Swine flu fiasco

Everyone needs the H1N1 vaccine. Few plan to get it. What you need to know. What you need to do.

Swine flu fiascoIn a few weeks, every adult in Canada will decide if they (and their children) will get the flu vaccine to protect against H1N1. At the best of times, it seems the decision of whether or not to get the seasonal flu shot is tough to make. Only about one-third of Canadians do each year. Now, with the pandemic vaccine arriving in doctor’s offices in November, Canadians are being asked to get a second shot this fall.

But will they? Probably not. A recent poll shows that, as of the first week of October, only one in three Canadians plan on getting the H1N1 vaccine, according to Harris/Decima. That’s down from 45 per cent in late August. Experts say this reflects the public’s growing apathy toward the pandemic in light of seemingly contradictory information about H1N1 (which is commonly referred to as swine flu, even though it’s a combination of flu viruses from pigs, birds and humans). People are being bombarded by “on the one hand” and “on the other hand” studies and recommendations. “There is confusion,” says Dr. Sarah Kredentser, president of the College of Family Physicians of Canada. “And I think it’s warranted confusion, because the messages keep changing.”

Only last spring, the world was expecting the worst: thousands of cases of H1N1 in Mexico caused its capital city to shut down. Many countries, including Canada, issued travel advisories urging people to cancel their trips. There were calls to have international borders closed. News footage emerged of citizens wearing aseptic white masks, with only their fear-filled eyes visible. Terrifying stories cast back to the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918. And daily—sometimes twice a day—the World Health Organization issued updates, and elevated its phase of alert until finally, in June, came the most ominous declaration yet: H1N1 was a full-blown pandemic.

That sparked one of the most dramatic public health responses of our time. Health Canada began preparing our stockpile of top-notch antiviral drugs for distribution in case Canadians started getting severely sick. Companies installed hand sanitizer stations at every door. Minor hockey leagues directed coaches to make sure all players had their own water bottle. And then the biggie: the federal government ordered enough H1N1 flu vaccines for every man, woman and child across the country who would want or need one—more than $400 million worth—and notified the provinces that the shots would be ready for the fall and winter onslaught.

And yet, the majority of Canadians say they won’t bother being vaccinated—even though Health Canada is resolute, as are other medical bodies, that everyone should get the pandemic shot. Experts believe that “trust issues” are developing between Canadians and public health authorities. “People are feeling like there’s mixed messages coming out,” says Natalie Henrich, a bio-cultural anthropology researcher at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, and that’s contributing to “a possible erosion of confidence in what health officials are saying.” Some Canadians are checking out of the debate altogether because they’ve had enough of trying to keep up. “People throw their hands up in the air and say, ‘I don’t know how to decide what I should do or not, so I’m not going to do any of it,’ ” says Henrich.

There are good reasons for the confusion. For starters, despite the pandemic alert, the H1N1 virus has been mostly mild. While any number of fatalities is a tragedy, in Canada, death has been the least common outcome of the H1N1 flu—79 people have died across the country as of the first week of October. In most cases, the pandemic flu causes minor symptoms such as coughing and fever, and the majority of infected people fully recover in a few days. “Right now,” says Henrich, “people don’t see the virus as particularly threatening.”

When the H1N1 flu does prove severe or lethal, it’s often a surprising group of Canadians who are the victims—young adults, especially women. Usually, the elderly and children with other medical problems are the most susceptible to the seasonal flu and its killer potential. The fact is, each flu attacks different groups. H1N1 also hits people who have underlying health problems such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease particularly hard. That’s bad news in a country where these conditions are common: “The growth of people living with chronic disease in most of the developed world has been tremendous over the past decade,” says Sandra Crouse Quinn, professor of behavioural and community health sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, adding, “They’re going to be at a higher risk” for H1N1 complications.

And there’s confusion about some rather serious logistical matters. An unpublished study has revealed that among a group of Canadians who had the seasonal flu vaccine first, their risk of contracting the H1N1 pandemic virus was 1  to two times higher. A vociferous debate erupted over when people should get each flu shot. That’s led some provinces and territories to change the order of the vaccines—giving the pandemic shot to most people before the seasonal one. Those different decisions, say experts, don’t alleviate public concerns. “You’ve got this variation in policy between the provinces,” says Dr. Donald Low, microbiologist-in-chief at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, which “just adds fuel to the fire.”

The H1N1 vaccine schedule has also been complicated by an editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, which warned that the federal government’s plan to deliver 50.4 million pandemic shots in November is too late for at-risk people. The editorial also raised the issue of using a pharmacological agent called an adjuvant in the H1N1 vaccine to boost people’s response to the vaccine. Until now, adjuvants have never been used in Canadian flu shots. “So when people hear you not only have a new vaccine,” says Low, “but you have a vaccine that has an adjuvant, that’s just a little bit more reason for concern.”

Add to all this the worry of some Canadians that the vaccine has been made in a rush, and the meddling of self-appointed health ambassadors such as political satirist Bill Maher— who twittered, “If u get a swine flu shot ur an idiot”—and it’s no wonder the public isn’t sure about whether they’ll get vaccinated, let alone when. Meantime, medical authorities are bracing for the much anticipated “second wave” of H1N1 in the months ahead. The chief public health officer, Dr. David Butler-Jones, estimates that one in three Canadians will get the pandemic flu. The vaccine could curb that. “This is the largest immunization campaign in history,” he told media recently. “We have to get it right.”

THE REALITY

• Everyone should be vaccinated, especially young adults.

As far as medical experts such as Low are concerned, no one should skip the H1N1 shot. “We should all protect ourselves by getting vaccinated,” he says, especially amid growing consensus that the second wave of H1N1 may be worse than the first. But some groups are more vulnerable to the virus than others. People under age 65 who have medical problems, pregnant women and children between six months and five years are among the first priority groups, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, because if they contract the pandemic flu it could be severe, and the complications could be life-threatening.

Because flu outbreaks are common in schools, it’s important to vaccinate children and youth ages five to 18. Adults between 19 and 64 are also at increased risk for getting severely sick with H1N1. In particular, the pandemic flu attacks young adults in their 30s. That has stunned medical observers because these groups are usually the least susceptible to the seasonal flu. A report in the latest Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that among 168 Canadian patients who were in ICU between April and August because of H1N1, the median age was 32, and most were females.

Meanwhile, older people, especially those born before 1957, are less vulnerable to H1N1 compared to the seasonal flu. They have some natural immunity to the pandemic flu because they have been exposed to strains of it in the past. Still, the Public Health Agency says seniors will benefit from the pandemic flu shot too.

Health care professionals, first responders, people who work with poultry and swine, Aboriginals and others living in isolated and remote areas are a high priority for pandemic flu vaccination as well. And Canadians who have been infected with H1N1 already this year and recovered should still get vaccinated. Even though they may have built up antibodies against the virus, this immunity may not be permanent. Plus, the Public Health Agency says the vaccine will give those people further protection.

• The H1N1 vaccine has not been made much differently or more hastily than other flu shots.

