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Swine Flu: Will You Vaccinate?

The swine flu vaccine may very well be coming to a school near you. The question is, will you vaccinate?

The federal government plans to get 100 million doses of the vaccine in October, reports The Post's David Brown and Spencer S. Hsu. First in line for vaccinations: children. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says schools are "natural sites" to be the principal venues for delivering vaccines.

Brown tells me that for the swine flu vaccine, people will probably need two shots at least a week apart. These will be separate shots from the seasonal flu vaccine that doctors already insist all children ages 6 months and older need. The medical community is still determining whether the seasonal flu vaccine needs to be given at a different time from either of the two swine flu shots. Thus, he reports, it is conceivable that people might need three separate shot visits. Studies on the H1N1 vaccine, its effectiveness and its interaction with the seasonal flu vaccine have just begun.

At least some folks are expressing skepticism about the vaccination:

Barbara Loe Fisher, the co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center, has posted a video questioning whether we'll have a choice in vaccinating our children.

And Non-Toxic Kids writer Katy Farber of Vermont says, "It feels rushed, and a little intimidating." Farber notes that she's not anti-vaccine but she does "like to take a minimalist approach to medication and intervention."

As for my own kids, I don't yet know whether I'll have them vaccinated should it be available. I do know that my decision will come after doing a lot of research and talking it out with their doctors and my husband.

How will you respond to calls to vaccinate your children?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  July 13, 2009; 7:04 AM ET
Previous: Black Children Kicked Out of Pool | Next: My Child, My Choice


Sure, I'll vaccinate. I got the swine flu shot in the 70s and lived to tell about it.
Epidemiology shows that children are the primary spreaders of infectious diseases. If vaccinating my kid saves an old lady from dying of swine flu, I'll do my part to promote herd protection.

Posted by: beta1 | July 13, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Of course we will vaccinate our kids. We'll get it too if/when offered.

Society benefits from full vaccination. That's how we got rid of polio in the US.

Posted by: r6345 | July 13, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Beta, I'm sure you know there were a couple dozen (maybe more?) people that died from the Swine flu vaccine in the 70's and they discontinued the shots. The question is do we trust the vaccination in 2009? Yes, I know technology has improved but the stigma is alive still today, coupled with a rapid (real or percieved) testing period and you will have apprehensive parents.

The federal govt can not mandate a flu vaccination for minors. Further, I take a dim view of intimidation tactics and do not agree the shots should be distributed in the schools.

I am also undecided, I want more information and advise from my doctor.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | July 13, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

With two kids in preschool, almost certainly. A feature of H1N1 is that the young are particularly vulnerable.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 13, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Moxiekids will be vaccinated. We get the flu shot every year and this year will be no different. It isn't just about protecting the kids, kids spread disease, so vaccinating your child is also protecting the elderly and immunocompromised people who are likely to suffer the greatest if they contract the flu.

I think having it in the schools is a great way to vaccinate lots of kids in a cost effective manner. I think they should do all the vaccinations in the schools but that's another discussion.

This disease has the potential to be a significant public health threat so I think that people who refuse to have their child vaccinated should not be allowed to send their children to school. If you want to take advantage of all the wonderful things being a part of a community offers, then you should be willing to do your part to ensure the health and well being of those around you.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | July 13, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

No vaccinations for my children. I like to think of them as kids rather than guinea pigs.

If some old lady is so weak that a little cold and sniffles will kill her, she either doesn't belong in public or should get the vaccination herself.

And when autism/cancer/diabetes rates significantly increase throughout the population in the next few decades, I fully expect to hear the same tired old line from the medical community that goes something like this, "We haven't a clue what's causing this phenomena, but one thing we know for sure, - it's *NOT* the result of pumping children full of broken pieces of genetic code and mercury."

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | July 13, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

There is evidence that people are infecting swine with H1N1 and, in turn, becoming infected from swine. Pigs are a wonderful petri dish for new/mutated viruses that can transfer to humans. I'm not terribly concerned about this particular iteration of H1N1 - but if this thing mutates and becomes more virulent there could be a much bigger health problem.

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | July 13, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely! Since DD has an underlying medical condition (asthma), she will be first in line!

Posted by: anne23 | July 13, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

We're waiting for more information. This line from Stacey's post sums it up:

"Studies on the H1N1 vaccine, its effectiveness and its interaction with the seasonal flu vaccine have just begun."

So, let's see. We've got an influenza virus spreading. A couple of months ago, we had a mass panic attack as a country, thinking it was 1918 all over again. Well, it didn't quite work out that way. Oh, but it's going to hit next winter, when it will be 1918 all over again, unless everybody gets two new shots, which we don't know whether or not they'll work, and we don't know about their side effects, and we don't know about their interactions with traditional flu shots, but we'll let you know about those just as soon as we find out about them.

