Anglican Samizdat

October 31, 2009

H1N1 vaccination dogma

Filed under: Contrarian — David Jenkins @ 4:03 pm

I must admit when I see every major newspaper carrying full-page advertisements exhorting me to do something, a sense of inner rebellion wells up making me not want to do it. In the ad, Dr. Arlene King, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health implores:

I hear it all the time – various reasons for people not getting their H1N1 flu shot. The fact is H1N1 flu is now circulating in our communities and resulting in illness, even among young healthy people. It’s new, it’s different and it spreads quickly.

Here is something else that is new and different: the H1N1 vaccine:

The federal government insists that the new H1N1 swine flu vaccine is perfectly safe. But it has agreed to cover the cost of any lawsuits launched against manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline should something go wrong.

And it admits that it approved the vaccine, known as Arepanrix, before Glaxo finished conducting any clinical trials on it.

The problem, it seems, is that Ottawa ran out of time to test the vaccine properly.

With the flu season starting and no clinical results from the Canadian vaccine yet in, the government decided to rely instead on tests of what Health Canada’s website calls “a closely similar” H1N1 vaccine manufactured for the European market by Glaxo and known as Pandemrix.

The European Medicines Agency approved Pandemrix a month ago following clinical trials involving 129 healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 60.

But so far, according to the Health Canada website, there have been no tests on children or those over 60 – for either vaccine.

Instead, the federal government is relying largely on results from what Health Canada calls a “mock” vaccine based on an entirely different strain of flu.

Yet even there, according to information posted on the Health Canada website, testing is spotty.

In particular, there are no clinical data available on how any kind of flu vaccine using so-called adjuvants (materials mixed in to make a dose go farther) affects children from ages 3 to 6 and 10 to 17.

For weeks, the federal government has refused to say whether it would follow Washington’s lead and somehow shield Canada’s sole H1N1 vaccine maker from lawsuits.

“Subject to some restrictions, Canada has agreed to indemnify GSK (Glaxo) for the H1N1 vaccine,” a company spokeswoman said in an email.

Strange that the same government that is beseeching us to receive an injection of something that is so safe was initially unwilling to shield the drug company that is producing it.

Altogether I’m rather glad about the ads, even though I helped pay for them: I now have a few extra reasons for not getting the H1N1 flu shot:

The redoubtable Dr. King sounds as if she is protesting too much;

When someone insists that they know what’s good for me, I am immediately suspicious;

There is every likelihood that those who refuse the H1N1 shot will be demoted to the rank of social pariah – a category in which I feel quite at home.

And – I almost forgot – the last flu shot I had gave me the flu.



  1. It can’t have given you the flu, David, you can’t get sick from a dead virus. It’s more likely you got the flu before the shot started working.

    I tried to get the shot this morning. I lined up for forty minutes in the rain only to be told that they had no more doses. I think we may wait, though.

    Comment by Kate — October 31, 2009 @ 4:55 pm

  2. Kate, yes I read that on your Facebook.

    Various people with more medical knowledge than I tell me the the virus is dead etc. and I couldn’t possibly have caught the flu from the shot. And I believe them; yet, of the 2 bad cases of flu I’ve had in the last 15 years or so, one was after the shot, so I can’t help having this nagging doubt.

    Comment by David — October 31, 2009 @ 5:38 pm

  3. No wonder they have run out. They never expected so many to believe their spin.

    Comment by obituary — October 31, 2009 @ 7:05 pm

  4. Kate,
    I hope you don’t come down with the flu after lining up with the great unwashed in the rain.

    Comment by Jim Muirhead — October 31, 2009 @ 7:44 pm

  5. Count me in amongst the pariahs. There’s too much hype and fear, and also money involved.

    Comment by Peter — October 31, 2009 @ 10:37 pm

  6. The flu is the least of the trouble Kate and others may become afflicted with as a result of taking that darned two-shots “vaccine”.
    As for “the vaccine contains no live virus” routine, I heard the contrary.

    If only it was only about fear and money…

    No wonder they treat us as cattle… because it works.

    Comment by quintaldo — November 1, 2009 @ 5:45 am

  7. […] here:  H1N1 vaccination dogma « Anglican Samizdat Comments […]

    Pingback by H1N1 vaccination dogma « Anglican Samizdat « Reference weekly — November 1, 2009 @ 6:32 am

  8. I get a seasonal flu shot every year because I don’t want to waste time being sick. I’ve never had any side effects from the vaccine and neither have my elderly parents.

    The H1N1 flu shot is new, which makes the nervousness understandable, but if my family physician advises me to have it I will.

    Quintaldo: I think you may possibly be confusing the regular H1N1 vaccine with another version which is administered nasally. The nasal version contains a live (but weakened) virus. The shot you get via needle, however, only contains dead virus.

    Comment by Ellie M. — November 2, 2009 @ 7:43 pm

  9. Well, that’s just it. My family doctor won’t advise me, because he doesn’t think he has enough information on the safety of the vaccine.

    Comment by Kate — November 3, 2009 @ 4:19 pm

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