Many Canadians suspect that vaccines created during a health crisis have been “rushed to market,” shows research by Henrich, who conducted 11 focus groups a couple of years ago to understand how the public feels about new drugs developed in response to a pandemic. People wonder, “Are we taking short cuts?” acknowledges Low, and whether the vaccine is dangerous. That’s not the case. “It’s made the same as seasonal vaccines are made,” he says of the H1N1 vaccine, which is being manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline at its Ste. Foy, Que., plant, “and we’ve got decades of experience.”

According to a Health Canada document, seasonal flu vaccines are always made in a matter of months. Every February, the WHO identifies three flu viruses that will be incorporated into the shot, and prepares a vaccine strain. That goes to manufacturers, who then replicate it in eggs or animal cells. Next come clinical trials in humans to prove that the vaccine is safe and effective. Health Canada decides to approve the vaccine based on those findings and a detailed account of how the vaccine was made. Three batches of the vaccine are tested. Once the vaccine is authorized, the federal government buys enough for the provinces and territories, which distribute the vaccine to doctor’s offices and clinics. Usually by November, the seasonal flu shot is offered to Canadians. The Public Health Agency continues to monitor the flu vaccine for adverse effects.

In the case of the H1N1 pandemic shot, there is a difference: Health Canada is basing its approval of the vaccine on international clinical trials that started in early September. That’s because the Canadian clinical trials won’t begin until mid-October. Those findings will be used to evaluate the vaccine on an ongoing basis.

• Health officials say the vaccine is safe.

Most people don’t have any adverse effects to influenza shots. “Flu vaccines, by and large, are generally pretty safe,” says Quinn. The WHO reports that when side effects do occur, they’re usually brief and mild: swelling or redness at the injection site, fever, headache, or sore muscles and joints. Basically, “we feel lousy for a day, or tender” where we got the shot, Quinn explains. That’s a sign the vaccine is jump-starting our body’s fight against the virus, she says: “That’s our immune system doing exactly what we want it to do.”

But she and other experts acknowledge that there are “infrequent” serious side effects. During the swine flu outbreak in the U.S. in 1976, there was an increased incidence of Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can cause paralysis, after some people were immunized, says Low. There is debate over whether that was directly caused by the shot. “There was never really any proven association with Guillain-Barré and the vaccine,” he points out, “but that hangs in the back of people’s minds.” What’s more, Low and Quinn insist that this virus is different and that the pandemic shot and our surveillance methods are more sophisticated. “We have more protection now than 40-plus years ago,” says Quinn.

• While adjuvants haven’t been used in Canadian flu shots, they are common in other vaccines.

The other big difference between the H1N1 and seasonal flu shots is the use of an adjuvant in the pandemic vaccine. “The adjuvant basically helps to stimulate the immune response,” says Quinn, who has studied public reaction to novel drugs in the U.S. In effect, scientists can use less of the viral material to protect each person. That’s important during a pandemic because it means more people can be vaccinated, she explains. It also helps boost the effects of the shot in people who have “a less robust immune response,” such as the elderly, says Low.

Adjuvants have been included in Canadian shots for decades, but never in influenza vaccines, says Low, largely because “it was never really felt to be needed.” Because of the widespread need for H1N1 vaccines around the world, the WHO has asked countries to use “dose-sparing” vaccines wherever possible. The United States, which historically hasn’t used adjuvants in flu shots, decided against using one for the H1N1 pandemic vaccine. The adjuvant would have designated the H1N1 shot an “emergency use authorization” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Quinn’s research shows that less than 10 per cent of Americans would get the shot under that circumstance. In Europe, however, adjuvants are common in flu shots, and many countries have incorporated them into the H1N1 vaccine.

While Canada’s Public Health Agency says that “all evidence suggests that adjuvanted vaccines are just as safe as unadjuvanted vaccines,” there is no safety research on how adjuvanted shots affect pregnant women. The WHO has recommended that where possible, they receive non-adjuvanted H1N1 shots. The federal government has purchased 1.2 million doses of a non-adjuvanted H1N1 vaccine for pregnant women.

• In most places and for most people, H1N1 shots will be widely available before seasonal flu vaccines, either at the doctor’s office or at clinics.

The order in which you get the seasonal and H1N1 flu shots depends on where you live, your age and health status. But many provinces have revamped their timelines recently in this way: first, people in long-term care facilities and the elderly will receive the seasonal flu shot, since they are most at risk of catching it. Next, the H1N1 vaccine will be offered to the general public, given expectations that it will be the predominant influenza circulating this autumn and winter. Finally, the seasonal shot will be offered to everyone. In most cases, the vaccines will be administered at doctor’s offices or flu shot clinics. (For details of each province and territory’s vaccine schedules visit macleans.ca/flushot.)

• H1N1 is transmitted the same way as other influenzas.

H1N1, like every flu, is spread when the virus enters our nose, throat or eyes. That usually happens when we pick up a sick person’s germs either as they’re sprayed in the air we breathe via coughs or sneezes, or when they get left on hard surfaces such as desks or doorknobs. It can take between two days and a week for a person to feel sick after picking up the virus. Even the day before symptoms appear, an infected person can pass on the H1N1 virus to others, and that can continue for up to a week. Keep your distance from infected people, and if you’ll be within six feet, consider wearing a surgical mask and safety glasses to cut the risk of getting sick.

• The symptoms are similar too.

Every influenza, including the H1N1 flu, is a respiratory illness, so the virus affects our nose, throat and lungs. According to the Public Health Agency, H1N1 pandemic flu almost always includes a cough and fever. It’s also common to feel fatigue, muscle aches, sore throat, runny nose, headache and a decrease in appetite. Sometimes it causes nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

It’s important to keep track of how the H1N1 flu is progressing, in case complications such as pneumonia or asthma occur. Watch out if fever, diarrhea or stomach pain goes away and then returns. If there are other symptoms such as purple or blue lips, dizziness, infrequent urination, chest pain, wheezing, trouble breathing, coughing up blood, strange behaviours or thoughts, and difficulty staying awake, it’s important to see a health care worker.

• How we treat H1N1 flu depends on how serious the infection is.

In healthy people, treating H1N1 flu is similar to dealing with the seasonal flu. The key: stay home, rest and drink lots of fluids, recommends the Public Health Agency. A mild cough suppressant may be useful for sleeping at night, except for children under six. A cold compress, as well as acetaminophen or ibuprofen every four to six hours, can help treat a fever or body aches. Don’t give kids under age six aspirin because it has been associated with Reye’s syndrome, which can be a deadly disease. Pregnant women who have H1N1 flu symptoms or people who have other health problems should visit their doctor right away to figure out the best treatment.

Two antiviral drugs may be given to patients whose H1N1 flu appears more serious within 48 hours of getting sick. They are called oseltamivir and zanamivir (the brand names are Tamiflu and Relenza, respectively). They work by reducing the virus’s ability to reproduce in the body. Canada has 55 million doses of these drugs, and they can only be prescribed by doctors. In the most serious cases, people with H1N1 flu may need to be hospitalized. A special ventilator may be used, if necessary, to help these patients breathe.

• There are other measures besides vaccination to help prevent H1N1.