Like others, I'm old enough to remember the last swine flu mass hysteria, in 1976. That was when one solder at Fort Dix died of H1N1, and four others got sick, resulting in the medical community recommending that everybody in the United States get vaccinated for swine flu, starting with President Ford as the symbolic guinea pig. The side effects of the vaccine included at least 25 people dying and about 500 total getting Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

So, to recap, the total numbers were: H1N1, one dead. H1N1 vaccine, 25 dead.

(Google "swine flu fiasco" or "swine flu debacle" and you can find all the details for yourself.)

Thanks, medical community!

No, we're not anti-vaccine; the whole family traditionally gets flu shots and I suspect we'll all get the traditional flu shot again this year.

But as far as H1N1, I think we'll apply the scientific method and wait for the medical results to become legitimate before succumbing to some mass panic.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | July 13, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Agreed, moxiemom! That's a great point. Parents who don't want to give their kids the H1N1 vaccination are welcome to home school. Of course, I think we should take that approach with the polio vaccination as well.

Posted by: ladylily | July 13, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely not. It's an untested vaccine that in a previous attempt caused death. I will continue to get info and make an informed decision when the time comes, weighing the benefits and risks to my children.

No vaccine provides 100% protection. In the case of the swine flu, we have no idea how effective the vaccine will be. This should be part of the information used by parents to make a decision about vaccinating, but the risks and effectiveness of the vaccine are completely unknown because it will be rushed to market. I would never blindly let my kids be injected.

And let's not forget that the manufacturers of the swine flu vaccine are protected from liability for injuries and death by the Vaccine Injury Fund. There goes the incentive for the companies to do full and complete testing; profit motives enter the picture too, only complicating it further.

Posted by: LoveSnow | July 13, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Moxie, You are off base with your comment on children that are not vaccinated not being allowed to go to school. By that logic the Federal/state/local gov't can refuse your children admission to school for non-vaccination of the regular flu and a whole host of other "health issues". I don't want to go down that road and think putting our full faith in the gov't to make these decisions is an assault on our parental rights. I say all this being an advocate for annual flu vaccination, but against mandating.

It is yet to be determined if H1N1 will be any different than the regular flu mortality wise, right now it is the introduction of a new strain. The common cold kills people, do we start all staying in our houses when we have the sniffles? Bubble people?

Posted by: cheekymonkey | July 13, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

"Parents who don't want to give their kids the H1N1 vaccination are welcome to home school."

I'm sorry, but I consider that statement naive and offensive. I'm perfectly happy to vaccinate myself and my children when appropriate, but I'm not going to subject them to an untested, unproven vaccine that was developed in a crash program (when lots of corners were cut) and that may or may not be worse than the actual disease.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | July 13, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

This is a clear case of the cure being worse than the disease. The H1N1 flu is no worse than the common cold. Why take a chance on an unproven vaccine to avoid something that is no worse than a cold?

Any parent with common sense will see that the risks of the vaccine are greater than the risks of the H1N1 flu. I urge all people to seriously think about this and skip getting the vaccine if you have any doubts about it at all.

I've worked at FDA for 20 years now and I see no valid reason to be exposed to this vaccine or any concrete evidence to support getting this vaccine. As for my children, they most certainly will NOT be getting this potentially dangerous vaccine. I value them too much to allow them to be guinea pigs to avoid something that is no worse than a cold.

Posted by: MyPostID8 | July 13, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

"So, to recap, the total numbers were: H1N1, one dead. H1N1 vaccine, 25 dead."

Unfortunately, the numbers are misleading.

Answer this: How many people would have died from the swine flu during the mid-1970 had people NOT received the vaccination?

Could it have been 100 or 1,000 or 10,000 or 100,000 - yes.
Could it have been 0 - yes.

Probabilities show that the number would have been higher than 25. For that reason, the vaccine should be a requirement for living as part of a society.

Posted by: r6345 | July 13, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

"The H1N1 flu is no worse than the common cold."

And the 1918 epidemic started in the spring with a mild form. It came back in the winter and killed many.

Posted by: r6345 | July 13, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Well, yes, the swine flu IS worse than the common cold. I know many people who have had it. Thankfully, not too close to hear (several sleepaway camps have either postponed or closed or have set up quarantines, and I've been hearing from the parents. My sister also told me her family had it....I don't know if they were just really sick or not...).

So far, though, I haven't heard of any deaths.

