15 Sep 2009

Swine Flu vaccine concerns

A new bill, the "Pandemic Response Bill," S. 2028, has passed the Massachusetts state Senate and is now awaiting approval in the House. This bill suspends virtually all Constitutional rights of Massachusetts citizens and forces anyone "suspected" of being infected to submit to interrogations, "decontaminations" and vaccines. It also sets fines up to $1,000 per day for anyone who refuses to submit to quarantines, vaccinations, decontamination efforts or to follow any other verbal order by virtually any state-licensed law enforcement or medical personnel.

I have to say I have real problems with many compulsory vaccination programmes but especially this as there are particular additional issues relating to this vaccine - there is a campaign email site re the US here. In the UK GPs are to be paid £5.25 per jab - but on the info I have so far I wont be taking it.

Below is a letter a colleague has sent to our Government about the programme over here which is not mandatory but still raises concerns:

Dear MP,

Could you ask the Department of Health what assurances people have that the Swine Flu vaccine is safe - especially given that testing is far from complete and that there are no results on children while government is still planning to roll this out to all schools? In particular are there assurances that the scheduled round of vaccinations will not cause further deaths nor cases of Guillain Barré Syndrome (GBS)?

Can you gain assurances that there will be not even a slight danger of the Baxter vaccine containing what 72 kilos of Baxter vaccine sent to labs across Europe in February 2009 contained, namely live Bird Flu?


Has the government seen a report on this event from relevant global authorities and is it satisfied with the explanation for these events? Is the government further satisfied with Baxter's defence that it is proprietary information to explain exactly how this contamination occurred? A deadly Europe wide pandemic could have resulted, especially if a mutation had occurred - likely in such a large sample - given Bird Flu's 70% lethality to humans?

The UK government is spending an estimated £155 million on Baxter/GSK vaccines and spent a further £500 million on anti-viral drugs plus new contracts at new undisclosed costs. Given that Swine Flu is a mild flu with low lethality and given the vaccine shelf life are we really getting value for money?

I append further information.

Yours sincerely,

Swine Flu information
· ½ of UK doctors and 1/3 of nurses are set to refuse to take the Swine Flu vaccine (1)
· US multinationalBaxter delivered 72 kilos of human vaccine material to EU labs contaminated with live Bird Flu virus in February 2009 - accidentally. Bird Flu virus, although being hard to catch, is 70% lethal. There has been no exculpatory information on this and neither has Baxter paid any penalty.
· Over 2/3 of UK doctors believe the new vaccine has been poorly tested and has safety concerns (1)
· That ordinary flu kills from 3,000 – 12,000 people a year in the UK and has never commanded these levels of publicity, vaccine stocks, or readiness to mass vaccinate.
· The 1976 Swine Flu incident in the US led to mass vaccination causing 25 deaths, more than the flu itself, and many cases of the incapacitating Guillain Barre Syndrome.
· Swine Flu is a mild form of flu, has low lethality, generally short-lived symptoms, and does not warrant mass vaccinations.
· A highly propagandized pandemic could be used by unscrupulous governments to line the pockets of pharmaceutical companies and, at worse, promote the security state by mass, and even forced, vaccinations.
· A potential £27,000 bonus is being offered to GPs on top of their salary (£107,000) to administer the vaccine. This is not good practice. Either a vaccine is good for people, and therefore a GP will administer it, or it's not and she won't.
· The highly propagandized nature of the UK government and media’s presentation of Swine Flu has provided almost no comparison with ordinary flu.

There is no child safety data for the vaccine which the UK is about to offer to 12 million children and roll out to all schools. There are now reports of children given the vaccine suffering side effects of nausea, insomnia and nightmares and suggestions of neuropsychiatric side effects, such as poor concentration, inability to think clearly, problems sleeping, and feeling dazed or confused.

1. Daily Mail, 25 Aug 2009 – Half of doctors refusing SF vaccine. Over 2/3 believe it to be poorly tested. Most see SF as so mild a flu that most people would not require the vaccine. 1/3 of nurses would refuse the jab. Those refusing generally have safety concerns with the vaccine being fast-tracked and not fully tested. Concern that government has overreacted with its mass vaccination policy. Concern that vaccine may lead to cases of GBS, and even death, as it did in the 1976 US SF event. UK’s Health Protection Agency has been asked to watch out for extra GBS cases. Govt. plans that 14 M people will be vaccinated in the first wave with everyone else to follow. BMA negotiating with doctors pricing for the jab; the union is demanding £7 per jab. Individuals have the right to receive the jab or not.

2. Canadian Press, 26 Feb 2009 – US pharmaceutical company Baxter made experimental human flu virus material which was then somehow contaminated with live Bird Flu virus and then sent this to an Austrian company. They then distributed the supposed H3N2 product to subcontractors in Czech, Slovenia and Germany. Ferrets exposed to the mixture died, raising the alarm on Bird Flu contamination. A “serious error” occurred at Baxter’s research facility in Austria which uses BSL 3 protocols (Bio Safety Level). Experts insist this should not be possible. Baxter has not explained exactly how claiming this is proprietary information. Baxter was on the verge of receiving a licence for H5N1, Bird Flu. Baxter is the only company working with wild type viruses.


Anonymous said...

Your views on vaccinations are post modernist, anti-scientific crap and entirely the reason I won't be voting Green.

Anonymous said...

That is the reason you wont vote Green!!! Talk about scientific!!! Hey don't care what other policies they have?

Hey wait a minute no party advocates compulsory vaccination....ummmm wonder what you'll be voting??

Anonymous said...

mmm, yeah, policies like bans on stem cell research, an ending to all 'animal experiments' knee-jerk reaction to GM etc

The social policies are excellent, however, the policies on scientific matters are often wacky in the extreme and something I thought the Greens would have left behind by now.

