What’s in your H1N1 flu vaccine?

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Speaking by phone from his office, Bhakdi cited the higher rate of heart problems when 1.4 million U.S. soldiers were vaccinated for smallpox before the 2003 Iraq war.

Soldiers who received the vaccine had almost 7.5 times the rate of heart inflammation of nonvaccinated personnel, according to a study by U.S. military medical researchers in 2004 in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

“Unexpected serious adverse effects thus may follow in the wake of a general vaccination program,” Bhakdi’s paper said.

Yet health authorities and doctors are urging people with heart problems to get the H1N1 vaccine on a priority basis and do not appear to be monitoring them for possibly elevated risks, he said.

Shaw is also concerned about Canada’s monitoring of the side effects of vaccinations, calling the system “flimsy”.

What especially worries Shaw is the possibility of longer-term side effects from the vaccine. Most vaccine safety studies monitor patients for a few days or, at most, several months.

That isn’t enough, Shaw says. With some vaccines, the most serious reactions have taken years to surface. “Neurological problems don’t happen overnight,” he said. “It took five to 10 years to see the bulk of the Gulf War–syndrome outcomes.”

One of the best examples involves a controversial ingredient present in the H1N1 vaccine: thimerosal. Thimerosal is a form of mercury used in some vaccines as a preservative. Drug makers agreed to phase it out of most vaccines after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found in 1999 that mercury levels in children who had gotten multiple shots often exceeded safety levels set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Nonetheless, thimerosal still remains in many flu vaccines.

Controversy has raged for years about whether or not thimerosal is behind soaring childhood autism rates. While that debate continues, a 2008 study in the U.K. journal Toxicological and Environmental Chemistry found that boys who were given a vaccine containing thimerosal were nine times more likely to have developmental problems than unvaccinated boys.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says on its Web site that thimerosal is safe and that the amount in the H1N1 vaccine is below Health Canada’s daily safety limit set for mercury. “There’s significantly less mercury in the vaccine than you would find in a can of tuna fish,” the site states.

In fact, the amount of mercury in the nonadjuvanted H1N1 vaccine does actually exceed the daily safety level for pregnant women. Health Canada has established the safe dietary level of mercury for pregnant women at 0.2 micrograms (millionths of a gram) per kilo of body weight. The nonadjuvanted H1N1 vaccine contains 25 micrograms of mercury.

Simple math tells us an average Canadian pregnant woman—weighing 80 kilograms at term—gets about 56 percent more than the daily safe level of mercury when given a dose of the nonadjuvanted vaccine. By the EPA’s stricter standards, that same dose is actually triple its daily safe level.

What’s more, Shaw notes, those daily safety levels were set for consumption of mercury in food, not for injection directly into the body. Injecting a neurotoxin like mercury has much more impact than eating it, he said.

Squalene is another controversial component of the swine-flu vaccine. It’s an oil found in animal livers and is used as an adjuvant in vaccines and also as a moisturizer in cosmetic products. It is primarily gotten from shark livers—a fact that has upset conservation groups worried about endangered shark populations. Some companies, like Unilever and L’Oréal, have agreed to stop using squalene in cosmetic products.

Debate has raged for years about whether or not squalene is responsible for Gulf War syndrome. Most research suggests that’s not the case, but in recent years much more solid evidence has found squalene can cause autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis in animals.

Still other questions have been raised about polysorbate 80, another component of the H1N1 vaccine adjuvant. Studies have found it can cause severe allergic reactions and hypersensitivity.

In the end, we might only get a good picture of the vaccine’s side effects long after swine flu has run its course. Then again, with Canada’s lax monitoring system for side effects, we may never know which was worse.

Comments (166) Add New Comment
Lorraine
I'm really happy I didn't get the vaccine
even tho' I'm well over 65 yrs
I sure won't get it now, had me druthers anyway and
didn't intend to get the vaccine.