I guess in the fall we'll get our regular vaccinations from the 'regular' flu. And I'll call up some friends at the CDC and ask them if they think it's a worthwhile thing to get the vaccine. They will be getting the vaccine first, from what I hear.

It isn't the best thing in the world to get a vaccine just because it's there. I am concerned that it's quick to market and that there probably wasn't a ton of testing...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | July 13, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

"Probabilities show that the number would have been higher than 25. "

Could you please explain how you arrived at this conclusion? Please bear in mind that I have a Master's Degree in Statistics, so I'm happy to read as detailed and technical an answer as you'd like to provide.

For a technical explanation of the 1976 H1N1 outbreak, I'd recommend this:
an excellent analysis from the CDC's publication "Emerging Infectious Diseases."
An interesting statement from that report:
"A/New Jersey [the particular strain of H1N1] probably circulated for a month and disappeared. The source of the virus, the exact time of its introduction into Fort Dix, and factors limiting its spread and duration are unknown (15)."

In other words, the H1N1 virus in 1976 was introduced into the basic training environment in Fort Dix; it circulated for about a month, and then it disappeared. WELL BEFORE the vaccine was widely distributed. And the medical community still doesn't know why it stopped, apparently on its own.

Given that, I'd really like to know why you think that the probability was high that more than 25 people would have died without the vaccine.

Again, please feel free to make your explanation as technical as you want to.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | July 13, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

There are a couple misconceptions floating around here.

First, people keep calling the swine flu vaccine "unproven." However, based on that criterion, you should never get regular seasonal flu vaccines either. Those, too, are "unproven". Why? Because every year, they create a new seasonal flu vaccine based on which flu virus they expect to be prevalent in the following flu season. In other words, each year, the new seasonal flu vaccine has not been "proven".

Second, while there is widespread belief that the swine flu vaccine in the 70s caused some cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, close examination of the evidence shows that it did not (e.g. no one in the military who got the vaccine developed the syndrome).

That said, my only hesitation in getting my child vaccinated is that going in for three separate shots sounds like a pain in the butt for a relatively benign flu.

Posted by: rlalumiere | July 13, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

"In early 1976, the novel A/New Jersey/76 (Hsw1N1) influenza virus caused severe respiratory illness in 13 soldiers with 1 death at Fort Dix, New Jersey"

1 / 13 = 7.7%. With a death rate of 7.7% (yes, n=13 is small), how can you NOT say that had the flu been allowed to move on (i.e. without vaccination) the US death rate would not have exceeded 25?

Posted by: r6345 | July 13, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

What are the recommendations of the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics)?

Posted by: mediajunky | July 13, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

rlalumiere, I don't vaccinate myself or my kids against the flu every year for that very reason: it's a "guess"; it's an unproven vaccine. Lots of people I know who have had the annual flu vaccine have gotten the flu, yet neither my kids or me have ever gotten it! Frankly, all vaccines come with side effects and are a gamble. We each have to make the best decision we can for ourselves and our families.

Posted by: LoveSnow | July 13, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

"had the flu been allowed to move on (i.e. without vaccination)"

That's the point - it wasn't the vaccination that stopped the flu; it stopped by itself. And the medical community has never figured out why.

The 1976 swine flu outbreak was over well before the vaccination was widely available; the vaccination had zero to do with transmission stopping.

THAT'S how I can say that the death toll would have been less than 25 without the vaccine. All evidence compiled and detailed by such sources as the CDC indicates that the death toll without the vaccine would have been exactly 1. Which is less than 25, according to my math work.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | July 13, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

"That's the point - it wasn't the vaccination that stopped the flu; it stopped by itself. And the medical community has never figured out why."

The flu was stopped by the military action.

From the article you provided:

"Additionally, earlier military influenza vaccines (1955–1969) and some civilian formulations (1956–1958) contained swine antigens" - this could have resulted in some protection to others at the base.

"The virus was transmitted to close contacts in the unique basic training environment, with limited transmission outside the basic training group." - transmission was limited and the military was good at preventing transmission (i.e. quarantine. Society today is different than 30 years ago. Travel is significant. It will continue to spread.

"However, the impact of A/New Jersey virus on this healthy young population was severe in terms of estimated infections, hospitalizations, and duration of the outbreak."

For those reasons, it is important for vaccination. And the death count from H1N1 is already higher than 1 in the US.

Posted by: r6345 | July 13, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Stop feeding the antivax madness. Do some serious research and start promoting the REAL SCIENCE of vaccines and their crucial position in public health.