Andy said...

Wacky? Greens are the only ones taking science seriously re climate change - they have done for years - and as for GM? Still not one piece of research to show it is safe for humans yet loads of experiments to indicate concerns - where's the knee-jerk? And as for animal experiments we can disagree but research has moved on and even most scientists accept the majority of experiments are unnecessary...

Philip Booth said...

We've had the charge anti-science thrown before - here is Caroline Lucas' recent response:

Just because the Greens are sceptical about some scientific developments doesn't make us "anti-science." I have yet to see any convincing evidence that GM crops are anything other than unnecessary and damaging – or that many of the forces behind them have anything other than morally dubious motivations. When will GM crops be “in the right hands” if they're developed to increase dependency on the multinationals who own the seed patents? The issue here is about control of the food chain. Nor have GM crops reduced the need for chemicals in agriculture. Unintended breeding between different GM varieties in North America has created "superweeds" which are so virulent that more chemicals are needed to tackle them. There's tremendous potential for greater organic food production, and there's plenty of evidence that ecologically designed agriculture systems, using permaculture principles for example, can significantly increase the productive capacity of the land.

The issue of embryonic stem cell research is extremely complex, and there are no easy answers. Personally, I remain concerned about the associated health risks, the commodification of eggs and embryos, and the potential exploitation of women. Increasing research suggests that there are a number of promising alternatives, eg adult stem cell research, and umbilical cord stem cell research. These tell a growing number of success stories, without the problematic issues associated with embryonic stem cell research.

Where alternative medicine is concerned, a balance must always be reached between the right of the individual to free choice, and the duty of society to protect us from the consequences of unwise choices. I support the idea of a regulatory agency with responsibility for natural medicines, including nutritional supplements, medicinal plants and herbal remedies, essential oils and homeopathic remedies. I also believe that where people have found such remedies to work well for them, they should be given the freedom to continue taking them.

Anonymous said...

How's this for a song about vaccination:

Anonymous said...

Good to see your colleague references such sterling scientific sources such as The Daily Mail and "Canadian media"!!!

Anonymous said...

Prof. Adrian Gibbs (Aus, Virology) has just published a paper on the origins of Swine Flu.

Abstract follows, full article link at bottom of this page -

I'm sure we agree it's important to track down how these viruses come about, inasmuch as we are able. On the other hand, given that it's a wimp of a virus (recent American analysis suggests that only some 2% of what doctors thought were probable SF cases, turn out to be), we've seen a national goverment panic and throw hundreds of billions of pounds at this, like it were banks needing a bailout.

So now we've got the precautionary principle superceded by the panic button. Whatever it is, it's irresponsible while pretending to be the height of caring about one's population.

Abstract (provisional)

The swine-origin influenza A (H1N1) virus that appeared in 2009 and was first found in human beings in Mexico, is a reassortant with at least three parents. Six of the genes are closest in sequence to those of H1N2 'triple-reassortant' influenza viruses isolated from pigs in North America around 1999-2000. Its other two genes are from different Eurasian 'avian-like' viruses of pigs; the NA gene is closest to H1N1 viruses isolated in Europe in 1991-1993, and the MP gene is closest to H3N2 viruses isolated in Asia in 1999-2000. The sequences of these genes do not directly reveal the immediate source of the virus as the closest were from isolates collected more than a decade before the human pandemic started. The three parents of the virus may have been assembled in one place by natural means, such as by migrating birds, however the consistent link with pig viruses suggests that human activity was involved. We discuss a published suggestion that unsampled pig herds, the intercontinental live pig trade, together with porous quarantine barriers, generated the reassortant. We contrast that suggestion with the possibility that laboratory errors involving the sharing of virus isolates and cultured cells, or perhaps vaccine production, may have been involved. Gene sequences from isolates that bridge the time and phylogenetic gap between the new virus and its parents will distinguish between these possibilities, and we suggest where they should be sought. It is important that the source of the new virus be found if we wish to avoid future pandemics rather than just trying to minimize the consequences after they have emerged. Influenza virus is a very significant zoonotic pathogen. Public confidence in influenza research, and the agribusinesses that are based on influenza's many hosts, has been eroded by several recent events involving the virus. Measures that might restore confidence include establishing a unified international administrative framework coordinating surveillance, research and commercial work with this virus, and maintaining an registry of all influenza isolates.

Philip Booth said...

Thanks for comments - here is a view in the BMJ:

How the media caught Tamiflu

From a bit of a dud to the world's most sought after drug in the space of six months, surely Roche cannot believe its luck with oseltamivir (Tamiflu). Despite a silly name and a lack of convincing evidence that it will have any real impact on an influenza pandemic, sales and recognition of the drug frequently dubbed "our best hope against bird flu" have leapt through the roof.

Between 1999 and 2002 Roche sold just 5.5 million treatments. Next year the total sales of oseltamivir are projected at 150 million. Roche's share price has soared this year by 60%.

Sir Liam Donaldson, England's chief medical officer, has noted that doctors have little idea how effective oseltamivir antiviral tablets would actually be during a pandemic.

But this has not affected demand and Roche cannot make the drug quickly enough for the 50 countries currently stock-piling it. On the internet Tamiflu is trading at five times its retail price.

Of course in large part Roche has Mother Nature to thank for the turn of events. The rising spectre of an influenza pandemic and no immediate vaccine to fight it has made bird flu the medical story of the year and given Tamiflu a public profile comparable to that of Viagra.

But that's not the whole story. Roche has naturally made the most of this golden opportunity and its public relations machine has naturally milked Tamiflu for all it was worth.

Read whole story at: