Friday, July 17, 2009
Swine Flu Vaccine: Will We Have A Choice?
by Barbara Loe Fisher
The summer will be over before we know it and it will be time for the school year to begin. This fall, many parents are wondering what will happen to their children when they enter the schools. Some public health doctors want to turn schools into vaccination clinics where children will be the first to be injected with experimental swine flu vaccines1.
Less Than 50,000 Swine Flu Cases Worldwide
Every day we are being warned by doctors at the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to worry a lot about the H1N1 influenza A virus, which was first identified in Mexico in April 2009 and is being called the new swine flu. As of June 15, 2009, the World Health Organization states that 76 countries have reported more than 35,000 cases, including 163 deaths. 108 of those deaths have occurred in Mexico2.
We are being told that nearly 18,000 Americans have gotten sick from the new swine flu virus, with about 5 percent being hospitalized and 45 dying3. It looks like people, who are in poor health to begin with are at greater risk of having complications and dying from the new swine flu, which has symptoms just like regular influenza4,5. This is not surprising because people in poor health are always at greater risk of having complications and dying from infectious disease.
Most Flu-Like Illness Not True Influenza
What a lot of people don’t know is that true type A or type B influenza only causes about 20 percent of all flu-like symptoms that people experience during any given flu season6. 80 percent of all flu-like illness in a normal flu season is NOT caused by the type A and B strains of influenza contained in annual flu shots. And vaccine acquired immunity is temporary, while immunity gained after recovering from influenza is longer lasting7,8.
1968 Flu Pandemic Killed 34,000 Americans
The new type A H1N1 influenza virus public health doctors say is making people sick around the world is an unusual combination of human, bird and pig viruses9. Nobody seems to know exactly how this new virus was created and why it suddenly emerged from Mexico in mid-April - or if it will behave like past pandemic influenza viruses that caused 68,000 American deaths in 1957 and killed 34,000 Americans in 196810. (The CDC states that 36,000 Americans die from influenza complications annually, with most of those deaths occurring in the elderly and those in poor health). Influenza pandemics usually start with mild symptoms and progress to more severe symptoms before populations acquire immunity to the virus and it dies out.
Older Americans May Have Antibodies Against Swine Flu
The good news about the new swine flu going around is that there are signs those of us born before 1957, may be naturally protected and at LOWER risk of being infected11,12. Why? Because we recovered from influenza caused by similar influenza strains that circulated in past decades and have long lasting antibodies that help us resist infection. So the aging baby boomers have something to be happy about.
Vaccinated Children Don’t Have Natural Antibodies
But will health officials allow our children and grandchildren to get those same kind of natural protective antibodies to type A and B influenza, including this new swine flu? It doesn’t look like it. First, doctors in America have been insisting for the past few years that every child from six months old to age 18 must get an annual flu shot13. Second, there are now calls by U.S. health officials to give American children the first doses of experimental swine flu vaccines in the school setting14.
WHO Declares Phase 6 Alert; Public Health Doctors Exercise EUA
This is because the response by doctors at the World Health Organization, who immediately went into high gear within days of identifying the new swine flu virus emerging out of Mexico, was to declare a public health emergency. Now, they have increased the pandemic flu fear alert to Phase 615, which is the equivalent of the U.S. Homeland Security’s Code Red warning of an imminent terrorist attack16. Doctors at the Centers for Disease Control, who followed the lead of the World Health Organization, have done the same and are exercising unprecedented power that Congress handed over to them after 9-11.
Fast Tracking of Experimental Vaccines With Novel Adjuvants
Whenever the CDC declares a public health emergency, that declaration allows the Food and Drug Administration to permit emergency use authorization for drug companies to fast track creation of experimental drugs and vaccines that do not have to be tested as thoroughly as vaccines that go through the normal FDA licensing process17. In this case, Congress responded to the public health emergency declaration by giving a group of drug companies one billion dollars18 to fast track experimental swine flu vaccines that may include whole live19, killed or genetically engineered human and animal influenza viruses, chemicals, and potentially reactive oil based adjuvants that manipulate the immune system to boost the vaccine’s potency20,21,22.
States Enact Stronger Quarantine & No Free Assembly Laws
In some states, like Massachusetts, public health doctors have persuaded legislators to quickly pass pandemic influenza legislation that will allow state officials to enter the homes and businesses without the approval of occupants; to investigate and quarantine individuals without their consent; to require licensed health care providers to give citizens vaccines and to ban the free assembly of citizens in the state23,24.
What Can You Do?
What does this declaration of a public health emergency in the U.S. mean for you and your family? It means that, right now, you need to become educated about vaccination, influenza, vaccine risks, and the public health laws in your state. You need to find out what your rights and options are under new public health laws that may require you and your children to get vaccinated or be quarantined25.
Take Action Now
Go to www.NVIC.org and learn more. Register now to attend the Fourth International Public Conference on Vaccination Oct. 2-4, 2009 in Washington, D.C. and help organize in your state to protect your right to informed consent to vaccination. Call and write the state legislators you elected to make public health laws that govern you and your family. Make your voice heard.
Homeland Security, Department of Defense & CDC
As Department of Homeland Security officials are declaring that any disease outbreak is a matter of homeland security26,27; as Department of Defense officials are defining public demonstrations as “low level terrorism;”28 as CDC officials make plans to re-route airplanes to designated airports with quarantine centers to screen all passengers for signs of swine flu29; and as fast tracked experimental pandemic flu vaccines are being created to be given to American children first, it is time for all of us – whether we are public health officials addressing what we believe is a true public health emergency or whether we are ordinary citizens simply trying to protect our health and the health of our children - to act in rational and responsible ways.