Yes, both myself and my child will be vaccinated for flu this coming fall. Both of us are up-to-date on our vaccines. Sadly, due to the complete inadequacy of science education in this country, there are some who will continue to wallow in hysteria rather than reviewing the science which has brought our child-death rate to the lowest point in history. Children in less-developed countries DO STILL DIE from childhood diseases (measles have as high as 1 in 4 deathrate), and sadly, these diseases are making a comeback in the developed world due to ignorance and charletans who, for whatever reason, think that vaccines are irrelevant.

They aren't. They help save lives-- yours, mine, and our children. Space them out if you have the time and are that concerned, but protect not only your children, but your community's children.

Posted by: dahozho | July 13, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Sign this consent form:

I hereby give consent for my children to receive 2 season flu shots and 2 swine flu/H1N1 flu shots, which has never before been done, and which may not protect against a mutated virus that was not in circulation when the vaccines were produced, and I also recognize that these shots do inject a little bit of the disease into my children to develop antibodies, and that the vaccine may not be completely safe, and that I will do nothing else to elevate the immunity of my children or improve their ability to produce antibodies. I will completely rely upon vaccination which in past years has been completely unsuccessful in immunizing children or adults. I also agree to believe the falsehoods issued by government health authorities that 36,000 Americans die every year of the flu despite massive efforts to immunize. I also will not examine data showing only a third of Americans receive flu shots each year but an epidemic never occurs in the unvaccinated. I agree not to question health authorities and to subject my children to the health risks associated with vaccination.

Signed: _______________

Posted by: billsardi | July 13, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

dahozho: but the flu vaccine is not the polio vaccine. Or even the chicken pox vaccine (that i was apprehensive about, but gave to my kids).
It's a totally different type of vaccine, given, as indicated above, that it changes every year (for good reason, as the flu changes every year).
So far, the H1N1 virus has infected those who typically don't get the flu. But the few deaths I've heard about have been of people who had some other medical condition.
So there's a huge difference between the flu vaccine and a vaccine for something like whooping cough.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | July 13, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

atlmom: a lot more people in the USA are at risk than they know. Obesity is now being considered a risk factor for death from H1N1. Asthma already is a risk factor.
The news is being cagey about releasing "complicating conditions" because they can't guarantee patient privacy when it's one or two people at a hospital that died. But there are some trends starting to emerge in the news.

Posted by: beta1 | July 13, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

"and I also recognize that these shots do inject a little bit of the disease into my children to develop antibodies,"

I don't think scientists use live virus anymore to create human vaccines -

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | July 13, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

"The flu was stopped by the military action."

What military action stopped the virus?

The article makes clear that the Army's response to the virus, working closely with the NJ Dept of Health and CDC, was outstanding, and did much to get scientific facts out very quickly. (Sadly, the article also makes clear that the same response probably isn't possible today because the military doesn't have a facility like WRAIR any more.)

But there's nothing in the article that indicates a causative action.

"From the article you provided:

"Additionally, earlier military influenza vaccines (1955–1969) and some civilian formulations (1956–1958) contained swine antigens" - this could have resulted in some protection to others at the base."

You copied that from the "Summary and Speculation" section. The "Outbreak Investigation Planning" section of the paper says:

"Additionally, earlier military influenza vaccines (1955–1969) and some civilian formulations (1956–1958) contained swine antigens (10). Most basic training soldiers were in their late teens and early twenties, so few had potential exposure to military vaccines (the earlier military vaccines were available to civilian workers and soldiers' families) (10)"

(This would seem to refute the earlier vaccines being a preventative.)

"transmission was limited and the military was good at preventing transmission (i.e. quarantine."

There's no evidence that the military quarantined individuals, except those that had to be admitted to hospitals. There's a natural segregation of troops in basic training from the general public, but that's not "quarantine." You're still interacting with over a hundred people, every single day, as the article makes clear.

"And the death count from H1N1 is already higher than 1 in the US. "

In 2009, yes, we agree. But not in 1976.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | July 13, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I'm bored. Where's today's backup topic?

Posted by: jezebel3 | July 13, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse


Remember that these flu viruses are ALWAYS mutating. Always. No one ever knows or can predict if/when one of these mutations will turn the mortality rate into something extremely serious. Even if the vaccine doesn't specifically address new mutations (like new ones this fall), the vaccine WILL provide more protection than facing a new mutation with the virus without any protection.

No, the vaccine isn't a guarantee for avoiding H1N1. But it should mitigate the effects of the virus in vunerable populations, including myself and my child-- making it more survivable.

Even the basic news reports show that the present swine flu virus is *incredibly* contagious. Add in a new mutation that turns out to be deadly? The results could be horrible. I'll take some protection over NO protection. Of course flu vaccines are not the same as 'other' vaccines. Measles, rhuebella, & etc. are very stable viruses. Influenza is not-- and that's why its a different story in getting the vaccine ready to go year-to-year. The underlying science is the same.

