Swine Flu (H1N1) Vaccine Safety Questioned by Drug Policy Researcher and Professional Ethics Director
Posted Aug 06 2009 10:09pm
Some parents of autistic children have, for many years, questioned the safety of vaccines, vaccine ingredients and vaccine schedules in connection with the dramatic rise in autism spectrum disorder diagnoses. The standard response is that vaccines are safe and parents are typically branded as hysterical or ignorant or both. These responses ignore the fact that flu vaccines containing thimerosal are still given to pregnant women and that mercury based thimerosal crosses the placenta. The official don't worry be happy responses also ignore the cumulative amounts of mercury from the multitude of vaccinations young children receive. With the Swine Flu (H1N1) panic upon us some parents question the safety of the Swine Flu vaccine being rushed into production without safety testing. They are not alone.
In What do we know about the vaccines' safety? Not enough, published in the Globe and Mail, Alan Cassels a drug policy researcher at the University of Victoria and Arthur Schafer, director of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba, point out the fact hat public health authorities simply do not know whether the Swine Flu vaccine will be effective or whether it will be safe:
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.
Some public-health officials have described flu vaccines as “highly effective,” but the internationally recognized Cochrane Collaboration (which accepts no money from the pharmaceutical industry) did a systematic review of all high-quality randomized trials (25 in all) studying influenza vaccination. They concluded that “the evidence does not support universal immunization of healthy adults.” Period.
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.