Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Swine flu scare tactics

I'm old, so I remember the 1976 swine flu "pandemic". What pandemic, you ask? Exactly.

In the Fall of 1976, as a college freshman, I remember all the buzz around campus about the pandemic of swine flu and how "important" it was for all of us to get immunized. So, like a good little sheeple, I got in line and got my shot at the health center.

Later it was revealed that the "pandemic" consisted 0f 200 cases of swine flu in the US that resulted in one (yes, you read that correctly - ONE) fatality. Contrast that statistic with 500 cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) caused by the vaccine, resulting in 25 fatalities. In other words, you were 2.5 time more likely to become seriously ill and 25 times more likely to die from the vaccine than you were from the flu.

But Vulture! This year's flu is MUCH more dangerous than the 1976 flu! And the vaccine is MUCH safer. Really?

60 minutes tried selling that angle on Sunday. First they downplayed H1N1, then they sold it hard.

It turns out, in many respects, that the 2009 H1N1 virus is no worse than the everyday flu.

While 99 percent of the people who get it suffer just a few miserable days at home, it is also true that for something less than one percent, H1N1 can be fatal.
The reporter then spent several minutes highlighting the case of ONE individual - a 15-year-old from Arkansas - who is currently hospitalized in critical condition as a result of the H1N1 virus. Yawn.

Don't get me wrong - I feel badly for the kid and pray for his recovery - but ONE example. Seriously?

Then they had the audacity to compare 2009 H1N1 with the deadly flu of 1918!
Palese compared the new virus to viruses that he keeps frozen from decades ago. And he has found 2009 H1N1 is a relative of the 1918 virus that killed 50 million people worldwide.
At least they had the decency to add this.
The 1918 flu was in a class by itself; the 2009 version isn't nearly as lethal.
Yeah. No kidding.

Then we got a lot of "important" people with titles spewing fear.
Rear Admiral Anne Schuchat is the CDC's chief health officer in the war on H1N1. When 60 Minutes first met her two weeks ago, she showed us the virus was widespread in 27 states. When we saw her again last Thursday, things had changed.

"We think the virus is virtually everywhere in the country. Quite a lot of illness, hospitalizations, and deaths," she explained.
Deaths? While it's true that over 600 people have died in the US, that's 600 people out of a population of about 350 million. And there have been 25 reported deaths from the H1N1 vaccine. As if that weren't enough, GBS is STILL cropping up as a side effect of the new, "safe" vaccine!

Not convinced? How about this: they're still using Thimerosal as a preservative for this vaccine. Thimerosal is a mercury-based additive thought by many to be a leading cause of Autism.

So, if you want to be a sheeple, by all means rush out and get vaccinated. Just don't look for me in line. To paraphrase The Who, I won't get fooled again.