Posted by: dahozho | July 13, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

"I also recognize that these shots do inject a little bit of the disease into my children"

FWIW, the candidate H1N1 vaccination uses a killed virus, NOT a live one.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | July 13, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Move along. Nothing to see here but Army Brat competing with a one-legged person in an a$$-kicking contest.

That, and dahozho and r3645 need to enroll in a remedial logic course.

Posted by: anonfornow | July 13, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

As a virologist and researcher that works with avian influenza, I have read not only the media reports, but also the scientific literature, including analysis of sequences. I will most definitely get the vaccine as soon as it comes out and so will my 8 year old son.
I will not even try to convince people to get the shot, but I can tell you that most of my colleagues are somewhat concerned about some of the properties of this virus, even though the first round was relatively mild.

Posted by: yvoennsche | July 13, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

It is a hard decision in light of the vaccaination many years ago.

But I think I will. My spouse has no immunity due to a immunity problem. He can't have it because he's way too open to havoc, so our family needs to be immunized to be sure we don't get it and spread it to him.

If he got the flu and died, which is a possibility since he has an underlying condition, I don't think I could live with myself.

Posted by: RedBird27 | July 13, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Having gotten Guilliane-Barre from my first flu shot last fall, nothing would ever induce me to be vaccinated against anything again.

I still suffer from neurological problems from that, and have no idea if they will ever go away.

As to protecting the old ladies beta1 is worried about, one of which I am, by vaccinating children, note that most older people are believed to already be immune to this flu variant because of their exposure during the 1950s.

Posted by: trudy41 | July 13, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I would not; Until they go a year without vaccinations and show that we would have been better off getting vaccinations. But they won't do that study because they know that their will be less flu cases without giving out millions of free vaccinations. If vaccinations were really necessary they would not be free. This is just a way for a big and highly over-funded government health agency to continue to be funded. If we don't get vaccinated they will not be funded.

Posted by: maphound | July 13, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

For those that believe that vaccinating the children helps the population and does noting for the children, think again:

Posted by: cutterjohn | July 13, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Assuming that this vaccine is formulated the same way as the regular flu vaccine, my kids won't be getting it- 2 of the 3 are allergic to eggs. I stupidly listened to our (former) pediatrcian and got the regular flu shot for my oldest two years ago, and she broke out in hives all over her entire body. Thankfully, no worse reaction followed.

Posted by: floof | July 13, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

My 12-year-old son came down with all the swine flu symptoms just before school ended here in Seattle, in June. He wasn't terribly sick, but he had some high fevers, and after a week it developed into pneumonia. What was almost worse than the illness itself was all the school he ended up missing, because he wasn't supposed to go back to school for a week after his last high fever. His teachers simply weren't well-prepared to help him learn at home for 7 days and his grades dropped because there wasn't enough time to make up the work. Yes, I will definitely vaccinate my kids if I feel assured by the medical community that the vaccine is safe. I think vaccines are pretty safe these days.

Posted by: kate24 | July 13, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I am allergic to the vaccines and do not want my child or future grand children to get vaccinated for the flu. It is wrong to vaccinate the general healthy public against a virus that kills only a very small percentage of people.

But it is a free country, at least for now, vaccinate to your heart's content and you can enjoy your bubble children and bubble grand children. I prefer that mine get dirty and occasionally get sick so their immune systems can function properly.

For those who scream it is 1918 all over again...It is NOT and never will be. Sanitary conditions are far better now.

Posted by: skramsv | July 13, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

"Rushed and a little intimidating" -- Huh? If Katy Farber's children got the flu this fall and we didn't have a vaccine ready, would she be yelling at the feds to work faster? Is there some reason not to rush? I am impressed that the feds hope to have a vaccine ready so quickly -- and yes, my kids and I (I'm an educator) will all get a shot.

Posted by: gazooby | July 13, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure that the real threat will come from the swine flu during a pandemic. I think the real threat will be who will take care of your sick child if you get sick? Who will rush out to your house If you have a hearth attack? Where will you get water, food, etc, from.

Everyone should have enough food, water, medicine, etc to last them at least two weeks. A month would be ideal. This way if it hits, you can stay in the house.

I don't know if I will get the shot or not, but the vaccine needs to be made and available for medical personnel, etc.

Posted by: supersonic1 | July 13, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

No way! The vaccine will likely be much more dangerous than the disease itself. The vaccine will be experimental and our medical "professionals" would be guessing in regards to a vaccine for such a disease which is constantly mutating, etc.