There’s no magic trick to avoiding the pandemic flu; health officials say common sense goes a long way. Infected people should cough and sneeze into their sleeves. Disinfect common surfaces and dispose of used tissues carefully and promptly. And despite a controversial report commissioned by the Public Health Agency showing that handwashing isn’t very effective in preventing the spread of flu, experts such as Kredentser insist it doesn’t hurt. “I don’t think there’s anybody in health who could deny that historically we know that handwashing is a significant strategy in infection control,” she says. “It would be a shame if people believe that, ‘Well, I don’t need to bother doing that anymore.’ ”

• “Pandemic” and “mild flu” aren’t contradictory.

“People think of pandemics as people dying left and right,” says Kredentser. That’s the stuff of science fiction. Pandemic alerts actually signal that a virus is highly communicable, not virulent. The WHO officially calls this a moderate pandemic, but “mild” has become the buzzword, referring to the symptoms experienced by most sick people. So, while the WHO’s pandemic alert is alarming in that it represents the highest level of transmissibility, it doesn’t mean H1N1 is always deadly.

THE FUTURE

Even though most Canadians aren’t planning to roll up their sleeve for the H1N1 shot, virtually all medical authorities around the world unilaterally endorse the vaccine as the best way to prevent the flu. One of the big reasons getting the shot is so widely promoted is because of its impact on entire communities, not just individuals. Experts say that every time someone refuses to get the flu shot, that jeopardizes the well-being of others.

This thinking is based on the concept of “herd immunity,” which is often overlooked by the public when considering the benefits of immunization. The basic premise is that if 70 per cent of a population gets vaccinated against H1N1, the virus will, effectively, be stopped in its tracks. “If people have been vaccinated it creates transmission barriers,” explains Henrich. “So basically, the disease can’t spread or spreads very inefficiently.” Family, friends and co-workers will have one less person to potentially infect them. It also protects people who can’t get the flu shot because of underlying conditions. “For those individuals,” says Henrich, herd immunity means that “it’s unlikely the virus is going to be able to find a route to them.”

If most people don’t get vaccinated against H1N1, experts worry that a large percentage of the population will get sick, says Low—and that the health care system won’t be able to manage. Intensive care units may be overloaded, beds and special ventilators may be scarce, and medical professionals may be run off their feet. In fact, hospitals could be short-staffed if a significant share of health care workers become infected too. “It’s really a numbers game,” says Low, “so the more people that you can protect, the more people you can take out of the equation of being susceptible, the better we’re able to handle [H1N1] as a society.”

Although the pandemic has been confusing, Quinn says that, to a large extent, that’s inherent in dealing with new viruses. “If there’s one watchword for influenza, it’s uncertainty,” she explains. Viruses mutate, and in the case of H1N1, scientists are just learning about how this strain behaves in people and responds to various treatments. Some reluctance to get vaccinated is understandable, adds Quinn, because it’s been decades since we’ve had to deal with a severe and pervasive outbreak of communicable disease, and its devastating effects. Many people don’t “fully grasp” that “vaccination is really not just an issue of personal good,” says Quinn, “but of the public’s health.” Or, depending what comes next with H1N1, widespread public illness.

Swine flu fiasco

  1. Why is there 50.4 million pandemic shots for 33million canadians?

    • Because young children will require 2 shots

    • and yet they say that there will be a shortage of them??! I agree, makes NO sense whatsoever!!

  2. because the 33millionth dose will be in New Brunswick, but the patient is BC.
    I think this is to cover logistic's and other spoilage.
    Besides, some people may like it so much that they want two.

  3. Good comment Edeast. Maybe the other 17 Million are for the Illegal immigrants?

    • Perhaps you could request that only citizens and landed immigrants infect you?

  4. peawormsworth is correct, its about logistics, spoliage some contribution to other countries etc.

    Given the porblems the US is having now….I wouldnt be surprised if we are able to sell some of that to the US.

    Better to overorder than underorder in this case.

    • Also, because when the vaccine was initially ordered, the science available at the time indicated that two shots would likely be needed. As the science developed, it became clear in the last couple of weeks that 2 shots would only be necessary for kids under 10 and pregnant women.

      • Don't mean to reply to MAN or anyone. I and my husband have had a flu shot for the last 7 years. due to cancer and 2 series of chemo. After prodding from family/friends I finally made an appt. with my Dr. today due to cold/sinus infection which has already lasted 9 days. Asked about the reg. flu shot, but seems as I'm just under 65 I may not be able to get it right now tho I was always able to in previous years. This is the worst cold/sinus problem I've experienced in years. We cut a 5 day visit to Boston Thanksgiving weekend. Spent one night in the US on our way and headed back the next day as both of us were feeling lousy. I know its not swine flu but its a bugger nevertheless. To bad I hadn't taken out shares in whoever now owns Kleenex. :-)

        • Sounds to me like you need to take a long look at how you are managing your overall health.  With a proper diet and exercise you should be able to fight off flus naturally.  The government is making money off you and your poor health.  They love your kind.  Wake up!  And clean up your act

  5. Right now, the seasonal (regular) flu just isn't out there. H1N1 is the big gun at the moment, and it seems to have squeezed out the seasonal bug. Seasonal might arrive in the New year, but by then you'll be able to get that shot, too.

    Otherwise, take it easy, stay in bed, drink a lot and get better.

    • 33% of all the students in our town are missing out on school, sick with the regular flu

      • Sure it's the regular flu? Unless you're actually tested, there's no real way to tell – I found out weeks after both myself and my roommate were sick and already recovered that he (and probably I) had caught H1N1. Otherwise it presented just like a normal flu (well, since it largely is a normal flu) – fever, headaches, coughing, fatigue.

          • They monitor flu cases at selected hospitals and docs offices, and test all the cases at each. That's how they came up with the numbers. It tends to be pretty accurate.

          • "A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth." Albert Einstein

          • It's not faith. It's science. Conspiracy theories live almost exclusively on faith, in the absence of evidence.

          • Please, don't post ridiculous conspiracy theories here. There's a million other places with much more fertile ground for your mad ramblings. We don't believe you. You don't believe us. Nothing to be gained, ok?

        • We're a pretty secluded town and had only one confirmed case of swine flu so far. Which ever flu it is, the vaccine came too late for our town.

    • Yes it is in NS. My BIL has already rec'd his shot and my sister is scheduled to get hers tomorrow. But as of now its only for 65 and older and those in seniors homes or in hospital, AFAIK.

      • That's because folks born before about 1957 seem to have some immunity to H1N1, perhaps because they've already met a cousin of this version many years back. For your BIL, the seasonal flu is likley more of a threat, thus the seniors immunization program.

    • The seasonal flu is most certianly in the North. Small comunities in Northern BC like mine are almost at a stand still with schools at 27% kids out with either the regular flu or H1N1.

      • All the stats out there now about flu prevelance indicate that the flu in Northern BC is H1N1. Regular, seasonal flu seems to be AWOL. That said, the folks in your town are sick, regardless of what you call it.

    • What the hell?? Just because the "seasonal flu" (H1,H2,H3) haven't affected YOU doesn't mean it's "just not out there"..man, you think you're soo smart because you can be a little witty at times

  6. I am more than ready to roll up my sleeve.I think its incredible that we are able to get vaccinated against something.Just like polio and the seasonal flu.I understand that some of the poorer countries will be able to use some of ours, if we have it leftover.

