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Flu Emergency? It Could Be Worse

“Piggy,” my daughter’s new boar-bristle hairbrush, sends my youngest running, shrieking at the thought of its real-animal, scratchy touch. I don’t dare tell her about 2009 and the swine flu.

Mayor Thomas Menino’s declaration of a public health emergency this week reminded me of the last time we took the flu so seriously, during the 2009 pandemic.

On an October Saturday that year, my family stood in line for 2 1/2 hours with one Red Sox player, his wife and kids, and dozens of others at our pediatric practice to receive the H1N1 vaccine.

At the end of that line lay nasal mist, thankfully, no injections. Because a month before, our children had already received the seasonal vaccine. And they needed another dose of H1N1 spray one month after the first to provide protection. We made three doctor’s visits just for the kids' flu vaccines that year, but I was relieved to do it.

The unfortunately named "swine flu," which contains genes from human, avian, and pig viruses, was a new strain to which children in particular had no immunity in 2009. The new H1N1 was documented in March 2009, and the global pandemic was not declared over by the World Health Organization until August 2010.

In June 2009, well after Boston’s flu season is normally over, the city was still closing individual schools for a week after absenteeism signaled a lot of sick kids. By the end of that month, 15 public schools had each been closed for a time to control transmission of the flu.

My own conversion in favor of flu shots began after I contracted the virus two years in a row: pregnant with a toddler at home, then the following year with the toddler and nursing baby. It was a near-death experience —as in, I felt like I wanted to die. For weeks. But with those two little kids to take care of, that wasn’t an option. I went to the hospital once when I thought I was dehydrated. But they couldn’t get a needle in me and sent me home. I’m lucky that I’ve never been seriously ill, but as a pregnant and nursing woman, it took a long time to fully recover from the flu.

Along with good anti-infection practices such as keeping your germs to yourself, Mayor Menino is encouraging everyone who hasn’t been vaccinated yet to just do it. Early Wednesday, only Upham’s Corner Health Center in Dorchester was left on the city’s calendar of flu clinics, but by the evening, more than a dozen other locations were added, mostly for Saturday, Jan. 12. Check with your primary care physician or area pharmacy as alternate sources.

The Centers for Disease Control has been expanding the age range of those for whom flu vaccine is recommended, so that since 2006, its recommendation is that, with few exceptions, everyone over six months should be vaccinated annually. 

Just two days before Menino was talking about the ten-fold increase so far this year in flu cases, and the four deaths of seniors in Boston attributed to the flu, the Boston Globe published a comprehensive story about the limits of flu vaccine effectiveness. Add that kind of knowledge to the skepticism parents have, after the lingering effects of the discredited link between vaccines and autism, and you may not want the flu vaccine after all. But the Globe's article points out, as does the CDC, that getting the vaccine is still the best way to protect against the disease and its complications.

See the CDC’s web page about the safety of this year’s flu vaccine: cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/general.htm.

And their page of general flu vaccine facts: cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm.