Stay away from my kiddos with that toxic crappola (ie Swine Flu vaccine).

Posted by: SusieQ2 | July 13, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Last week, at a family gathering, we looked at a report on the family tree, including some newspaper clippings. One was dated 1918 and listed the people who had just died from the flu and resulting pneumonia.

The flu can be deadly, as it demonstrates every year.

Posted by: AZrls | July 13, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

The swine flu did not seem like a big deal. It seemed to kill people who already had compromised immune systems.

We will be asking our pediatrician. I guess if our Dr recommends, then foamgnome's kids will get the vaccine. I am also interested to hear what atlmom's CDC friends say about it.

Moxie: I think the public school can not mandate vaccines due to religous reasons. Some religons forbid vaccines. I think they say your welcome to come to school but if you get the disease, you need to stay at home. I think that is fair because they have every right to be there if they are not sick. It really doesn't change anything because even vaccinated kids who get sick have to stay home. They may go as far as say, if there is an outbreak, unvaccinated kids need to stay at home. But I don't think they are legally allowed to prevent them from going to school.

Wacky: All the science leans towards the cause of autism is NOT vaccines. A common misconception. Speaking from a mom with a kid on the spectrum.

Posted by: foamgnome | July 13, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Foamy, I believe that the scientific studies show that there is "no link between vaccines and autism".

Which is a completely different statement than "vaccines don't cause autism".

I think you know as well as I that statistics don't lie, but the way they are presented can be misleading... :-)

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | July 13, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

There are a lot of ignorant, misinformed statments on this comments page. Before you decide that H1N1 is 'no big deal' or base your decisions on what happened 32 years ago, read the latest news stories from the southern hemisphere. We can learn a lot about what we could face four months from now by understanding what Chile, Argentina and Australia are dealing with right now. In Argentina, 99% of new flu cases are from H1N1 not from the common flu, and H1N1 shows signs of resistance to Tamiflu.

Posted by: gazooby | July 13, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Wacky, of course I did not say that vaccines don't cause autism. I said it is leaning towards that. Truthfully there is no causal evidence that vaccines cause autism. There seems to be a correlation between a certain multi dose vaccine and the early onset of autistic like symptoms. But that has been largely contributed to an age factor for the vaccine and the time in which autistic symptoms appear. That only included multidose vaccines. The vast majority of school aged and younger children were given single doses of the vaccine in question. Again, there is no reason, as of now, to believe that vaccines cause autism. Just because you think it may doesn't make it so. Of course you can say just because we didn't find causal evidence that it may still cause autism. That is true. But just because we haven't found causal evidence that peanut butter causes autism, doesn't mean that we should all start avoiding peanut butter. For some reason, people have really latched on to the idea that vaccines are a contributing cause to autism without any scientific evidence to prove it.

Posted by: foamgnome | July 13, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I am just wondering if half the people on this board read the same newspaper articles that I do.

The swine flu is not the same as a cold nor does it only affect the old. It affects younger healthier people, hence the kids in NYC.

Posted by: supersonic1 | July 13, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

gazooby, I took your suggestion and "looked it up." Here's what I found: Australia,

"Normally during seasonal flu we see about 2,500 to 3,000 deaths a year in Australia, so it'll be in that range or more,"$File/H1N1%20Influenza%2012pm%2013%20July.pdf

The total number of Australian deaths associated with Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 is currently eighteen, with eleven reported in Victoria, one in Western Australia, one in South Australia, one in Northern Territory, one in Tasmania and three in New South Wales.

Argentina, about 85% of flu cases are H1N1 per health minister Manzur, not 99%. And while the worst of winter is just arriving and deaths will certainly climb, the number of deaths from H1N1 is in-line with seasonal deaths from "normal flu".

Chile reports similar results.

Bottom line: H1N1 is an influenza virus which can make you sick or kill you, just like other influenza viruses; from statistics so far it doesn't appear to be much worse than other influenza viruses although the numbers may certainly change; and panic is completely and totally inappropriate. This isn't 1918.

I'll stick by what I've said since my first posts, thank you - we'll track the H1N1 vaccine test results and the spread of the flu; if the test results are good and the virus appears to be a problem we'll be vaccinated, just as we normally get flu shots; and we'll go about our lives.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | July 13, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm not going to bother trying to convince those who believe there is some cabal consisting of the federal gov't and BIG pharma trying to poison our children. And I'm not going to try to explain how vaccines work either. Believing something doesn't make it true.