    • Have you any idea how many developed countries rejected the WHO? The 3rd world countries are better off, and are much smarter not to swallow everything WHO gives them.

      Maybe some people like it when they and their children turn into something like this.
      http://iansvoice.org/default.aspx

      • I have a daughter that works with these countries, believe me, they are looking for that vaccine.!!!

    • Are you kidding? Putting H1N1 in the same sentence as Polio? Unless you have a suppressed immune system the advice for any flu has always been plenty of rest and plenty of fluids. Strange that the third world countries you speak about don't have nearly the occurrence of cancer, diabetes etc etc as Canada and the US have. They also don't run to the Pharmacist… er Doctor to be a Pharmapig at every illness. Polio was a real problem, that we needed a vaccine for. So were many of the other things we routinely vaccinate for, those vaccines were tested properly and were for things that DO NOT MUTATE. Did you vaccinate for SARS, no, did you vaccinate for Avian Flu, no. hmmm, how are you alive to write this. Just a thought.

      • While it's true the spectrum of diseases in developing countries may be different than in western countries, this is often due to things like ID (eg. malaria etc). With respect to diseases such as cancer, and I'm making a generalization here, the relative "lower prevalence" may be due to mitigating factors such as problems with diagnosis (ie. if there are no physicians, lab tests, CT scanners), someone may die without knowing why.
        In addition, while you seem to think 3rd world countries have it so good because they don't "run to the pharmacist", have you any idea what the difference in life expectancy and quality of life is?!! you overstate the state of healthcare in these developing countries.

  7. Although comparisons are being made, I didn't see anything that identified how many people typically get the regular flu shot versus the 1 in 3 that say they will get the H1N1 vaccine. Rather than compare what people say they are going to do at two different points in time, it would be better to see how many intend to get the H1N1 shot now versus the number of people who don't bother regularly with the seasonal flu shot. Because H1N1 has not proven as deadly as the spring outbreak hinted it could be, I would argue that people are treating it no differently than a regular flu.

    If the health authorities want more people to get vaccinated, they need to get a consistent story to the media.

    • +1 for Ted

      For everyone else, please get the real info yourself and don't believe the fear Cathy Gulli is trying to implant into your head. Here's a good start and expect to spend some time to read everything.

      http://www.theflucase.com/

      • Thanks for your valuable input. Your call is important to us. Your order of tinfoil headgear will be processed soon. Please have your credit card number ready.

          • 1- Never trust anything on FOX news

            2- Never trust any M.D. who is also on advisory board of an investment bank. Healthcare and monetary profit is something that should never be associated.

            3- Listen very closely to how she responds to the questions. Even she cannot deny side effect from the vaccine. When she was asked to elaborate, she cannot give a direct answer.

          • RasAlhague, the report you applauded (+1ed)Ted for was on Fox news…

            And yes, it is "performing" not "preforming".

          • http://wonder.cdc.gov/vaers.html
            Select Dystonia in the symptoms box
            Select Season Flu in the Vaccine Products box.
            Select ALL States in the States/Territory box.
            Then submit.

            THIS doctor is LYING

            NOT ONLY THAT If you go back and select the Flu Nasal Spray in the products box you will get more results.

            In fact, there have been MULTIPLE cases of Dystonia from the flu vaccine.

          • 1- Never trust FOX news

            2- Never trust any M.D. who is also on advisory board of an investment bank. Healthcare and monetary profit is something that should never be associated.

            3- Listen very closely to how she responds to the question. Even she cannot deny side effect from vaccination. And when she was asked to elaborate, she cannot give a direct answer

            4- Her reasoning for getting the vaccine sound just so convincing. Quote “Does it feel good to have the flu?” she asks, “Do you like staying home in bed for two days feeling like you've been hit by a truck?”.

            LINE UP SHEEPLE

    • True – yet also completely false. H1N1 vaccine has ETHYL Mercury (harmless) not Methyl Mercury (toxic). Please get your facts straight – and stop quoting YouTube as a "reliable" resource. I can make a video saying that if you cross your eyes, they'll stay that way – it doesn't make it true.

    • isnt that the states information,,, as for Canada,, there is no Mercury in the Vaccines

    • wow- You tube, the next medical library… how about trying this one for references?

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/

      Imagine that- peer reviewed and all! albeit, perhaps a little hard to digest without proper education.. :P

    • No more mercury than a tuna sandwich.

  8. BREAKING NEWS! Studies show that swine flu can now be caught through eye-contact. Please avoid all eye contact with other human beings. thank you and move along swiftly to your next shopping experience and please don't forget to be afraid. The government has it all under control- big pharma loves you too.

    if you are foolish enough to succumb to the fear propaganda and take the poisonous swine flu shot then you deserve the consequences. wake up -question the government and do some research and free yourself from the 'Human Livestock Management Program'

    • "poisonous swine flu shot "?

      As the H1N1 flu shot is manufactured in exactly the same manner as the seasonal flu shots administered for years across Canada and contains an adjuvant used in Europe for more than 20 years, how exactly is it poisonous?

      Seriously, when you hear about people dying because they contracted H1N1 and had "underlying health conditions", don't get too comfortable. The two most common underlying conditions leading to severe illness and death are asthma and diabetes. Not only are these widespread and fast-growing conditions in Canada, many people have no idea they have these underlying conditions.

      Weigh that against the risk of having an allergic reaction to a vaccine and you're likely to come out in favour of vaccination … unless you're a nutbar.

      • We can only hope that this is Darwinism at work…

        • Thanks for the support. Technically, it would be Lamarckism at work rather than Darwinian natural selection. But Lamarckism has been discredited by the scientific method. So we must assume this person is either misinformed (which is correctable), irrational (which is treatable) or a troll planted to keep this thread lively (which is sad).

          • Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise… go get the flu shot! ;-)

          • Well, if ignorance is bliss, Ras, you're the happiest guy in this thread.

          • M_A_M, there's no need for personal attacks. If you support the vaccine is necessary and believe it is safe for the general public, then bring facts to support your argument. Which labs tested these vaccines? Who funded the research? Conspiracy theories it may be, but always follow the money trail and you'll see things quite differently. Especially, if you are going to let someone inject something into your body, I hope for your sake that you'll at least find out for yourself what they are putting in you.

          • I wasn't using a personal attack, Ras. I'm saying you're ignorant because you are. "Ignorant" isn't a perjorative.
            You are ignorant of the reams of established science on vaccines.
            You are ignorant as to the labs and researchers who did the work.

            I've learned through trial and error that any science I might propose as proof will be answered with "Who funded the science" as if that immediately makes it suspect.. Your fall back position is always "They're corrupt" or "Pharma has bought their silence."

            By not looking as hard at the published, established science as you do for nefarious links to hidden organizations, you remain wilfully ignorant of the facts. I can't help you with that.

          • Myth: Vaccines are safe

            Under the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Reporting System) was established. Annually, it reports about 11,000 serious vaccine reactions, including up to 200 deaths and many more permanent disabilities.

