Swine Flu Vaccination, No Thanks!

The Swine Flu, known now simply as Influenza A (H1N1) to protect pigs from mass slaughter appears to be less virulent than previously suspected. The numbers of infected Mexicans thought to be in the thousands originally has been revised downward after initial testing confirmed only 397 cases and 16 deaths though that count has risen of late to 942 cases with 29 deaths as more people have been tested.  As of May 6th, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. has reported 642 cases and 2 deaths. Worldwide, there have been 1893 confirmed cases in 23 countries – and no deaths outside Mexico and the United States. Most of the cases outside of Mexico have been mild and treated effectively with anti-viral medications. Though the WHO has issued a level 5 pandemic alert warning of an imminent pandemic, the number of cases has not increased exponentially. Notwithstanding the evidence and encouraging statistics, the public is still deeply concerned if not nearly panicked.

I ride the bus and subway into work in Boston and see a handful of people wearing masks, despite the fact that there have been no confirmed cases in Boston and only 8 in the state of Massachusetts according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Update: there have been a few cases in Boston and now 45 confirmed statewide as of May 6. Notwithstanding, it seems to me that a mask would just make breathing a little more difficult. Yesterday, I saw and heard people sneezing on the MBTA and riders getting up and moving away from the “afflicted” but I know that this is the beginning of allergy season, not the flu season as tree pollen counts have been high lately.

And there has been talk of a vaccine, but this sounds like a bad idea. In an article posted on Prison Planet, Steve Watson of Infowars.net recounts that in 1976 President Gerald Ford along with then defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, initiated a mass vaccination campaign in which 40 million people were innoculated. However, the campaign came to an abrupt halt after 500 people developed Guillain-Barre syndrome and 30 people died. Congressman Ron Paul who is also an MD, and one of only two congressmen to vote against the vaccination program had this to say about the most recent scare: “Here we are once again, swine flu coming up and everybody is panicking…it’s practically like we’ve been attacked by nuclear weapons.”

Hear Ron Paul speak on the recent swine flu pandemic:

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3 Responses

  1. This has been extremely high profile in the UK for the last week or so too, especially in London with our mass transport system (including subway where we’re all shoe-horned into trains during rush hour).

    No sign yet of any masks but someone who’d been through Heathrow airport last week commented that they’d seen a few there. Aside from that, while the media hype may be high the ‘man on the street’ seems to be taking it in their stride.

    Top tips from the ‘experts’ were to cover your nose and mouth when sneezing/coughing – ewww! I mean, shouldn’t people be doing this anyhow? It’s not exactly rocket science.

    Still, I might try some sniffing and clearing of my throat lots on the Tube (subway) tomorrow – if people follow suit with your example of moving away I might even get a seat ;)

  2. I find the tips “reassuring” too. Still a lot of sneezing and hacking on the MBTA, but I’ve seen fewer masks even as the H1N1 counts have risen in Massachusetts, now 45 and a few cases in Boston – one a Harvard Medical Dental Student, if I’m not mistaken. Our version of the Tube however is not quite as crowded and most people can find a seat in the morning. The evening commute can be a little crowded though. Your tip to secure seating is a good one – I wonder if riders here are feigning the flu to get some extra space to spread out!

  3. I got one anyway – the H1N1 vaccine that is and I can report with confidence that I’m still alive and quite well.

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