Conflicting views on H1N1 vaccines
• First stages of swine flu vaccines rolled out
By Jim Hagerty
Vaccinations for the H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu, are in the process of being rolled out to military personnel and select test groups.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus could reach global proportions later this fall. The prediction falls in line with the organization’s announcement that all at-risk sectors should be vaccinated starting in October.
Earlier this month, military troops began receiving the vaccination, which has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Defense Department is said to receive about 1 million initial doses with the possibility of needing a reported 2 million more in October. As military personnel continue to receive what could be the first of two or three doses, the FDA is continuing to study the vaccine, while the Department of Health and Human Services is buying millions of doses in anticipation of what some say could be a run on the medicine.
Health professionals say the most at-risk of contracting the H1N1 virus are medical workers, people younger than 25 and older than 65, those with pre-existing health conditions and pregnant women—many of whom have begun to receive vaccinations on a trial basis.
Six hospitals in the U.S., including Duke Medical Center, have begun administering the drug to expectant mothers between the ages of 18 and 39. Participants must be in their second or third trimester and in good health. The purpose of the clinical trials is to examine how a vaccination may affect natural immune system changes during pregnancy.
While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other health organizations claim the H1N1 vaccine is necessary for certain people to ensure a pandemic does not take a deadly toll, others cite government dishonesty, including the claim that a mandatory vaccination would violate human rights. While there is no concrete proof that government, at any level, would make the H1N1 vaccine mandatory, other than for military personnel and medical workers, some claim the virus itself is not as bad as reports claim, and its vaccine could endanger the lives of millions of people.
Radio host Alex Jones has been speaking out against the vaccine since the outbreak was announced in March. With a barrage of claims, Jones asserts pushing the H1N1 vaccination is an attempt to monger fear on the public.
“[The government] is creating a Christmas toy scenario where everyone’s got to have it,” Jones said on his program. “They are getting ready for forced inoculations.”
Many in the medical field aren’t interested in Jones’ charges, and say they are concentrating on treating the H1N1 virus by vaccinating as many people as possible. The latest report claims one dose of the largely-unknown vaccine could be enough to ward it off. In southern Mississippi, more than 300 cases of swine flu have reportedly been documented in several school districts already this year. With two reported deaths, school officials say they are implementing special preventive measures such as frequent hand-washing and not sneezing or coughing on each other into regular curriculums. Such measures should also follow more proactive ways to avoid H1N1 exposure.
Melissa Adams of the Northern Illinois Medical Group, a holistic medical group with an alternative approach to traditional medicine, said immune boosters, increased vitamin intakes and exercise could be a safer route to prevent the disease than a vaccine.
Adams said, “Individuals with strong immune systems will have less to worry about than those with compromised ones.”
Adams noted she hasn’t always been proactive and, in the past, never questioned vaccines. With the swine flu, however, she has other plans and will not simply submit to directives to be vaccinated.
“Through research and education from the doctors I work for,” Adams continued, “I’ve come to realize that ignorance is not bliss, especially with this swine flu vaccine. It hasn’t been tested, and no one knows what the true side effects will be and knows what the ingredients are.”
From the September 23-29, 2009 issue
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