            Far more alarming is the following;

            – the FDA estimates that only 1% of serious adverse reactions are reported;
            – CDC says it's 10%;
            – medical school students testified before Congress that they're told not to report these incidents;
            – according to the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), only one in 40 New York doctors reported adverse vaccine reactions or deaths;
            – international studies show vaccines cause up to 10,000 US SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) deaths annually, and at least half of them are from vaccines;
            – another study determined that 3000 US children die annually from vaccines;
            – poor reporting in America suggests that annual adverse vaccine reactions, in fact, number from 100,000 – one million;
            – since 1988, the government's National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) paid families of affected children $1.2 billion in damages;
            – as authorized by the 2006 Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, HHS Secretary Sebelius, granted drug companies legal immunity (except for impossible to prove willful misconduct) to proliferate dangerous, untested Swine Flu vaccines globally;
            – vaccines are legally mandated in all 50 US states, though legally avoidable in most (under normal circumstances) as explained below;
            – in settling vaccine damage suits, drug companies impose gag orders to keep vital information from the public; and
            – insurers refuse to cover adverse vaccine reactions because of the high potential liability they'd face.

            Truth

            Vaccinations cause high numbers of severe reactions, permanent disabilities, and deaths as well as an enormous personal and public cost. Virtually none of this gets reported

          • Hopefully that onslaught finally broke the bubble M_A_N has been living in.

          • Myth: Governments place public health concerns above all others

            Vaccination history shows "documented instances of deceit portraying vaccines as mighty disease conquerors, when in fact vaccines have had little or no discernible impact – or have even delayed or reversed – pre-existing disease declines….Conflicts of interest are the norm in the vaccine industry." Government agencies like the FDA and CDC are stacked with corporate officials who return to high-paying industry jobs provided they place profit considerations over public health and safety.

            In November 2000, concern over this and adverse reactions got the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) to pass a unanimous resolution at its 57th meeting calling for a moratorium on mandatory childhood vaccinations and for doctors to insist on "truly informed consent for (their) use…."

            In October 1999, Dr. Bart Classen, founder and CEO of Classen Immunotherapies, told Congress:

            "It is clear….that the government's immunization policies are driven by politics and not by science. I can give numerous examples where employees of the US Public Health Service….appear to be furthering their careers by acting as propaganda officers to support political agendas. In one case….employees of a foreign government, who were funded and working closely with the US Public Health Service, submitted false data to a major medical journal. The true data indicated the vaccine was dangerous; however, the false data" indicated no risk.

            In addition, "four letters from the FDA/Public Health Service….clearly reveal(ed) that the anthrax vaccine" approved for US military personnel was done "without the manufacturer performing a single controlled clinical trial." They're essential to determine safety and effectiveness. Failure to conduct them proved devastating to the health and well-being of recipients and still does today. Besides, all vaccines are unsafe and some are extremely dangerous.

            Truth

            Public health officials approve dangerous vaccines on unsuspecting recipients and profit handsomely for their efforts.

          • BRAVO!

          • M_A_N – I applaud you for your defence of vaccines against the ignorance and propaganda spread by JimD and RasAlHague… these two are extremist fools whose medical references are google and youtube. There "facts" are ridiculous and false. Everytime I read these commentary posts, I am reminded how much stupidity is alive and well in Canada.

    • How can you be so ignorant and heartless as to say that if people are foolish enough to get the H1N1 shot they deserve the consequences! I, amongst many others, are trying to make the best decision for myself and my family and it is not being made lightly. The information we are receiving ,whether for or against ,is making the decision quite difficult. I have realized that we have to do what we think is best and hope for the best and let everybody else do the same without judgement.

      • Hopefully you will take the time to study the Pros vs Cons of the argument from sources other than this and all the regular media outlets. There has been a massive amount of media coverage on this issue since the moment "swine flu" became the words commonly used. The media has hyped this more than anything with "Phase 1" and "Phase 2", "second wave" etc. Since when has any doctor worth their degree ever held that the flu, yes even the swine flu, be treated with something they have that is equivalent to a pill? The only advice I have heard was go home, plenty of liquids and plenty of rest. I bet this is the cure your mother used on you. Do you remember a time when doctors were not just a prescription pad but a source of knowledge that someone you trusted had faith in? Why is there and argument at all about what used to be common sense? Live healthy and your immune system will do what it is supposed to do. When Western Medicine has actually cured things like it used to, not just treated the symptoms and given you a diagnosis of a life on this or that pill, you will not have to make a choice based on who you trust, the facts will be evident all around you with your fellow citizens.

  9. I almost expected more anti-vaccine freakazoids to come out than have down here in the comments.

  10. Just a word to the wise…the general public NEVER thought there was going to be a crisis, only the media thought that. The media thinks that because nothing (and I mean nothing) works better in news world than a plague. The problem is that the media is populated by science morons with crises obsessional syndrome and parliament is filled with science morons with popularity obsessional syndrome: net result: headlines and speeches about a non-existent crisis.

  11. they cut me off….

    I get a cold about once every 2 years, and have had the seasonal flu once or twice in the last 15 years. If I thought getting a vaccine for H1N1 was even remotely necessary for my general health or survival I'd shelve my concerns over the very real side effects and get it, but the fact is the H1N1 flu is FAR LESS HAZARDOUS to my health than driving to and from work every day. Almost 3000 Canadians die every year from traffic accidents, over 1800 die annually in workplace accidents, and between 1500 and 2500 from the REGULAR FLU. Since the outbreak started, there have only been 4,800 deaths WORLDWIDE from H1N1. If people can't recognize that this is a case of overblown fear-mongering by the WHO and the pharmaceutical industry, feel free to roll up your sleeves.

    • Ok, so consider a flu shot like wearing your seatbelt. Seatbelts cause injuries too, but i'm betting you wear one, because you realize the ratio of risk is lessened. That's how I look at a flu shot. The risk of something "bad" happening from the flushot is much smaller than the risk of death from the flu. Look it up. But you probably figure all the stats are "fixed" by big pharma, and that all the people who work in public health are paid off orr stupid. I really don't know why i bother, except it's fun to see how many times my "thumbs down" button gets clicked.

      • Well if the government would provide me with a mercury/squalene/adjuvant-free version of the vaccine, like Angela Merkel and other members of the German government are getting, and if there was proof that flu vaccines in general actually work (there isn't), I would get the shot.

        And the seatbelt analogy isn't great. I wear it because its the law, and because I have no control over what other idiots are doing on the highways. I do, however, have full control of how healthy I keep myself and my immune system. That, and nobody is making obscene amounts of money by rushing seatbelts and other vehicle saftey features into production. I find it odd how people continually put their trust in the same corporations and governments that have done nothing but lie, conceal and obfuscate.

        • If you're so averse to risk, I'm actually quite surprised you drive, given the obscene amounts of money make by car companies.

        • Anyone want to take a crack at JimD's contention that corporations and governments "have done nothing but lie, conceal and obfuscate."?

          Public education, life-saving technologies, hospitals, safer food, civil and human rights … Please, someone must have the time today to list the one or maybe two things governments and corporations have done that are, on the whole, positive?

