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Swine Flu Vaccine Fears Debunked

Posted in News by Skepdude on October 23, 2009


Oct. 23, 2009 — With school closings, a run on face masks, and even a flu-tracker iPhone app, it’s clear that swine flu is taking the country by storm.

As of this month, the flu, now called the 2009 H1N1 influenza, was widespread among people of all ages in 41 states, and it has been reported in all 50. Numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are unusually high for this time of year. And the situation is likely to get worse.

To stem the pandemic, the U.S. government is urging just about everyone older than 6 months to get the H1N1 vaccine as doses of the shot and nasal spray eventually become available for more than just high-risk groups.

Yet, while some people are waiting for hours in line to get themselves or their children vaccinated, others are avoiding it — convinced that the H1N1 vaccine is unnecessary or even unsafe. Scientists are fighting hard to tackle those misconceptions.

“These are urban myths and you can’t even track them down,” said Greg Poland, Director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group in Rochester, Minn. “Someone says something that spreads virally from person to person and becomes truth in their minds.”

Here are expert answers to some of the most common concerns.

Concern #1: Swine flu is no big deal. It’s just another example of media hype.


2 Responses

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  1. redrabbitslife said, on November 1, 2009 at 12:15 AM

    This and the other one two pieces above it: quite good. As a doc, I had access to the vaccine as soon as it became available and I jumped at the chance. Why?

    I’m currently working as a locum, or “substitute doctor.” The lady I’m filling in for has been out of the office with presumed H1N1.

    My husband has presumed H1N1. He works at a mental health facility, and it was brought in by one of his co-workers who came to work sick (thanks, asshole).

    I have personally diagnosed about 15 people, including two pregnant ladies, with H1N1, meaning they’re in my office, touching my stuff and coughing all over (even in a mask).

    So, I got the vaccine two days ago (Canada’s vaccine is slightly different and had a few more phases of testing) and guess what? I have a sore arm. Even a little swollen. I normally get a fever with every vaccine, but I haven’t this year (hopefully a new trend for me). Hurrah! The government bought enough vaccine for the entire country and then some, so with a little patience (people don’t stop getting heart attacks and car crashes just because there’s a flu outbreak) we’ll get everyone who wants it.

    • Skepdude said, on November 1, 2009 at 8:36 AM

      That’s nice. Over here in the US far as I know they’re still trying to get to the priority groups, so seemingly healthy 30 year olds such as myself must wait. I hope to get it soon…or maybe I’ll take a long drive north and feast on some of that canadian shot? Hmmm…I do have a passport and a car, I’m ready to go! LOL

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