Foam, I know we can't legally exclude those who for religious reasons choose not to vaccinate, but my opinion remains that we should. If you want to enjoy the benefits of society, sometimes there is a cost. Those who choose not to vaccinate benefit by being surrounded by those who do choose to and they put everyone at risk by not vaccinating. The non vaccinators are getting a free ride essentially.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | July 13, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I think any parent who has the best needs of their child at heart are naturally going to be cautious and want any evidence of proper testing before allowing their child to be vacinated

I am in a real dilema as we are all to be offered the vaccine in England. I work for the NHS and will be offered as a priority I assume. Its one thing to accept for myself but entirely different to make the decision for my kids. I want to see the evidence but we have also had two young healthy children die in the last few days in England. One, a six year old girl died having developed a sore throat within a few days and had no other known conditions.

we have had a run of deaths recently in England and I get the sense that there is a fear that the virus is becoming more dangerous. Whilst the media states that it is mild we have many diagnosed people in critical care through England. Whilst some of these have underlyng health conditions many are reported to not have any complications.

Posted by: annamicklewright | July 13, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

"Those who choose not to vaccinate benefit by being surrounded by those who do choose to and they put everyone at risk by not vaccinating. The non vaccinators are getting a free ride essentially."

These statements are completely worthless for two simple reasons:

1) There is currently no vaccine for the swine flu so no one is currently getting a free ride.

2) Herd immunity has never been achieved in any influenza season, so no one has ever had a free ride. Last year only 36% of the population was effectively vaccinated.

Posted by: cutterjohn | July 13, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

cutterjohn, may I first compliment you on your tact and diplomacy.

Secondly, I was referring to vaccines in general, including, but not limited to, the vaccine in question.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | July 13, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Try the website, ArmyBrat1. In Australia, the new cases are 99% H1N1, 98% in Chile and 90% in Argentina. The story is dated July 9 so perhaps is more current than what you're looking at. You're also right that there haven't been many fatal cases (yet). What makes this strain different than 'normal' flu strains -- and why we should pay attention -- is its resistance to antivirals and its ability to kill healthy adults.

I agree with you that it's silly to compare this pandemic to the 1918 flu pandemic, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't take it seriously. I don't think I'm overreacting when I suggest we should avoid knee-jerk responses to government efforts to keep us safe with a vaccine. Go ahead and wait until the winter to see if it's worth vaccinating your kids (that is, if your public school allows you to). The only thing you risk is finding they've run out of vaccine - no big deal if this is just a normal flu strain, right?

Posted by: gazooby | July 13, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

You might be interested in watching this old Sixty Minutes story about the 1976 swine flu vaccine --
Watch both part one and part two. It was only four thousand people who filed lawsuits but you have to figure there were many more injured who didn’t file. If forty some million people were vaccinated, as reported, that means that the odds that someone suffered a serious adverse reaction from the 76 swine flu vaccine were roughly one in ten thousand. Which doesn’t seem like much, but at it’s peak the polio virus was only affecting one in three thousand to one in five thousand. And only a tiny fraction of the people who contracted polio ever suffered paralysis or death or any long term harm, which means that the swine flu vaccine of 76 was probably as dangerous as, or more dangerous, than polio was. Which actually pretty much had disappeared by the time the vaccines were being administered, anyway.
What’s really disturbing, when you watch this Sixty Minutes spot, is the deceptive practices that your health officials resorted to. If you trust people with no integrity whatsoever to inject you or your children with God only knows what, go for it. Good luck and God help you.

Posted by: nooogetta | July 13, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

r6345 - Probabilities show that the number would have been higher than 25.
Probabilities are just that, probabilities. The actual numbers prove those probabilities to be wrong.

For that reason, the vaccine should be a requirement for living as part of a society.
I everyone I come in contact during the flu season gets the vaccine then I don't need it because they can't get it from me and they can't get it from me.

Posted by: RICK_tallman1 | July 13, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

r6345 - Society benefits from full vaccination. That's how we got rid of polio in the US.
SO, if everyone in the US got a flu shot, there would be no more flu in the country?And polio was a one time shot, twice if you also got the Sabin oral version.
So why do we now need a flu shot every year?

Posted by: RICK_tallman1 | July 13, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

That should have read;
If everyone I come in contact during the flu season gets the vaccine then I don't need it because they can't get it from me and I can't get it from them.

Posted by: RICK_tallman1 | July 13, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

If everyone I come in contact during the flu season gets the vaccine then I don't need it because they can't get it from me and I can't get it from them.

Posted by: RICK_tallman1 | July 13, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

And if everyone thinks that, then nobody gets the vaccine and a lot of people get the flu. The problem is you don't know who got the vaccine and who didn't.

Posted by: dennis5 | July 13, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

No, I will not be giving my kids this shot. I can read.