        • Oh, by the way…here's some proof on the efficacy of the 10 years of Universal Influenza vaccination in Ontario. Not bad, considering there's only been about 40% uptake on the vaccine from year to year.

          http://www.scivee.tv/node/7986#

          The charts, abstracts and methodology can all be found on this page.

    • Recognizing this is likely a futile effort at fact-based reasoning … you completely miss the point of vaccination. It has not very much to do with you as an individual, but rather public health. Most vaccines reduce the likelihood you will contract a disease. If you do contract it, the immunity you do have reduce the severity of the infection. However, the main role of vaccination is to reduce the likelihood of some healthy fellow like yourself infecting OTHERS. Thanks to folks like you, who have refused vaccinations since the ones required by their schools, we have a resurgence of entirely preventable diseases such as Pertussis (whooping cough) and measles … which kill people.

      • I'm all for fact-based reasoning, I just have a legitimate skepticism about the "facts" provided by the very corps. that are trying to sell me the drugs. Ever heard of Vioxx? Thalidomide? And like I said, I don't have any beef with the concept of vaccines – just don't try to convince me that I need a dose of mercury and squalene along with it.

        And I suppose you think all of these gov'ts and corps have provided beneficial things out of the goodness of their hearts? Do you know how naive that is? Get real. GM and other major carmakers adamantly resisted seat belts, crumple zones and airbags before finally bowing to public pressure. The safest food is produced by small farmers, bakers, etc., who still look their customers in the eye on occasion and aren't forced to scrimp on safety and quality by overpaid CEOs and greedy shareholders. Food safety wasn't even an issue until most of it was produced by large corporations.

        You consider our public education system, which ROUTINELY graduates people who couldn't comprehend half of what's in this magazine or add 27 and 74 a service??

        • "GM and other major carmakers adamantly resisted seat belts, crumple zones and airbags before finally bowing to public pressure."

          So the "public" developed these technologies and forced industry to implement them? Where is this bastion of public, non-profit research located?

          "Food safety wasn't even an issue until most of it was produced by large corporations."

          So those millions who died from food and water borne illnesses, common before refrigeration, mass transit, pasteurization, etc. — are just rumours?

          I think it's deep breath time.

          • Do some research on who Ralph Nader was before he ran for President. Also, I think if you do some research you will find that governments and corporations did not invent any of these things.

          • "Do some research on who Ralph Nader was before he ran for President"

            I've met Mister Nader. He's a nice guy. (Never drives a Corvair.)

            "governments and corporations did not invent any of these things."

            They certainly funded the research and played a role in making advancements accessible to all of us who don't work in private labs.

            Have a nice day.

          • I'm having a great day. You're obviously have a much better one, as you are unfortunate (or maybe fortunate?) enough to still believe that politicians, by and large, are honest, and corporations are inherently good. I'll give up trying to burst your bubble.

          • Seat belts were invented by George Cayley in the late 1800s
            American car manufacturers Nash (in 1949) and Ford (in 1955) offered seatbelts as OPTIONS, while Swedish Saab first introduced seat belts as standard in 1958… 158 YEARS after they were invented… so yes, JimD is correct. Lets not forget Tucker… tried to create an honest-to-goodness safer car before anyone else with seatbelts, safety glass, etc… and the big 3 squashed him and his company flat. Trustworthy indeed.

            It doesn't matter though… the analogy is rediculous anyway. Vaccines and seatbelts are not comparable.

            In regards to the food industry… yes people did die from water borne illness etc… however do we ever think to question what LONG-TERM effect the chemicals and preservatives in our food have on our health… it is conceivable that they do indeed have a negative impact on our immune system? We may not die from those same food derived diseases as often, but we do have far more forms of cancers etc than we previously had… or could it just be everyone used to die from the same diseases we have now… but we didn't know what killed them… now everything seems to be a form of cancer etc.

    • Dear Jim,
      Dear JimD,
      It's selfish, uneducated, uniformed, paranoid people out there like you that propogate fear in others. In this situation a person cannot think of their healthy selves. You might be able to get over H1N1 but what about the mother who you sneezed on in the grocery lineup who brings it home to her new born who has yet to fully form an immune system and cannot get the shot or the people who have to touch the door you just touched after wiping your eyes who are undergoing chemo or any other immunosuppresant treatment. If you are not going to get vaccinated then stay at home!!!

      • Now you have touched on a Critical Issue dear JaneC. The baby that is still developing an immune system is a very good point, hopefully the mother will do something smart and use a hand sanitizer with the diligence of someone with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). The issue is why does anyone think that undergoing a process that harms, never mind suppresses, your immune system is a good idea? Especially when you are sick and should be boosting your immune system. There are cells in every one of us that get killed by a healthy immune system every day, like cancerous cells or flu, including H1N1 infected cells. I simply refuse to have someone else that is pandering to the very folks that would do that to "treat" me rather than "cure" me give me advice. That is the Educated, Informed and willing to ask the "tough" questions even though people like you will call me paranoid and selfish kind of person I am. Speaking of Propogating things, why don't you look into what you would call "alternative" medicine and make that call once you have been sent home to die because the Immunosuppressant "treatment" course you followed did not work. Hopefully you will bring that kind of contrast into your life before you have to make the choice to believe what you are told all the time.

      • I must say I take exception to your characterization of me. I am generous, well-educated, and definitely better-informed than at least 90% of the population on most subjects, and certainly this one. While you and others are taking our governments at their word (that's worked out well over the past couple centuries eh?) I prefer to do my own research and rely on my own judgment, especially when someone is asking me to inject something into my body. As far as staying home goes, the majority of Canadians and over 3/4 of Europeans have stated they will not be getting this vaccine. Sorry to sound insenstive, but I think we outnumber the chemo patients.

        And once and for all THE H1N1 "PANDEMIC" HAS A MUCH LOWER DEATH RATE THE THE REGULAR SEASONAL FLU.

    • I'm glad you are going to be OK – and that you are able to survive the flu every few years. I feel sorry for the people that YOU infect with the flu and get very sick, or even die.

      Sometimes the choice to be vaccinated goes far beyond the "me" factor – but what is best for society.

      make the right, educated, choice.

      • If you want to believe the pablum that the government sppon feeds you, go ahead. I will do my own research and make my own conclusions.

    • So if 4800 people could have lived by taking the vaccine, do you not think that it would be worth it? Out of the 2 times you had the flu because you did not get your flu shot, how many other people became sick because of you and how many of those people may have become severly ill or died because of contact with you or any of the many surfaces you touch each day. Yes, I believe we have a choice, it is up to the individual person if they want to get the vaccine, but there are REAL reasons for getting it which doesn't have much to do with whether or not you will survive, but whether or not the people around you will become needlessly ill and die because you feel it is toxic to your system.

  12. Freakazoid here….. No flu vaccine for me. I haven't had any vaccines of any kind since gettting shots before starting school at age 6 in 1981. Missing out on the age-14/15 boosters was just happenstance, but since adulthood I've consciously rejected big pharma and their mercury/aluminum/squalene laden vaccines and most drugs in general. Instead, I GET LOTS OF SUNSHINE to give me Vitamin D, avoid processed foods in favour of natural, organic food that I prepare myself, stay in good physical condition and get enough sleep.

