By Alan Caruba
As a layman with no special knowledge about communicable diseases, I have nonetheless been struck by the drumbeat of scare mongering coming out of the World Health Organization and our government regarding “Swine Flu.” My reasoning is simple. Ordinary flu kills some 36,000 Americans annually and its victims are frequently the elderly and those in poor health.
I am not against vaccination and routinely get a flu shot every year, but I worry about all those youngsters who are required to receive several vaccinations in order to attend school. This begins in kindergarten and it takes no genius to know that their immune systems are not fully mature at that point.
Barbara Loe Fisher, a co-founder of the National Vaccine Information Center is a consumer advocate and author of several books including “The Consumer’s Guide to Childhood Vaccines.” She has posted a videotape on the site that is well worth watching.
Regarding the Swine Flu vaccine, she asks “Will we have a choice?” regarding whether we or our children are required to be vaccinated with a hastily created vaccine specific to this form of the flu. Such a vaccine would not be subject to same standards of testing as others because it would be deemed a response to a serious, widespread pandemic. That raises the risk, particularly for children. And is there truly a widespread pandemic?
“What a lot of people don’t know is that true Type A or Type B influenza only causes about 20 percent of all flu-like symptoms that people experience during any flu season.” That means that “80 percent of all flu-like illness in a normal flu season is NOT caused by Type A and B strains of influenza contained in annual flu shots. And vaccine acquired immunity is temporary, while immunity gained after recovering from influenza is longer lasting.”
That’s good news for most people born before 1957. They may be naturally protected and have a lower risk of being infected because they have long lasting antibodies that help them resist infection.
I am increasingly skeptical of the claims being made by the World Health Organization and those in our government regarding Swine Flu. My suspicion is that it is just another type of flu, not unlike the 80 percent of influenza that is not Type A or B. Even if I am wrong, I worry more that the new swine flu vaccine that will be ready in October will not have been adequately tested. In 1976, when there was a similar flu outbreak, the vaccine ended up killing a lot of people.
Originating in Mexico in April of last year, one might reasonably expect to hear of a rising infection or death rate from Swine Flu there, but that is not the case. As of May 2009, Mexico’s health minister noted that there had been 908 tests on suspected cases and, of them, 397 turned out to be the Swine Flu virus. Deaths, however, numbered only 101.
“Apparently the rate of infection is not as widespread as we might have thought,” said Jose Angel Cordova, the health minister.
For the past few years, some American doctors have been insisting that every child from six months old to age 18 must get an annual flu shot and some U.S. health officials want the first doses of the experimental swine flu vaccines to be administered in the schools.
In October, the National Vaccine Information Center will hold its Fourth International Public Conference on Vaccination in Washington, D.C. One of the issues will be that of “informed consent” and this is very important for any parent who does not want their child vaccinated against Swine Flu when those new vaccines may very well be unnecessary or represent a risk in themselves.
Out of a world population now exceeding six billion, as of June 2009 there were more than 35,000 cases of Swine Flu involving 163 deaths attributed to it, most of which occurred in Mexico, its point of origination. To this layman that hardly constitutes a global pandemic. It’s more like just another strain of flu virus.
I am beginning to tire of the monthly “crises” being declared by our government, particularly when it is clear that the solutions put forth at this point do not appear to be having any affect. Swine flu can be added to the list.