Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Thanks Slate Magazine and Gary Markstein

H1N1, I am sorry but I don't believe the hype. I will not allow myself or my own to be poked with a shot of a questionable substance that was rushed to market under the guise of fear or pandemic. I don't tend to get hooked by the old the sky is falling trick. I have lived through Mad Cow, SARs and the Bird Flu. This all seems like the same old gag, I have seen this show before and I think it is overblown. I think the media, Health Canada and Big Pharm are in cahoots. I might come off as a conspiracy theorist. I may be seen as anti-establishment, but my gut tells me that there is much more smoke than fire in this second wave of H1N1. Fear, not science is being used to push the vaccine and I am not buying it.

First lets look what the Canadian media is telling us; First Canada's national newspaper The Globe and Mail with a wonderful little story about how health officials are scrambling to counter H1N1 'myths'. Yep a direct jab right at we the disbelievers, we the conspiracy theorists. The type of story that has to be countered by we the bloggers, who won't swallow what they, those who know 'better' try and feed us. This will only hurt a bit, it'll make it all better, trust us. Um, thanks, but no thanks.

Earlier this week The Chronicle Herald ran a story about the arrival of 1.4 doses of the H1N1 vaccine to Nova Scotia. A newsworthy story yes, but some of its content irked me, here are a couple of tidbits that made me growl;
Dr. Strang stressed that the benefits of the vaccine with the immune booster far outweigh any "theoretical" risks associated with the adjuvant.
So any risks are "theoretical", but the benefits, if there are any, are weighty. This is a classic line of defense, de-legitimatize the other side's concerns as theory and unproven but qualify your own line of argument as undeniable. You might not be right, thus we must be right... a hurrah for fuzzy logic. The thing is the only statement the health authorities can say with any sort of convection is that they believe the vaccine is safe. That is the only testing they have really done. There can be no proof of the vaccine's effectiveness until H1N1 has subsided, then and only then can the health authorities (if they choose to) do a follow up study. Such a study is impossible to do before mass vaccination. Why? Well because it would be completely unethical to infect a vaccinated group and a non-vaccinated group with H1N1 thus truly testing the vaccine's effectiveness. So there, the powers that be are working in the realm of "theoretics" as well.
stresses on the system may result from a spread of the H1N1 virus, the best defence is for all Nova Scotians to get vaccinated.
"Our message is that vaccination is the best way to protect ourselves . . . so we are encouraging people to get vaccinated,"

The province is no longer recommending that only people over 65 or in long-term health facilities get the seasonal flu vaccine.

The province was acting on studies that indicated the H1N1 vaccine would not work for those who had received the seasonal flu shot.

But new information has convinced health officials to administer the vaccines at the same time. Both will be available at the vaccination clinics beginning next week, Dr. Strang said.
It sounds to me that the health authorities are winging it. They waffle, they blow this way, then that. YIKES! They are bowing to public and corporate pressure. They feel they need to act fast. I fear that this is nothing but a huge over-reaction. A pandemic pandemonium.

Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer wrote the most balanced piece I have read about H1N1 and flu vaccinations in The Atlantic, here is their premise;
Whether this season’s swine flu turns out to be deadly or mild, most experts agree that it’s only a matter of time before we’re hit by a truly devastating flu pandemic—one that might kill more people worldwide than have died of the plague and aids combined. In the U.S., the main lines of defense are pharmaceutical—vaccines and antiviral drugs to limit the spread of flu and prevent people from dying from it. Yet now some flu experts are challenging the medical orthodoxy and arguing that for those most in need of protection, flu shots and antiviral drugs may provide little to none. So where does that leave us if a bad pandemic strikes?
There you go, a good long yarn that argues that anti-viral drugs do little if anything in ebbing flu deaths. So do vaccines work at all? Are they little more than motley placebos? I do not know.

I am in no way an expert. I do not believe I should be influential in anyone's personal H1N1 decisions. I believe in my gut that I am doing the right thing. I believe that I am internally wired to build my own immunity towards the flu. I trust my own body chemistry, more so than the chemistry brewed up in a lab burdened with a time limit. Do what you feel is right folks. Follow your own guts. It would appear that the Canadian H1N1 vaccine is safe, if it makes you feel that by getting the shot you are doing everything you can to protect yourself, your family and everyone else from potential illness I can't argue with your logic. There is no right or wrong in this debate, the facts are not concrete. It is all wait and see. In the meantime be well, wash your hands, avoid work and school if they become particularly sickly. Basically be smart, do what you think is best for you and yours. Good luck and good health.

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