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Monday, November 2, 2009

The swine flu vaccine: get it, or not!

There are laws that say you have to wear a helmet if you ride a motorcycle. There are seat belt laws that say you have to wear a seat belt. But there are no pig flu vaccine laws that say you HAVE to get the pig flu vaccine.

(You can learn more about the swine flu by clicking here and here. To learn the difference between influenza and the stomach flu click here)

I'm not saying you shouldn't get it. I'm not saying you should. I'm not saying you need to panic because there is an impending pandemic. I am not saying there will not be. I'm not a pig flu expert, yet I am educated as you are.

I'm not saying the swine flu vaccine is completely safe and I would definitely let my kids get it. I'm not saying it is unsafe and I wouldn't let my kids get within a 10-foot pole's length from the pig flu vaccine.

However, there are those who would argue both sides. You have government officials for the CDC and in the Whitehouse saying the pig flu vaccines that didn't exist a few months ago are completely safe.

Then there doctors like Doctor Ken Hartoff (an infectious disease expert) who said the following on Fox News (see video here):

"I have more concern about the vaccine than I do about the swine flu. It's been rushed to market. There are high levels of adjuncts, which make it more potent. It's kind of an unrefined method that they used."
Likewise, he added that it has antiseptic preservatives in it that has "been shown to cause autism in children with mitochondrial dysfunction... and the problem is you don't know if your child has mitochondrial dysfunction. I also worry about children, pregnant women, chronic neurological illnesses, and chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. I've seen people (who have been) devastated by these vaccines."

On the other hand, the notes Health and Human Services Secretary Katherine Sebelius said, "I think that the flu is serious, that we have a very targeted vaccine and we'd like people to take advantage of it - it's the best way to protect themselves."

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, notes:

"This is the same vaccine factories, the same companies, the same process that's used every year for seasonal flu. We know that it has an excellent safety record, and we are confident it will be safe."
So should we be scared about the pig flu vaccine or should we be scared about a pandemic. The truth is, you have to make a common sense decision based on the facts, and weigh the posible risks against the potential benefits.

Of course, we also have a history of the government being wrong. We had the government telling us in 1976 there was going to be a pig flu pandemic (I wrote about that here), yet more people died from the vaccine than the flu that year.

So now we have people scared of the vaccine, and for good reason. And we have people scared there might be a pandemic. However, while the flu may have caused a pandemic in 1909, medicine has come a long way since then. And while the vaccine may have been bad in 1976, the way they are made today are said to be much safer.

Now, I certainly don't want to get the flu, and I dont' want any one else out there to either. But is this really something we need to worry about, or something "they" just want us to worry about.

My place of emplyment is worried about the pig flu and the bird flu too for that matter, and has a plan of action in place just in case. They expect 40% of the workforce to be sick, and expect one nurse to take care of 10 patients. That's the plan.

They expect that to be a worse case scenerio. One good thing about this "scare" is we now have suction and oxygen regulators in every room, something the admins here at shoreline were reluctant to order due to cost prior to the scare.

And we got a new Vision and 2 new transport ventilators all free from the homeland security department. Although they weren't really free, as we all paid for them.

I had the flu wipe me out once. That was back in 1998 and I ended in the hospital with a bad asthma attack for 10 days. So getting the flu is nothing to take for granted.

The regular flu shot I think is proven safe for most people. I'm not letting my kids get it because I don't think they need some of the ingredients that are in it, but I get it. I get it because I can't afford to get sick, and I owe it to my patients not to give them the flu.

The pig flu vaccine, however, I'm not getting unless someone tells me I have to get it or I'll lose my job. Call me naive, but I dont' want to be a guenne pig, and I definitely don't want my kids to be guenne pigs. It stuns me when I see hundreds of people waiting in lines to get the vaccine, all of them obviously trust the government more than I do.

I'm not alone in not wanting my kids to get it, as according to Yahoo Health 40% of parents will not let their kids get it. But the reasons stated in the article are not the same reasons I have. The article notes the 1976 scare as the main reason people are "leary" of the swine flu vaccine. I'm leary of it because of long term unknown side effects as those mentioned by Dr. Frieden.
And my place of employment can legally tell me to get it or they'll fire me, because they don't need a reason to fire me. Your hospital and mine can fire either of us on the spot for any reason it chooses.

So, to fear the pig flu or not to fear the pig flu. So, to get the pig flu vaccine or not to get the pig flu vaccine. Those are your decisions to make. You have the freedom to choose You have the right. You have the right to be smart. You also have the right to be stupid.

My point here is the RT Cave is niether endorsing the pandemic scare nor telling you it's a hoax to sell vaccines so the company that makes it can make money (of course only one U.S. company has the guts to make such a vaccine due to the 1976 scare, so it won't benefit our economy much).

My point here is neither to tell you to get yourself vaccinated with the pig flu vaccine nor to tell you you must get it. It's your choice. Do your research. Be responsible.

I mean be responsible. If your boss says you have to get it you will have no choice but to get it, unless you prefer to find another job. And even if you get a new job your new place of employment may also make you get it.
Ah, one more thing. If the U.S. government mandated that everyone in the U.S. get the vaccine like it did in 1976 (it stopped the mandate after it realized the vaccine was killing more people than the flu), lawyers have confirmed you will have to get it or face the punishment whatever it be.

And yes the fed does have the power to put you in a confinement camp if it chooses (although when the fed has done this in the past it has not gone over well with the people).

If the government does decide to mandate this pig flu vaccine, there is only one legal grounds you have to not get it, and that is for religious or health reasons. So, if you wish to be adamant about not getting the vaccine, you had better start looking for a religion that is opposed to it.

One of my coworkers said she's going to make up her own religion and call it the vaccine religion.
Update: After I wrote this I ended up getting both flu vaccines. I have a band aide on each arm to prove it. Likewise, I have also learned there is an individually packaged vaccine available that does not have the preservative (mercury) in it that is safe for kids to get.


Crystal said...

Very interesting article. We have been trying to make the decision as to whether or not our son who is on immunosuppressants should get the vaccine. I am still waiting for a call back from his Rheumatologist, however, in the meantime I spoke to my professor for microbiology and A&P at school to get his opinion. I think now we are not planning on giving him the vaccine because of the possible side effects but I will say that it is a very tough decision. I really appreciate what you wrote and all of the links that you provided.

Rick Frea said...

Thanks Crystal. I just found out there is a mercury free vaccine that does not have mercury and appears to be safe for kids.

I've updated the post.

David in Houston said...

Rick- There seems to be a lot of fear mongering around this issue. I also think those that are drumming up fear rather than trying to educate themselves are doing the public a disservice, and creating increased risk to public health. You deserve kudos for taking the issue on honestly. I wish some of our media outlets did the same.

I think the constant meme of "government bad" from some media outlets has served us poorly. Government is not always the problem or the solution.

Government serves us best when it promotes our general welfare, protects our individual freedoms, and establishes laws that protect the weak from those who are strong and or wealthy who would abuse their power. It serves us poorly when it fails to do so.