Questions worth asking about swine flu vaccinations

Child getting vaccinated

Source: TopNews

The questions raised by Dr. Mercola about swine flu vaccinations – such as, Are you willing to let the government experiment on your child? – are simply inflammatory and self-serving.
There are some legitimate questions, however. For example: Where is the vaccine manufactured?
The current supply of H1N1 flu vaccine comes from US and European manufacturers. For what it’s worth, these manufacturers are approved by the FDA. I add that caveat only because the FDA has limited capabilities, as we’ve seen with recent episodes of food poisoning.
Since an adequate supply of the vaccine is now a problem, it’s reasonable to ask if the roster of suppliers will expand. Two manufacturers in China are now licensed to produce the vaccine. It may not happen during the current flu season, but how long will it be before vaccines manufactured in Asia are shipped to the US?


Since the FDA is already overextended, this raises the question: Will the FDA be able to police a manufacturing system that brought us melamine-laced milk for babies and the tainted blood thinner heparin, which killed nearly 100 people? This is a legitimate question not only with regard to vaccines. It applies to pharmaceutical products and anything we (or our pets) ingest.

Social distancing

Another question worth considering: Do vaccines create a false sense of security and lead the public to ignore “social-distancing” strategies?
When swine flu first appeared in Mexico last March, the Mexican government launched a public relations campaign. The public was advised to wash their hands and stay home when they were sick.
The United Kingdom promotes a “buddy” system. Citizens identify a friend or neighbor who can deliver food and medicine when they’re sick. That way the contagious are not out and about infecting others.
Most of the flu publicity in the US has been about vaccines and antivirals. Should there be more information about the simple measures we can take to protect ourselves?
The information is available, but it’s a frustrating situation for public health officials. In a news marketplace where entertainment value trumps public service, what’s more engaging: Paranoid theories about vaccinations or how-to features on washing your hands, sneezing into your elbow, and declining to shake hands?
See Related posts for social distancing suggestions.
Related posts:
Why it’s safe to completely ignore Dr. Mercola
Fear of flying: Will I catch swine flu on an airplane?
Swine flu and hand washing: The how, the when, and the why
Swine flu, kids, and a “wash your hands” rap video
Flu season: Should we stop shaking hands?
Preparing for the flu: Why don’t we do it in our sleeves?
Swine flu prevention: It’s OK to wash in cold water
To make more money
Melamine update
Eat fish? Don’t read this

Sources:

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Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer, Does the Vaccine Matter?, The Atlantic, November 2009
Merrill Goozner, The Flu Vaccine — Is It Safe?, GoozNews, October 24, 2009

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