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19 Aug, 2009 17:33

H1N1 vaccine Russian roulette for human guinea pigs

The potential reactivation of the new swine flu vaccine raises concerns about the relatively mild to moderate symptoms associated with the disease, says the president of the U.S. National Vaccine Information Center.

Swine flue H1N1 has dominated world’s headlines over the last half year. The World Health Organization has called it a health emergency of international concern. Officials predicted that about 2 billion people will eventually get infected with the virus.

An estimated 1,500 people around the world have already died from it, and many already called it the first pandemic of this century.

Still, vaccination against swine flu, like any other vaccination, could have certain side effects.

“In one case out of 100,000 shots, a flu vaccine could cause total paralysis that you can either recover from or die from or get permanently paralyzed,” said Barbara Loe Fisher,the president of the U.S. National Vaccine Information Center.

“With the flu vaccine in 1976, about 40 million people in the U.S. were vaccinated and in about 500 cases people had inflammation of the nerves that resulted in 25 deaths and actually causes more death cases than the flu itself,” she said. “This new swine vaccine is relative to that one of 1976.”

“Two-thirds of the health workers and nurses in Great Britain were polled and said that they were not going to take the swine flu vaccine, which is interesting, and no polls were taken in the U.S.,” Loe Fisher added.

She noted that in the U.S., vaccination against swine flu is going to have a national roll-out in October 2009. For the first time since 1950s, school children are going to be vaccinated. Moreover, vaccination will be done in non-traditional medical settings like pharmacies and groceries. The result could be a lack of monitoring and record keeping, which may make it more difficult to control reactions to the vaccine.

Read also: World-first trial of swine flu vaccine begins in Australia