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What's worse? Swine flu or vaccine?

A number of our Readers Who Comment are among the many Americans who, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, are wary of getting vaccinated against the swine flu.

Although the shot to attack the H1Ni virus has its defenders, the rapidly growing comment string is full of concerns about government medicine, fears of vaccines, complaints about the unavailability of the vaccine for the H1N1 virus because of the time it has taken to produce, and more than the usual number of nutty theories.

As Rob Stein and Jennifer Agiesta write, "The findings illustrate the dueling challenges the federal government faces in its unprecedented effort to protect Americans against the first influenza pandemic in more than four decades." First there has to be enough vaccine; second the public has to be convinced it needs to take it.

We'll start with a conversation karloski kicked off in writing, "I read all of these comments with interest and some with more than a bit of amusement. What I do not get is the idea of the vaccine being 'unsafe'. What makes people more fearful of the vaccine than of the H1N1 infection? Is there some conspiracy theory running wild out there that I am not aware of? Is the CIA or FSB trying to control our minds or poison us by slyly forcing us to take an unnecessary vaccine? Can some one kindly explain the paranoia factor to me? Cheers."

To which tarded2much replied, "karloski, vaccines are nothing but a more benign version of the flu virus. They can and often do make people sick, but to a much lesser degree. Many healthy people avoid flu vaccines because of that."

Then karloski said, "Hi tarded2much, Many thanks for your reply versus some of the other and more hilarious replies.. I understand the concept of the vaccine and it's production. I suppose we can only blame a woefully inadequate understanding of science in this country for the irrational fears that the production method implies. I agree that it is completely regrettable that even one person should be harmed by a vaccine. Having said that, we have to recognize that as a society we run a much larger danger - in any pandemic not necessarily this one - of infecting many more people because of our fears for ourselves driving us to reject vaccination. Is not the larger good, maybe even that of ones own family, more important than our own selfish fears?"

And now to the other comments:

andycutler wrote, "The challenge for the federal government is to stop lying, stop committing genocide against smart kids with mercury laden vaccines, and put the criminals at the CDC on trial... Anyone who READS the journal papers finds them overwhelming and utterly conclusive in proving vaccines cause autism and many other problems..."

NOTE: A special federal court ruled in February that vaccines do not cause autism and that thousands of families with autistic children are not entitled to compensation.

jollygreen wrote, "The paranoia factor is the general mistrust that American must have in their own medical care system. It is entirely run as a for profit operation, and we capitalists know exactly what that means, "Privatize the Profits, Socialize the Risks". So why shouldn't we mistrust the motives of big medicine and the pharmas?..."

ahashburn, noting that H1N1 vaccine production has lagged behind projections, said, "And people say there will be no rationing in government run health care? See how the government is reacting to the H1N1 gives some insight as how the government will react in other national health care issues in a government run health care program."

ChaosSix wrote, "I love how this article doesn't actually tell us anything useful (like what the observed side effects of the vaccine are, or how many Americans have died of H1N1). It just tells us how people "feel" about the flu and vaccine..."

Georgetowner1 said, "I am not afraid of the vaccinaton. I want the vaccination. Where the hell is the vaccination, that's what I want to know. Gee, a Democrat Federal Government is months slow in its response. If it was a Republican adminstration, the Democrats in Congress would be raging about how uncaring the Republicans are..."

And Leo9 wrote, "Gee, we have years of overhyped dangers of various diseases, followed by fouled-up government-operated vaccine production. Is there any surprise that the citizens have become leery of government actions regarding public health? This applies across party lines and ideology, so both "major" parties are to blame..."

linda_521 said, "Geeze, more american dumbness. Scare people to death, create hysteria; force them to get the shot, brain wash them into getting the shot; Then don't produce enough vaccine to immunization them This is par for the course in the u. s. Everybody will had had this flu, and those that die will already be burried when enough vaccine is available. This is more of the elite, capitolism, culling out the lower, lower middle class. We do need a revolt/revolution in this country."

jjedif wrote, "The vast majority of Americans are science-illiterate, so it's not surprising that so many have been persuaded to forego vaccinations due to bogus claims about safey. It will be their loss."

Shawn1968 said, "I got H1N1 last June with my wife and two girls, ages 5 and 9. It was a bit worse than the regular flu but it wasn't that bad. Big phrama is making a lot of money off of this and they are the same people telling us that we should all take their vaccine. hmmm..."

floof wrote, "The reason people aren't getting vaccinated isn't just because they are worried about the safety. I know plenty of people who want it, but it's so hard to get that people wonder if it's worth the risk of standing in a crowded line for 2 hours to get one. The theory among many friends is that you're more likely to get the flu waiting in line for the shot, since the immunity takes several days to kick in..."

We'll close with clairevb, who said, "Looks like this controversy will clean up the gene pool a bit. Fewer conspiratoids will survive to reproduce. Just feel sorry for their innocent children."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  October 22, 2009; 7:20 AM ET
 | Tags: Swine Flu, Vaccine  
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Thank God no one insisted vaccination be mandatory. At my company, flu shots were available at no cost to the employees.

Want to ask your doctor how much it costs...? Even at 'FREE', the cost gets passed along to the taxpayer.

And what's this noise about kids needing two or three doses for it to be effective?

