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H1N1 Vaccine Recall and Severity of Swine Flu Update


A batch of 170,000 swine flu vaccines has been recalled in Canada due to serious reports of allergic reactions. Although allergic reactions do occur rarely with many vaccines, there were six reports of severe allergic reaction linked with one batch of H1N1 vaccine.

The threat prompted pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline to advice medical staff in Canada to refrain from using the batch of vaccines while they investigate reports that it may have caused more allergic reactions than normal.

Meanwhile, U.S. health officials recalled about 800,000 pediatric doses of H1N1 flu vaccine because tests showed they were not powerful enough to provide protection against swine flu.

The rash of recalls is causing parents and experts in the field to question the safety and efficacy of the H1N1 vaccine, one again.

Dr. Kent Holtorf, who specializes in chronic infectious diseases, said the large pediatric recall “shows the problem with trying to rush these things to market.”

He continued in New York Daily News, “The way the whole swine flu vaccine was put out there was problematic. If they’re putting out a product that is ineffective, it makes you wonder what other types of quality control are lacking. Rushing a vaccine is always worrisome.”

Barbara Loe Fisher from the National Vaccine Information Center also expressed concern that now children could be exposed to mercury from multi-dose vials of H1N1 vaccine as they line up to get their second dose.

Nearly 1 million H1N1 vaccines have been recalled

Swine Flu Not as Severe as Feared

Harvard researcher Marc Lipsitch, DPhil, and colleagues from the U.K. Medical Research Council and the CDC are now saying that the H1N1 swine flu pandemic will end up no more severe than the average flu season.

New research reveals the swine flu pandemic will be no more serious than a typical flu season.

Initially, before H1N1 emerged, planners were preparing for a pandemic with a case/fatality ratio of 0.1%, or one death in every 1,000 symptomatic infections. Now, Lipsitch and colleagues say the case/fatality ratio for swine flu is no higher than 0,048%, and may be even seven to nine times lower depending on calculation methods.

Why Was Swine Flu Deemed so Deadly?

There are many signs that the worst is behind us for the swine flu pandemic. During the week of December 6-12, 2009, only 11 states were still reporting widespread influenza activity, and flu hospitalizations decreased in all age groups.

However, one difference between H1N1 and seasonal flu is how it could be deadly. Lipstitch and colleagues pointed out that deaths attributed to seasonal flu include heart attacks, strokes and other conditions triggered by the flu. Deaths attributed to H1N1, however, are due to flu or bacterial complications of the flu.

New research that will be published in the Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine found that H1N1 typically kills by damaging the upper airways, lower airways or deep lung. The damage was similar to autopsy findings of victims during the 1918 and 1957 flu pandemics.

A separate study by Canadian and Spanish scientists also found a molecule called Interleukin 17 (IL-17) in H1N1 patients may determine the severity of the illness. The researchers found high levels of IL-17 in the blood of severe swine flu patients and low levels in those with mild H1N1. While IL-17 is normally produced by the body to help fight infection, if it becomes out of control it can contribute to inflammation and diseases like H1N1.

Why are Swine Flu Vaccines Still Being Encouraged?

Given the typically mild nature of the swine flu, along with its decreasing levels in the United States, it seems unnecessary to continue with the swine flu vaccine push.

In Briton, a survey of 107 family doctors found that more than half of Britons have turned down the H1N1 flu vaccine because of fears of side effects or believing the virus is too mild to worry about.

And in the United States, close to seven out of 10 people aged 18-29 said they did not plan to get the H1N1 vaccine, according to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll.

About 62 percent of those aged 30 to 64, and 53 percent of those 65 and older, also said they would not be getting the vaccine.

Yet, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is continuing to encourage them. They state:

“Supplies of the vaccines to protect against the 2009 H1N1 virus are increasing and many places have opened up vaccination to anyone who wants it. This vaccine is the best way to protect against the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus. Those who have been patiently waiting to receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine are now encouraged to get vaccinated.”

According to the CDC, as of November 30, 66 million doses of swine flu vaccine were available for states to order, and more were on the way.

Perhaps that is why the CDC is continuing to state, even after the decline, that it is too soon to declare that swine flu is tapering off. And instead of spreading the word that it appears the worst is behind us, and the “pandemic” was nowhere near as bad as expected, they are continuing to warn that many more people may become sick than usual this flu season.

Stay Informed: What to Do if You’ve Gotten the H1N1 Vaccine (or Any Vaccine)

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We highly recommend that you get informed about the true severity of swine flu before choosing to get the H1N1 vaccine for yourself or your children. But in the event you decide to take it, or are required to, then be sure to take these simple extra steps to help you detox and protect your health.

Recommended Reading

High Risk H1N1 Swine Flu Factors: What is the #1 Greatest Threat to You and Your Family?

Five Top Swine Flu Myths, Busted!

H1N1 F.U.D. Factor is a Media Wildfire: How to Avoid Getting Burned (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt)


Journal of Critical Care ;13(6):R201.

PLoS Medicine December 2009 December 7, 2009 December 15, 2009

Hindustan Times December 16, 2009

Huffington Post November 24, 2009 H1N1 Flu


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