Posted by: sigismondi70 | July 14, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

June 12 Announcement: The new H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine is going to be made by Novartis. It will probably be made in PER.C6 cells (human retina cells) and contain MF59, a potentially debilitating adjuvant. MF-59 is an oil-based adjuvant primarily composed of squalene, Tween 80 and Span85. All oil adjuvants injected into rats were found toxic. All rats developed an MS-like disease that left them crippled, dragging their paralyzed hindquarters across their cages.

Squalene caused severe arthritis (3 on scale of 4). Squalene in humans at 10-20 ppb (parts per billion) lead to severe immune responses, such as autoimmune arthritis and lupus. Reference: Kenney, RT. Edleman, R. "Survey of human-use adjuvants." Expert Review of Vaccines. 2 (2003) p171. Reference: Matsumoto, Gary. Vaccine A: The Covert Government Experiment That’s Killing Our Soldiers and Why GI’s Are Only the First Victims of this Vaccine. New York: Basic Books. p54.

Posted by: prisonplanet | July 14, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

What can I do?

These are just a few suggestions; please come up with more of your own! Add to this list and spread the word.

Give this information to everyone you know and love.

Contact local first responders (EMTs, Paramedics, Fireman, etc). Tell them what is will be in the flu shots and that *they* will be the first ones to get it.
* Contact local police and discuss concerns about mandatory vaccination. You go to church and to the grocery store with these folks and their kids play with your kids. They are not "scary" people. Take them coffee and a treat to get in the door... ☺
* Contact local city council members about your liberties. You need their support to maintain your right to refuse.
* Write a small article for LOCAL, community newspapers. Watch for samples on
* Have at least 3 weeks of food and water at your house and be prepared to voluntarily self-quarantine of given no other options.
* Stock up on Vitamin D3 (3000 IU per person), Vitamin A, Vitamin C, etc and homeopathics for the flu
* Check out and A pdf of their oath for easy printing is on I am sharing this with local military recruitment office, reservists and retired military people we know.
* Connect with other activist organizations – those who support 2nd amendment issues, the environmental and animal rights. Help spread the word about their passion and get them involved with yours.

You can't do it all, but you can do something!

Posted by: prisonplanet | July 14, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Under no circumstances will my wife, myself or our 4 year old son receive this vaccine. We have never had a flu vaccine and have remained very healthy by practicing common sense virus protection and maintaining immune system health through proper diet and hygiene.

If you feel the vaccine is a necessary supplement to and/or replacement for healthy living practices - then feel free to pursue it. That is everyone's right.

It is no one's right to force preventative medicine on others against their will.

Posted by: loumiller21 | July 14, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

You are deluded if you think that at least the state government can't mandate vaccines for the flu. NJ already has mandated the flu vax for children 6mo-5 years old. Other states will soon follow. I will not be giving it to my children. The reasons are too numerous

Posted by: rebeccaj76 | July 14, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Before anyone takes any shot, they better do their homework and ask questions about what the ingredients are. They better also make sure their immune system can handle the shots as well. Everyone should investigate what happened in 1918 and 1976 when the last programs were instituted and see that the shots many thousands sick and led to numerous deaths. Don't just blindly take the shot or history may repeat itself as it often does.

Posted by: Kbootsyb | July 14, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

As a nurse I would say no to swine flu vaccine or Flu shots. $20.00 flu shot given out the last two years for what to get the flu! Wake up america!! My God how much can a child take? A couple of months ago, we had a mass panic attack?? I never seen the first case! did you! There is always going to be something to make us sick and money to be made from it. Realy with all the pills given out in this country is your life any better because you take a hand full at a time, My guess is you will live just as long with out them!

Posted by: Jean16 | July 15, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

And if everyone thinks that, then nobody gets the vaccine and a lot of people get the flu. The problem is you don't know who got the vaccine and who didn't.
Posted by denis5

Cool, Then you get the vaccine and I won't. At least you won't be able to get the swine flu from me and I won't be able to get it from you.

Posted by: RICK_tallman1 | July 15, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Re: rebeccaj76

I actually do live in NJ and my 4 year old did attend pre-school last year w/o receiving the flu shot (missing many other "mandated" shots as well). The state is making it very difficult, so we are planning on moving out of this totalitarian state when/if the true vaccine mandate is issued.

Posted by: loumiller21 | July 15, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse


I am in NJ too. My 3 y/o old attended pre-school without getting a flu shot as well. We filed a religious exemption. But if that becomes no longer valid for whatever reason, I believe we will consider moving out of state as well.

Posted by: rebeccaj76 | July 15, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

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