Posted by: sea_lyon | October 22, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Max666 - problem with the 'real' statistics on H1N1 is that there are no real statistics. As of September 1, the CDC no longer required laboratory confirmation for hospitalizations of any age or for pediatric deaths. In ALL years past, these two official tallies had to have lab confirmation to be counted. Look at what we have going on today: people are going to the ER and being told they have a 'probable' or 'suspected' case of swine flu. This is tallied now as an official case - no matter what kind of flu it is, or whether its the flu at for yourself from the cdc website about how its collecting data this year (actually, its about NOT collecting data)- but read it for yourself and then think about the 'real' statistics

Posted by: sarah130 | October 22, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

My doctor in Montgomery County says that he doesn't expect enough vaccine to be available here until it's too late in the season. So my answer to your poll is: "It depends." But I don't understand why the problem exists; the Administration has been flogging this horse from day one.

Posted by: qball43 | October 22, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Look at the latest statistics (i.e. the REAL ones). The H1N1 flu has killed more people 25 and under (not to mention 25-65 age group) than any flu in modern history (besides the flu of 1918). My best friends daughters (the oldest being my godchild) are VERY sick because the H1N1 flu shot was not available in time! Wake up world and provide EVERYONE with the H1N1 flu shot. I was lucky enough to get mine in time (and no, it is NOT worse than a regular flu shot!).

Posted by: max666 | October 22, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

In the past, any sort of flu bug hasn't had me down for more than a few days, and then not much. This year I got a flu shot for the first time in my life, and I felt like crap for almost two weeks. Am I going to consider getting another one, H1N1 or not?... Don't hold your breath waiting.

Posted by: tgolamb | October 22, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I love this quote: "Is not the larger good, maybe even that of ones own family, more important than our own selfish fears?" My responsibility as the patriarch of my family is their health, education and welfare. "The greater good . . .", as you refer to it, is the Socialist catchphrase whereby we allow the government to convince us that they know better what is good for our family than do the mother and father. Once they've got you believing that, you're theirs for life!

Posted by: OldTimer7 | October 22, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

"A legal court ruled that vaccines produced by the medical community do not cause autism. Since when did the legal profession become medical experts? I thought they were legal experts and that is why they are in the legal system?"

Actually, this was a court that has specific expertise in the area in the area of vaccines and vaccine injuries. And it was actually three courts, not just one. The cases selected were the *strongest* cases, and were considered under a special compensation program designed to give the benefit of the doubt to people who might have been harmed by vaccines. While judges are not specifically trained in medicine, they are experienced in taking expert testimony from experts and in fairly evaluating evidence. Detailed information on the court cases and excerpts from the decisions may be found here:

Posted by: trrll | October 22, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Think about the next quote for a moment.

"A special federal court ruled in February that vaccines do not cause autism"

A legal court ruled that vaccines produced by the medical community do not cause autism. Since when did the legal profession become medical experts? I thought they were legal experts and that is why they are in the legal system?

Why should I be reassured that the legal community says that a medical vaccine is safe?

That is like saying I should be reassured because the hospitality workers union, or the truckers union, or the computer professionals association, said the H1N1 vaccine was safe. They all have just as much medical expertise as the people who specialize in law do.

None at all.


"Looks like this controversy will clean up the gene pool a bit. Fewer conspiratoids will survive to reproduce"

That is true. The government goes after the smart people who know the government is lying, the "conspiracy people", and leaves the less intelligent ones who believe every word the government says alone.

I bet you were one of the crowds who actually believed the Bush administration when they said there were WMD in Iraq. You and people like you are gullible. You are a con man's dream. You are easy to fool.

It is people like you that the vaccines are killing. Us "conspiratoids" refuse to be injected by liars so we stay alive.

Posted by: happeh | October 22, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

There are billions and billions of dollars to be made in the business of vaccinations, lets not forget that. Most of those that oppose vaccines have no vested interest other than the health and safety of the populace.
Will all the contradictory information about the safety of vaccinations (see , the idea of pregnant women getting vaccinated nauseates me.

Posted by: skislock | October 22, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

"NOTE: A special federal court ruled in February that vaccines do not cause autism and that thousands of families with autistic children are not entitled to compensation."

Um, COUNTER NOTE: That special federal court tried test cases... paid off the ones it couldn't win... made them sign GAG ORDERS not to talk... then proceeded with the omnibus with the weaker test cases... and shut out nearly 5,000 families whose children were seriously injured by their vaccines. Families who have burned through their life's savings and 401K's... trying to help their kids. Families with compelling medical evidence of harm from the pediatric vaccines. Do you really think they'd go to court empty handed??? The Omnibus was a brilliant way to lump them together and defeat them all on the merits of the three test cases they didn't pay off.

Posted by: nanstiel | October 22, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

" and more than the usual number of nutty theories ".

Mr. Feaver
Those "nutty theories" saved more lives than these nutty vaccines. Those nutty theories make more sense than this whole article you wrote. How dare you!!!!

Posted by: BOBSTERII | October 22, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

what I'm getting from your paste and copy article is that anyone refusing the H1N1 vaccine or questioning the government is an illiterate wacko. Must be pretty hard on you mainliners to realize that the wacko fringe isn't so fringe includes more and more doctors, scientists, international immunologists, healthcare workers, teachers; in other words, extremely literate folks. Scary times...

Posted by: sarah130 | October 22, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

What do you expect?


WSJ/Murdoch Rag: Dumb it Down Mr President!

What do you expect from a nation that prefers the EASY DUMB DOWN WAY?

Dumb it DOWN!

Posted by: sasha2008 | October 22, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Will you get a flu shot this year?

Anonymous voting is enabled. Take a sec and vote.

Posted by: tonystamos | October 22, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

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