decision about whether to get themselves and their families vaccinated. There is little immediate danger from getting a seasonal flu shot, aside from a sore arm and mild flu-like symptoms. The safety of the swine flu vaccine remains to be seen. In the absence of better evidence, vaccines and antivirals must be viewed as only partial and uncertain defenses against the flu. And they may be mere talismans. By being afraid to do the proper studies now, we may be condemning ourselves to using treatments based on illusion and faith rather than sound science."

An alternative view on vaccines and other health issues.


An interesting take on H1N1. How vaccines are like a religion:

Randy, the way I see it (and how Canada's chief public health officer sees it), it's just the opposite. Religion twists scientific facts also:
Canada's chief public health officer, David Butler-Jones, said the alleged dangers are not supported by scientific facts, and the fears are often the result of people making inaccurate assumptions.

"It's sort of like saying that ice cream causes hot weather because (we see) more ice cream cones on hot days," Butler-Jones told reporters, saying that some immunization critics are "making up the facts".

Butler-Jones said Canada was able to slow the virus's spread by education on the need for personal protection, including regular hand washing, and that it will lose ground in the fight against the disease if myths are painted as fact.

"Immunization is the only thing that will stop the pandemic and prevent however many people from becoming ill," he said.
Also, about 100 children have died from the swine flu in the United States, while side effects from the immunizations have been minimal. Parents would be wise to choose a sore arm over death.

Your an idiot.

Brian, What do you think of the article in November's Atlantic? Does the writer make any valid points in regards to the science behind the effectiveness of the vaccine?

Pam, I found the Atlantic article interesting, but obviously I'm not qualified to assess it or critique it. For that, I turned to a public health blog written by experts who seems to know their stuff. Here's a rebuttal to the Atlantic article:

The bottom line is this. There is excellent and credible evidence in the scientific literature that vaccination against influenza reduces infections in people under 60, evidence that even Dr. Jefferson accepts. For those over 60, there are legitimate questions that were raised by others about the extent of the benefit of seasonal flu vaccine, but they were raised before Jefferson got into the act. The argument put forward in this piece is a straw man argument as far as pandemic influenza is concerned (and in which context it was placed).

I understand the rhetorical value of having a martyr-hero when pitching a story, but this was a particularly irresponsible time to pull this stunt.

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