    • I'll mail you a cookie.

  13. I never get regular seasonal flu shots, and yes, the confusion over this one certainly doesn't help matters. And when in doubt, I'd rather not trust the government.

    • “People have to take charge of their destiny, they cannot any longer rely on government”.

      Dr. Shiv Chopra

      • Thanks Ras, good to know you have selective reasoning when it comes to trusting doctors.Especially those who are on book tours.

        • If the good doctor were wanting to accept the payouts for prescription drugs that would become part of his practice if he were NOT to say things like that then he would not need to do a book tour. Good to know the M_A_N still looks out for me so I don't have to.

    • The Public Health Agency of Canada is just trying to justofy its existence…

    • Or will it mutate into a zombie plague? Or perhaps a beneficial virus that will allow us all to breathe underwater?

      I really don't know, but those options sound every bit as realistic as the giant U.N. depopopulation experiment the article suggests.

    • Go ahead and cherry-pick from the decades of vaccination research and implementation the few contentious arguments that support your pre-conceived bias … it won't make you any more right or any less wrong.

  14. If there is confusion about the H1N1 virus and the vaccine it is because the media has been trying to make this a 'story' and every day we are getting different information from the media – they choose who they interview and often interview 'medical professionals' who have no specific knowledge of the virus, the vaccine or the actions of the federal and/or provincial governments. It is a rather sad situation that the media has become. But that is why traditional media sources are becoming more and more irrelevant. They could play an important role in this issue, but instead have resorted to headlines that are both misleading, but also create fear and panic.

  15. WHY is the various media pushing this H1N1 pandemic and its vaccine program? We rarely hear about "mild flus" and their consequences in the past but now the WHO gets into the act and all of a sudden it's anti-canadian and anti-american to refuse a shot. WHAT is behind all this?
    I really believe that this global vaccination program could turn into a vaccine-generated pandemic as another commenter just posted. There is documented proof that ground zero for the Spanish Flu was a mandatory vaccine program given to training American soldiers at a SPANISH training base in1917. Good God what are "they" doing to our people, it jst makes you want to weep!!
    Found on the net: the GlaxoSmithKline vaccine Pandemrix vaccine contains among other ingredients, 5 mg of Thimerosal and an AS03 adjuvant of 10.7mg of Squalene and 10 mg of Tocopherol. Thimerosal and Squalene are very harmful to your body, thankfully over 90% are not affected but 10% have immediate or long term affects that are deadly. Research Gulf War Syndrome or Dystonia.
    Wake up Maclean's, the people are not confused, they are nervous and afraid.

    • At least get your conspiracy theories straight! The Fort Riley, Kansas, origin theory relates to vaccines used in poultry in livestock used to FEED US soldiers, who then spread the virus to Europe when deployed their during WWI. The "Spanish" in the flu's name arose because Spain, a neutral country in WWI, didn't have the censorship laws of the combatant states. So, most of the early newspaper reporting of this epidemic came from Spain. People just assumed it originated in Spain.

      Jumping from 1917 to the 1991 Gulf War is quite a leap, too.

    • and at least know your math- going from ug thimerosal to mg definately does it more scary but that's like 1000x more than what is real..

      http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/alert-alerte/h1n1/vacc

      now where a reference for how much mercury is in a can of tuna and how much squalene is made by our own bodies…hmm..

  16. Here's another good one- I never heard of Alex Jones 6 months ago but what he is saying, sure puts a whole new twist on this Bilderberg/IMF/WHO planned H1N1 fear mongering. Something has to give and unfortunately I think it's going to be all of us.
    I believe Canada is going to be one of the last few countries to completely succumb to being a total Police State but it's media reporting like this that makes me think that we're already on our way.

  17. This article shows just how out of touch the media is. It's like there's this huge consious awakening taking place and the powers that be are scrambling to keep a lid on it before all hell breaks loose and the masses call for heads. Do you sick wackos really think you are going to inject everyone with your cocktails of death aka vaccines? Here's the news people…

    When a person receives a dose of the genetically engineered H1N1 live virus vaccine, that virus has the potential to recombine in the host. As with all live virus vaccines, the host will shed this newly recombined virus for around 21 days after inoculation. Persons who come in contact with the newly inoculated are subjected not to the original virus, but the newly recombined one thanks to genetic engineering. The new virus is potentially more lethal than the original live vaccine virus. This is the way to spread a lethal strain of flu to whatever segment of the population you are aiming to destroy. Create a virus via genetic engineering, inject as many as you can with it, and let nature do the rest.

    • All of this is just blatantly false.

      1) The vaccine does not contain a live virus
      2) There is no potential for recombination

      • There is one major problem, though. Not in Canada, but the US for sure. The nasal spray vaccines in the US DO contain live virus. Check it out and you'll see. And these vaccines were given out in public places. If a person so much as sneezes after taking that vaccine, the LIVE virus is spread immediately.

  18. Sadly, emergent, he Canadian vaccine is not a live virus vaccine. Facts can be so inconvenient, sometimes.

    • Yes and starting with the Polio vaccine that actually gave thousands Polio when there were two vaccines was not a live virus either. Another inconvenient fact for the M_A_N.

  19. GM didn't want seat belts, so Jim doesn't trust the public health people enough to get himself a flu shot.

    Yup — just the sort of rational thinking the anti-vaccine side can count on…

    • Just one example of the wolves guarding the sheep.

      On September 10, 2009, MedPage Today ran the headline: "H1N1 Vaccines Safe, Immunogenic in Single Dose".

      "Two investigational vaccines against the pandemic H1N1 flu appear to be safe and to yield a robust immune response with a single dose," MedPage reported.

      "Those findings," it said, "contained in two preliminary reports published online today in the New England Journal of Medicine — are reassuring, experts said."

      The first report is from an Australian study supported by CSL and the Department of Health and Aging of the Australian government. "All authors report being employees of CSL and several report having an equity interest in the company," according to MedPage.

      The second report is from a British study supported by University Hospitals Leicester and Novartis. Study leader, Dr Iain Stephenson, "reported financial links with Novartis Vaccines, Sanofi Pasteur, Baxter Vaccines, Hoffmann–La Roche, and GlaxoSmithKline," MedPage noted.

      • And because large corporations funded the research, the findings are automatically invalid? That's a pretty sweeping smackdown of the entire medical industry. If every researcher is corrupt, then it follows that all science and medicine is wrong. Right?

        • You've hit the nail on the head. Yes, I do believe that as a whole, the entire pharmaceutical industry is a fraud. That is not to say that there is no value in any of the synthetic drugs that have been invented over the past 150 years, but probably three-quarters of the drugs brought to market in the last two decades are either redundant, more dangerous than effective, or used to treat either non-existent illnesses that didn't exist until the drug was made, or illnesses that could be treated much more effectively and cheaply through lifestyle changes. Big Pharma spends twice as much money on advertising and promotion of drugs than it does on research.

          Did you know that a substantial portion of staff within the FDA are fully salaried by Big Pharma? Does that not strike you as a colossal conflict of interest?

