Thursday, November 12, 2009

Concerns for the H1N1 vaccine

From the 16 November 2009 Greater Niagara Newspapers

By Bob Confer

Due to fears perpetuated by governments and news media the world over, people have been lining up in droves to be vaccinated against H1N1. This mass hysteria has created a demand for shots so vast that shortages of the vaccine have become the norm. In a recent briefing to the members of the House Appropriations Committee, Thomas Frieden, director of the Center for Disease Control, said there are only 32.3 million doses of the vaccine available for 159 million people who are of the highest risk to catch the swine flu. Basically, 4 out of every 5 of those who the government thinks should be vaccinated can’t be.

With supply and demand having become so imbalanced, especially for something deemed crucial to the national well-being, manufacturers are being driven by capitalism and pressed by public authorities to produce as much vaccine as they can in the shortest amount of time possible. That has led, internationally, – and could lead, nationally, – to the introduction of vaccines into the marketplace that have questionable, if not incredibly damaging, attributes.

One of the biggest concerns over mass vaccination campaigns is focused on the use of adjuvants. Adjuvants are additives to vaccines that heighten the body’s reaction to the vaccine, meaning less of the antigen can be used and, therefore, more doses can be created from available resources. Basically, the introduction of an adjuvant would allow large-scale production of the H1N1 vaccine that would double the traditional output and come closer to satisfying the current demand.

The World Health Organization strongly supports the use of adjuvants and most nations, including the Asian powers, the European Union and Canada, are administering shots which posses an adjuvant called squalene. Squalene is a naturally occurring organic compound that is commercially derived from shark oils.

Many scientists believe that not everyone can properly accept squalene and many peoples’ immune systems will attack the oil and, in turn, create an autoimmune disease. Numerous studies performed on lab rats have shown that squalene can lead to debilitating long-term illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis in which your body attacks its own tissues.

Squalene has long been in and out of the news. Many people who served in the military during Desert Shield/Desert Storm or have loved ones who did will recognize it as one of the probable causes of Gulf War Syndrome. Many people believe that the syndrome – which brings with it a wide range of symptoms from fatigue to memory problems to insulin resistance – was brought on by experimental Anthrax vaccines (with squalene as the adjuvant) that were administered to the armed forces in the Gulf War of the early 1990s. According to studies conducted by the Tulane Medical School more than 95% of GWS sufferers showed antibodies to squalene while veterans who were of good health exhibited no antibodies to the adjuvant. The study has since been criticized and marginalized by the Department of Defense but many scientists and the countless soldiers whose lives have been affected by GWS cite the Department’s findings in contrast to be a self-serving means to save its hierarchy and bureaucracy from the disgrace that comes with having potentially poisoned your own people.

Squalene was added to the Anthrax vaccine for the sake of convenience. It allowed the US military to quickly and, in their eyes, effectively deliver to the troops much-needed protection against the deadly biological agent. Many people fear that same mindset will be applied to the current influenza crisis and the United States government will join the international community in promoting squalene-spiked H1N1 shots.

At this time, the government has not allowed such shots to be distributed in the states because the H1N1 adjuvant is, unlike other adjuvants, not licensed in America. In a recent interview with PBS’s Newshour, Bruce Gellin, director of the National Vaccine Program said the Food and Drug Administration could have issued an Emergency Use Authorization which would have side-stepped the licensing process. The FDA chose not to for the time being. But, there exists the very real possibility that it might in the coming weeks with the demand for the flu vaccine so great and urgent.

So, as it stands, Americans have the luxury of consuming the safest of the H1N1 vaccines (at least in the squalene department). Unlike other countries we have not gambled on the long-term health of our citizens. Ten or twenty years from now, given the scientific evidence holds true, the rest of the world will see an unusual increase in the cases of arthritis and diseases which mirror GWS. Our populace will be free of that anomaly given that the Obama Administration does not cave-in to anxiety and allow the use of the disabling additive.

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