Protect Health Choices
Every pharmaceutical drug, including vaccines, carries a risk and those risks are greater for some than others. In this time of fear, we cannot let that fear take away our freedom to make voluntary health choices, including vaccine choices, so we have the power to make sure that the cure is not more dangerous than the disease.
1. Neergaard, L. Associated Press: Kids may get swine flu shots first. June 16, 2009.http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090616/ap_on_he_me
2. World Health Organization. Epidemic and Pandemic Alert and Response: Influenza A (H1N1), Situation Update and Maps. June 15, 2009 (Update 49). http://www.who.int/csr/don/2009_06_15/en/index.html
3. Centers for Disease Control. Novel H1N1 Flu Situation Update (June 12, 2009). http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/update.htm
4. Discover Magazine. Risk factors for severe swine flu include lung ailments, pregnancy and obesity. May 20, 2009. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2009/05/20/risk-factors-for-severe-swine-flu-include-lung-ailments-pregnancy-and-obesity/
5. MMWR. Hospitalized patients with novel influenza A (H1N1) Virus Infection – California April-May 2009. May 22, 1999/58(19); 536-541. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5819a6.htm
6. Fisher, BL. The Vaccine Reaction. Flu Vaccine: Missing the Mark. Spring 2005. http://www.nvic.org/Downloads/3770Reaction.aspx
7. Wendelboe AM et al. Duration of immunity against pertussis after natural infection or vaccination. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2005. May; 24(5 Suppl): 558-61. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15876927
8. Aaby P, Cisse B et al. Waning of vaccine-induced immunity: is it a problem in Africa? Am J Epidemiol: Vol. 149. No.4, 1999. http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/149/4/304.pdf
9. CDC. Novel H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) and You. June 16, 2009. http://www.cdc.gov/H1N1flu/qa.htm
10. DHHS. NVPO: Pandemics and Pandemic Scares in the 20th Century. http://www.hhs.gov/nvpo/pandemics/flu3.htm
11. Health Day News. Older adults may have some immunity to swine flu. May 20, 2009. http://news.health.com/2009/05/21/older-adults-may-have-some-immunity-swine-flu/
12. MedHeadlines.com. Older people may be naturally safe from new swine flu. May 22, 2009. http://medheadlines.com/2009/05/22/older-people-may-be-naturally-safe-from-new-swine-flu/
13. CDC. Children, the Flu and the Flu Vaccine. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/children.htm#vaccination
14. Roth M. Pittsburg Post Gazette: Experts: vaccinate kids against H1N1 first. June 5, 2009.
15. World Health Organization. Statement to media by Margaret Chan, M.D.: World now at the start of 2009 influenza pandemic. June 11, 2009. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/2009/
16. Department of Homeland Security. Homeland Security Advisory System. http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/laws/gc_1214508631313.shtm
17. Barker T., Barrett P et al. The H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu) Outbreak: HHS Emergency Authorities to Respond. Foley-Hoag. April 30, 2009. http://www.foleyhoag.com/en/NewsCenter/Publications/Alerts
18. Shapiro L. Dotmed.com: Flu slowing down in most parts of U.S.; vaccine makers get $1 billion. May 27, 2009. http://www.dotmed.com/news/story/9198/
19. Rosenwald MS. Medimmune wins key contract to develop swine flu vaccine. Washington Post. June 2, 2009. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/01/AR2009060101608.html?wprss=rss_nation
20. Gaouette N. U.S. asks Glaxo, Novartis to start swine flu vaccine (Update 3). Bloomberg News. May 22, 2009. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601202&sid=acrQckr1NHLU
21. Pharmafocus.com. Companies poised for swine flu vaccine drive. June 1, 2009. http://www.pharmafocus.com/cda/focusH/1,2109,21-0-0-0-focus_news_detail-0-492811,00.html
22. Tritto E., Mosca F, DeGregorio E. Mechanism of Action of Vaccine adjuvants. ScienceDirect.com. February 5, 2009. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6TD4-4VJ4B72-6&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C0000
23. Commonwealth of Massachusetts. An Act Relative to Pandemic and Disaster Preparation and Response in the Commonwealth (Senate No. 2028).
24. Associated Press. Mass senate approves pandemic flu prep bill. April 28, 2009. http://news.bostonherald.com/news/politicsview/2009_04_
25. NVIC. Model State Health Emergency Powers Act. http://www.nvic.org/Vaccine-Laws/model-state-emergency-health-powers-act.aspx
26. Department of Homeland Security. Press briefing on swine influenza with Department of Homeland Security, Centers for Disease Control and White House April 26, 2009. http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/releases/pr_1240773850207.shtm
27. Presentation by Dr. Asha George, Senior Professional Staff, Committee on Homeland Security (Democratic Majority), U.S. House of Representatives on Preventing Pandemic Outbreaks at the Promoting Healthy Lifestyles Conference sponsored by the Black and Hispanic Caucuses of State Legislators. June 13, 2009, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
28. Oakland Tribune staff. Defense Department sees protests as terrorism. Contra Costa Times. June 15, 2009. http://www.contracostatimes.com/politics/ci_12589887
29. Turnbell M, Powers S. MIA may be a quarantine site in pandemic. Miami Herald. June 10, 2009. http://www.miamiherald.com/business/story/1089929.html
Posted by Mark at 12:50 PM