Anne Dachel January 12, 2013 at 09:13 PM
HDNet TV exposed the fact that while health officials continue to tell us studies show no link, the federal government has paid out millions of dollars for compensation for vaccine injuries that included autism. Seeing these children who were born healthy and were suddenly and dramatically affected by their vaccinations should give us all pause. http://www.omsj.org/corruption/vaccines-autism-mixed-signals http://www.ebcala.org/areas-of-law/vaccine-law/transcript-of-vaccines-autism-mixed-signals Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism
Anne Dachel January 12, 2013 at 09:13 PM
In truth, the government has recognized the link between vaccines and autism. Medical experts at Health and Human Services conceded the vaccine damage case of Hannah Poling. She’s the young Georgia girl who regressed into autism following routine vaccinations. CBS News ran the story: Family to Receive $1.5M+ in First-Ever Vaccine-Autism Court Award. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-20015982-10391695.html Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism
Anne Dachel January 12, 2013 at 09:14 PM
In 2008 CBS News ran the story, How Independent Are Vaccine Defenders? http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500690_162-4296175.html It’s well worth watching. Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism
Anne Dachel January 12, 2013 at 09:14 PM
Angela Wang forgets to tell readers that neither the doctor nor the vaccine maker can be sued for any injury from a vaccine. They’ve been protected by the federal government. Instead, injured parties have to appeal to an arbitrary federal program for compensation. Few people are ever compensated for damages from vaccines. See this report from FOX NEWS: “The Supreme Court says you cannot sue for a vaccine injury.” http://www.youtub... Law professor Mary Holland: "There's no other industry that I’m aware of that has the same level of liability protection as the pharmaceutical industry for vaccines." Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism In 2008 CBS News ran the story, How Independent Are Vaccine
Anne Dachel January 12, 2013 at 09:15 PM
If anyone is interested in INDEPENDENT RESEARCH on vaccines and their side effects they have only to look at the website for the new film, “The Greater Good,” (See trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulmEGbwQsOU.) which explores the question of vaccine safety from both sides. There are over 200 studies that raise serious concerns about vaccine side effects. http://www.greatergoodmovie.org/learn-more/research/ Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism
Anne Dachel January 12, 2013 at 09:16 PM
Why should we believe that an ever-expanding, untested, one-size-fits all vaccine schedule is fine for every child? Where is the study comparing fully-vaccinated and never-vaccinated children to see if never-vaccinated kids also have a one percent autism rate? THERE ISN'T ONE. Where is even ONE STUDY that disproves a link between vaccines and autism that isn't connected to the vaccine industry. THERE ISN'T ONE. Those who deny that injecting more and more toxins into babies and small children is harming them are like those who deny they more and more pollution is affecting our climate. Where is the science showing that it's safe to inject three live viruses into children at one time? THERE ISN'T ANY. Where are the studies that show that adding aluminum and mercury to vaccines is safe? THERE AREN'T ANY. Where is even one study on the cumulative effect of the increasing number of vaccines in the childhood schedule? THERE ISN'T ONE. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-arqv6t8VacY/T7QvOcTrpmI/AAAAAAAAD-U/EBqU4n3R0SE/s1600/VaxCDC.png Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism
Anne Dachel January 12, 2013 at 09:16 PM
Wang claims the link between vaccines and autism has been discredited, but that's only if you close your eyes to the facts. Actually, doctors have been saying that for years, but parents simply don’t believe them. There are too many parents everywhere saying that their child was born healthy and was developing normally until they received certain routine vaccinations. Suddenly they changed, lost learned skills and regressed into autism. Doctors are at a loss to explain this but they do have lots of studies---all tied to the vaccine industry---showing no link between vaccines and autism. The CDC is also the place where hundreds of individuals have conflict waivers because of their direct financial ties to the vaccine makers. The last head of the CDC, Dr. Julie Gerberding, a long time denier of any link between vaccines and autism, is now the head of the vaccine division at Merck. Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism
John Stone January 12, 2013 at 10:52 PM
Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy adults. Cochrane Review 2010: Main Results: We included 50 reports. Forty (59 sub-studies) were clinical trials of over 70,000 people. Eight were comparative non-RCTs and assessed serious harms. Two were reports of harms which could not be introduced in the data analysis. In the relatively uncommon circumstance of vaccine matching the viral circulating strain and high circulation, 4% of unvaccinated people versus 1% of vaccinated people developed influenza symptoms (risk difference (RD) 3%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2% to 5%). The corresponding figures for poor vaccine matching were 2% and 1% (RD 1, 95% CI 0% to 3%). These differences were not likely to be due to chance. Vaccination had a modest effect on time off work and had no effect on hospital admissions or complication rates. Inactivated vaccines caused local harms and an estimated 1.6 additional cases of Guillain-Barré Syndrome per million vaccinations. The harms evidence base is limited. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20614424 Another problem is that the nasa flu vaccines are actually spreading the virus to vulnerable people - which exposes the fact that these products are really being sold for the benefit of the manufacturers, not citizens.
lilady January 18, 2013 at 04:30 AM
Why in the Media Editor of Age of Autism, a notorious anti-vaccine blog permitted to post her off-topic walls of words spamming comments here?

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