H1N1 Flu Vaccine: Will history repeat itself?
by Lauren Feder, M.D
On October 1, 2009 I attended the International Public Conference on Vaccination in Washington, D.C. where renowned experts spoke to approximately 600 participants from health professionals to families who had been affected by vaccine reactions. Although the theme centered on, "Show Us the Science & Give Us the Choice," the timing of this meeting coincided with the beginning of the flu season and the major concerns about the H1N1 flu (Swine Flu) and the new vaccine.
As a holistic physician and homeopath, I strive to offer my patients broad spectrum health information and prescribe natural and standard medicine when needed with the aim of doing no harm. I also acknowledge and respect a patient's right for freedom of choice in this matter.
For the past few months our office has been inundated with visits and calls from concerned families about the H1N1 flu and the vaccine. After reviewing the literature and listening to the opinions of my colleagues from the vaccine conference, I have come to a conclusion: there are more risks than benefits to the H1N1 vaccine. Despite this, I am offering this new vaccine in my office in an effort to serve those who want it However, I am encouraging all to make an informed choice regarding this matter.
The swine flu and its vaccine are not new. In 1976, an army recruit based in Fort Dix died following a mysterious illness. In addition, four of his fellow soldiers were hospitalized. Health officials disclosed to America that the illness was swine flu. Without knowing much about the details of their medical history and why they were susceptible to severe reactions to this illness, people became anxious that this could lead to a flu pandemic similar to 1918, and a vaccine was quickly prepared to be given to the masses. In the end, the illness never transpired. It came to be known as the swine flu fiasco of 1976 after twenty five people died and five hundred became paralyzed all from the vaccine. In other words, more people suffered from the effects of the vaccine than the illness itself.
One of the medical conditions that resulted from the 1976 swine flu vaccine was a condition called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) an autoimmune condition characterized by the rapid onset of paralysis. I became alarmed when I recently received a memo to physicians in which it was written, "In anticipation of widespread vaccination this fall, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is conducting enhanced surveillance for GBS." Does this mean that we will be seeing increased cases of GBS this fall following the H1N1 flu vaccine?
Another concerning aspect of this vaccine is the use of dangerous ingredients. In addition to mercury and aluminum contained in many routine vaccinations, a fast tracked vaccine such as the new H1N1 will most likely contain squalene an oil-in-water adjuvant used to stimulate the immune system. Squalene is not licensed to be used in the United States, unless it is approved by the FDA in cases of a "public health emergency."
During the Gulf War many people in the military received the anthrax vaccination due to the threat of bioterrorism. Currently numerous vets are suffering from an array of severe and debilitating autoimmune diseases collectively known as Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) which is linked to the anthrax vaccine also containing squalene. According to Meryl Nass, M.D., an authority on the anthrax vaccine, "A novel feature of the two H1N1 vaccines being developed is the addition of squalene-containing adjuvants to boost immunogenicity and dramatically reduce the amount of viral antigen needed. This translates to much faster production of desired vaccine quantities." Although Squalene may aid vaccine efficiency it can come at a cost.
On a positive note, the swine flu has been considered mild in places where winter has already occurred, Australian Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon reassured parents in July 2009 the swine flu is no more dangerous than regular seasonal flu. "Most people, including children, will experience very mild symptoms and recover without any medical intervention," According to pediatrician Dr. Jay Gordon, "Swine flu does not pose a realistic risk to your family: There will be millions of cases reported and rare fatalities highly publicized." In addition, having the flu stimulates the body to develop protective antibodies. As human beings adapt to the new influenza virus, it will become less virulent (harmful) over time. "By the end of September, there had been about 600 deaths in America including about 50 deaths in young children. Complications from infectious diseases like influenza are more common in people with heart, respiratory and other health problems and that is true for swine flu. (NVIC)
In order to produce vast amounts of this vaccine in a short amount of time, clinical testing has been limited. Not only has it been tested for a few weeks on only a few thousand healthy Americans, there is no data out on the safety for pregnant women and people with health conditions.
Currently there are governmental agencies such as the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program available for people who have suffered from the effects of a vaccine. However, the swine flu vaccine is different because under federal legislation passed by Congress in 2001 any vaccine that is to be used under the Emergency Use Authorization allows companies to be protected from liability. According to Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center, "Federal health officials are already pre-emptively warning Americans that most of the deaths and cases of brain inflammation, seizures, paralysis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, strokes, heart attacks, miscarriages and other serious health problems that develop after swine flu vaccination will be considered a "coincidence" and not related in any way to the flu shots just given." In other words, you are on your own if you suffer a complication following this swine flu vaccine.
We live in a time of vast technological advancements in medicine. We have witnessed the wonders that modern medicine has contributed to our level of health and treatment of disease. However, success can lead to excess. The overuse of antibiotics has led to antibiotic resistance and the advent of infections such as MRSA. By overusing the flu vaccines and anti-flu drugs such as Tamiflu, researchers are concerned that this may cause viruses to change into more dangerous strains.
I encourage you to make an informed decision in this matter for you and your family. Whatever your decision, it is always prudent to keep your immune system strong. Use common sense measures such as frequent hand washing, gargling with warm salt water, get ample rest and exercise, eat a healthy diet avoiding refined sugars, drink plenty of water and broths, and consider using homeopathic medicine, herbs, vitamins and supplements for boosting the immune system.
In good health,
Lauren Feder, MD
Sources: National Vaccine Information Center, Meryl Nass M.D., Mercola.com, Journalist Gary Matsumoto, Jay Gordon, M.D., CDC.gov, Gary Null.