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DroneLove
Great article, very refreshing to see this kind of thing in the news!
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RodSmelser
Is this the same Dr Chris Shaw who's an Olympics critic?
Rod Smelser
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DarklyDreaming
Finally! An article that isn't so "pro-vaccine" - refreshing and insightful. Thank you! I think I'l hold off on vaccinating my children and myself - I was always leery, and for good reason, it seems.
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Malicia
Brilliant! Thanks to The Straight for having the cahones to do this story. Thank you for asking the right questions from a pertinent and objective source. Thank you Dr. Shaw for caring enough to do the work and for speaking up. I sincerely hope you continue to investigate vaccines and their connection to increasing numbers of serious health problems.
My teen aged son and I are in "high risk" categories and I was worried that my choice in not getting the shots was a bad one. We both work in client services and so far we are in better health than the people around us who had the shot and are suffering from "colds." I attribute this to our history in making significant choices in our diets and obsessive hand washing.
When will we stand up and demand our governments to clamp down on drug companies? I shudder when I think about where this virus began.
And don't even get me started about the irresponsibility of mainstream media and the hype that both the drug companies and the government relied upon to grease this frenzied wheel for them. I only hope their fervor will be as strong when they report on the suffering this vaccine could create.
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turb0chrg
Yup, Chris also brought forward another perspective about the Olympics in his book "Five Ring Circus".
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IMPRESSED
That so many Canadians are not excepting the media hype. There is hope yet for us. Who profits from the sale of this vaccine? There has been no long term study on the effect of this drug on the human immune system, I have encorage many others to do their research first before taking this shot. I for one have not bought into the hype.

Image if we had that media hype to help underdeveloped nations get access to the much needed drugs(tested) that is so needed? Good on the GS for printing this story!
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2ndLook
While many things Dr. Shaw brings up are interesting and worthy of closer investigation, I find some of the statistics in this article misleading. H1N1 had killed 'only' 161 people as of the 12th, true, but in the week since then that number has increased to 250.

There were as many new deaths just this past week as there were total deaths in the first six months of surveillance.

And the number of new deaths has roughly doubled every week for the past month - if this keeps up, there will be more than 11,000 dead from H1N1 by the end of December.

Is that going to happen? Probably not. (I certainly hope not!) If this flu follows normal flu trends it will peak sometime in the next week or so, stabilize for a few weeks, and then start to decline leaving us with possibly as few as 600 dead (1 in 55,000 or so) by the end of the year. Still a small number, certainly, but several times higher than the 161 Mr. Roslin seems to be implying is a typical 6-month death toll for this strain.

And since H1N1 is already bucking a lot of the normal flu trends (active earlier in the year, killing young, healthy people, etc.), it's a little soon to start forecasting how it's all going to play out.
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Lambert O H Curzon
H1N1 shot, the Doctors are saying my side effects are a coincidence and not related to my shot. Huge blister on lower lip extending towards chin, also rectal bleeding, bruising on my arms, constant runny nose and congestion. All this within less than 16 hours of the shot.
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FreeDee
Bravo to the Straight for some actual journalism! Canadians have waited far too long for their mainstream media to tell them the unvarnished truth, whatever it may be. We deserve to know what we're dealing with, including where the money went. We deserve to have our questions answered with candor, fully and honestly. We deserve, and HAVE THE RIGHT TO, government which, after WE elect it, and while WE are paying for it, will respect us enough not to treat us like dumb livestock. Seems the "herd immunity" they were pushing on us was more a descriptor of what they think of us than a means to keep us healthy.
On our site, www.canadiansforhealthfreedom.org, we have a page where Canadian vaccine victims can report what has happened to them, and other Canadians can decide for themselves what risks, and what benefits, accrue with the H1N1 vaccine.
Thank you for allowing us herd people the opportunity to think for ourselves!
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WJC847
Finally, a reporter who has made the effort to critically probe the H1N1 vaccine... Lambert, you're right... vaccine reactions are frequently denied as "coincidental".. and since there are no LONG-TERM follow up studies, any auto-immune disorders that could show up years from now will rarely be questioned as being possibly vaccine related. Please consider posting your reaction at canadiansforhealthfreedom.org ...

Re. grossly inflated stats, google the article by CBS News - Oct. 21st 'Swine Flu Overestimated' ... a real eye-opener that official state lab results prior to when lab testing was stopped showed only a tiny % of suspected H1N1 cases actually tested positive... Even allowing let's say for a huge jump in rates since then, the stats don't come remotely close to what's being reported. Bear in mind, that many cases - even deaths - labelled as being caused by H1N1 have NOT actually been verified by lab tests. Epidemiologist, Dr. Tom Jefferson of the respected Cochrane independent scientific review has blasted shoddy flu stat reporting and notes that there are over 200 viruses than can cause flu-LIKE symptoms, and while these may not all be equally circulating, the CBS graph (lower in the article) makes it disturbingly clear that a lot of what is labelled H1N1 or even the seasonal flu, do not actually check out for such when put to the test.
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Bea
Good to find an honest review of vaccines. Dr Chris Shaw really knows what he is talking about. Thank you Georgia Straight for printing it like it is.
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TheParadigmShift
Thank you Georgia Straight for printing an article that isn't blatant fear mongering propaganda funded by the advertising dollars of the big pharmaceutical companies like the other "news" outlets do.
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Joseph
If someone gets sick before taking the jab, the pharmaceutical advocates are quick to blame the flu. If someone gets sick after taking the jab, they say it's just a coincidence.

The best reason not to take this poison may be this: Where's the pandemic? This non-event is turning out to be reminiscent of the anthrax scare that followed 911. The difference today is that an administrative system is been erected to apply doses on a mass scale.

I've never taken a flu shot in my life, nor have my kids--nor are we planning to, no matter how much the CDC and WHO ramp up the fear level.

It's all about profits. Period.
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Dina
There are always going to be those people who like to go against the grain! This is one of them. I got my son vaccinated and I will get it for myself when it is released. As I read through this article I heard alot of "my opinion" and "may have been a cause", that is NOT FACT, sorry people! Also to compare a virus to a hernia, laughable!
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Jenny
So great to see some honest information. Something of great concern is the fact that reports from Ukraine indicate a new mutated virus similar to the plague with completely different symptoms than H1N1. This has been completely blacked out through our mainstream media. Info on this is only available through the internet. WHY the silence if not because they are covering this up intentionally, and WHO is once again hiding the truth by their obviously incorrect statements. Check out this blog which contains numerous links on this subject.
http://ukraineplague.blogspot.com
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Syncrochef
Rod Smelser says:
"Is this the same Dr Chris Shaw who's an Olympics critic?"
What the flip would Dr. Shaw's opposition to the olympics have to do with his knowledge about this topic?

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Audrey
I am glad a knowledgeable health care provider sent me this link. WIthout FULL and COMPLETE information too many of the masses just follow and don't ask appropriate questions. Why should folks just inject unknown, toxic substances in to their body without trying to get themselves to optimal health through great nutrition, positive thinking and daily excercise (I mean just going for a walk!). The best way to beat any flu and cold is to keep your immune system supported. Daily Vitamin D, C and Zinc will go a long way to keeping you healthy!
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Balance
Hi there, As a post-grad steeped in the how-to's of scientific reasoning, it is always interesting to note when things co-occur, such as a shot and a symptom. However, unless all the other things co-occuring are considered, such as allergies, preexisting conditions, exposure to other micororganisms, no singular causation can be safely assumed. It is a fundamental law of scientific reasoning that just because things happen at the same time doesn't mean that they are necessarily causally linked. Just because someone had breakfast and then died of a heart attack, does not mean that the breakfast caused it. More examination would have to be done and a variety of other co-occurances considered. It is important to take a balanced perspective on both sides of the vaccine fence. And certainly, more research into causal links, as identified by co-occurances, needs to be done by those who are fundamentally unbiased, ie with no gain in the outcome either way. Without question, the effects of the H1N1 virus can not be undermined either and those also need to be considered and studied further. Unfortunately, in a pandemic situation (yes it is not as bad as they thought it would be, but hindsight is always 20:20) measures had to be taken and fast. Can you imagine how much flack there would be if they hadn't developed a vaccine quickly? You would be saying something completely different if the pandemic had panned out the way that was predicted last Spring. People would pick the less of two evils, and that would have been the vaccine, should more fatalities be occuring now. BTW I had the H1N1 and I am a healthy person. I was symptomatic for a month and a half. If I had have had a choice between losing so much time and suffering the symptoms, and a vaccine which had a good possibility of stopping the disease, I would have taken the latter, (AND I would have eaten my fill of tuna too, ;) ) That's the part that may be missing too, not only consideration of proven links versus cooincidences, but also that H1N1 is a harsh virus to have to fight without medical intervention. Time will tell whether or not the vaccine is worth the risk that the H1N1 brings and that is everyones' individual priviledge to decide for themselves. Fear mongering on either side of the vaccine controversy does nothing to ensure we all stay healthy. Ranting needs to be replaced with positive solutioning and an eye to deliberate research whose goal is purely for our collective health.
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Art
yup what a brilliant article , makes me regret getting polio and smallpox shots when I was a kid. I guess they weren't neededaccording to Shaw....am off to join the flat earth society and then to read a book on how the moonlanding was a hollywood hoax...it is great having this new wisdom propagated by the straight....
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