          • And all the research scientist, public health docs, epidemiologists and endocrinologists are all in on the giant scam, too? If so, that's a hell of a thing, getting doctors to agree on anything…

          • I'll tell you how it works man. Some people make the decisions, other less powerful but no less driven men take great delight in relaying those orders to reluctant underlings. THOSE others follow instructions to the letter by being rewarded handsomely with money, women and social status instead of being sadistically blackballed and turned penniless with no friends, no family and no future AND living out of a car…
            So the world and it's people shine a little less brightly until our imagined utopia until gradually, over the years, all of a sudden we are in an Orwellian 1984. A Fascist Police state with no thoughts or emotions of our own.

          • I'm still waiting for my money, women and social status. Sadly, I think the Great Conspiracy may not be all it's cracked up to be.

            Oh oh, time for my 2-minute hate.

  20. I've never understood why some people have such a focused, virulent (a ha) mistrust of all things government/corporate/public heath and yet are so willing put their blind faith into websites and youtube videos. Nothing wrong with a bit of skepticism; it forces one to educate themselves. But what I read in some of these comments……wow…….get a grip.

    • Ask yourself this question. What is the goal of ANY corporation? WHAT are their responsibilities?… Shareholders equities? Dividends?.. Now, WHO and with WHAT fund the government and its politicians?

      • On September 21, 2009, Reuters reported that the United States had ordered 222 million doses of H1N1 vaccine from five drug makers that include GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Pasteur, Australia's CSL, AstraZeneca's MedImmune division and Novartis.

        CSL has contracts to supply $180 million worth of bulk antigen to the US. Sanofi-Pasteur is providing more than 100 million doses to the US, in a $690 million order.

        On September 25, 2009, MedImmune said it has "received a federal order for 29 million more doses of its nasal H1N1 flu vaccine, bringing its total order to more than 40 million doses, with a value of about $453 million," according to Gazette.net.

        Seeking Alpha reported on August 24, 2009, that the "Swiss company Novartis received an order for $346 million for antigen and $343.8 million for adjuvant totalling $690 million in July."

        The most recent estimates have GlaxoSmithKline "reaping some $4.8 billion from the pandemic, between its Pandemrix vaccine, its Relenza antiviral drug, and other products such as antiviral face masks and flu diagnostics," Fierce Pharma reported on October 9, 2009.

        On June 11, 2009, Kalorama Information issued a press release with the headline, "New Report Forecasts More Than Doubling of Vaccine Sales by 2013."

        The new report titled, "Vaccines 2009: World Market Analysis, Key Players, and Critical Trends in a Fast-Changing Industry," forecasts the market "to more than double by 2013 due to a strong pipeline of new products and rising usage of current products around the world," Kalorama wrote.

        In the press release, Kalorama described 2008 as another "stellar year for the world vaccine market," in which sales "grew 21.5% since 2007 to reach $19.2 billion."

        "Few areas of pharmaceuticals have seen the fast-moving developments in the marketplace that the vaccine market has," Kalorama noted.

        • What exactly is your point? Making profit is not, by default, proof of nefarious intent. I'm sure anti-biotic sales grew dramatically after their effectiveness was established. Seriously, is your contention that all scientific advancement and associated increase in new product usage nothing but an attempt to purposely hurt or endanger people? What a sad way to live your life.

      • Right. And nobody else has an agenda.

        "The Corporation" isn't a sentient being. It is comprised of hundreds, sometimes thousands of human beings just like you and me. People with families and children and concerns about their health and wellbeing. Are some of the bad? Absolutely. But enough of them to actually pull off every ridiculous conspiracy imagined on the pages of the internet? Not a chance.

    • To totally ignore the hundreds of web pages saying the same things and the same themes would be completely stupid. You have to take everything with a grain of salt and that includes the government and it's agencies but when they come out and say they are adding adjuvents this time it scares the hell out of me. I know what they do to you, I hope you research it as well.

      • Here's the thing. You say "I know what they do to me", but i have to wonder if you do. Let's take the sources of your information, for instance.

        The "hundreds" of websites you speak of are, for the most part, profit driven. Whether it's mercola, fluwatch, or any of the others, most survive on advertising and sales contracts with suppliers of "natural" healing products. So, they have a financial interest in keeping you away from big pharma.

        And, while an epidemiologist in public health has spent 10's or hundreds of thousands of dollars on education and training, I can start a website with $20 and no need to take an exam, then profer myself as an expert in any field.

        Do I claim that modern medicine is perfect? Hell no. They're all humans, and humans screw up. I'm just asking you make sure that grain of salt falls on both sides of the table. As I see so often, "follow the money", but do it on those websites and see where it leads.

    • Hahaha I was about to write a similar comment, I'm glad u beat me to the punch so I didn't have to deal with more crap posted by Ras.

  21. You know, Ras, it's terrible how vaccines are destroying us all. Why, just the other day, I was having a glass of wateron my porch and missing the good old days before public health eradicated polio, measles, smallpox, whooping cough and mumps. What grand times those were.

    As I poured myself another glass, I sighed, missing the taste of unfiltered water, and wishing I could go back to the days when a glass of milk was more exciting, what with the odd case of listeriosis or salmonella. And we were real men back then, before the nosey governments put in all those silly rules about refrigerating meat, wearing hair nets in restaurants and making waiters with Hep B stay home.

    • Yeah, and the days where finding good ol' healthy mercury in your drinling water was nearly impossible. Today, you'll get a wonderfully dizzying high dose of mercury in your H1N1 vaccine shot without even having to know about it.

  22. For those interested in answers to questions about H1N1 and vaccines — and not wild theories based on preconceived suspicions of Big Pharma and the Guv-ment — check out Andre Picard in the G&M:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/sc

    • Hey you're right, that was a very informative article however there was a few statements that sounded "fishy" and they were any comments made that tried to smooth over details relating to the adjuvents. The denials about Thimerosal safety and squalene as shark liver oil and occurring naturally in humans. Whew, he sure did an end run around those tricky issues.

  23. I haven't gotten a flu shot since my mother made medical decisions for me and I don't plan on starting now. I choose to limit my intake of medication because we do not know the long term effects. And the public good is the stupidest reason for me to start. I pay taxes for health care for the public good but I am not going to take medication for the same reason – that is nonsensical.

    • "And the public good is the stupidest reason for me to start."

      It would appear you've missed the whole point of "public health". The public good is what keeps you alive. It means we have streetlights, which prevents people from t-boning your car at an intersection. It has schools so that the guy who builds your house doesn't create a deathtrap. It It means gargage trucks that help keep us from drowning in our own waste. And don't get me started about those cool waste-water engineers.

      When all those people get the flu and end up at home, or in hospital, the public good, that's you, by the way, suffers. Thus a good argument for vaccinations.

      • M_A_N you keep talking about this flu as if its actually a public health emergency! IT IS NOT! They keep saying its going to be, but they also said that in 1976 and more people died from the vaccine than from the flu during that "epidemic". The southern hemisphere already went through their flu season with the H1N1 causing less disruption to the delivery of government and other services than the common cold does in a typical winter here.

  24. What kind of outright dishonesty is the opening line of this article?…"Everyone needs the flu shot." REALLY? I think I will decide what I need or don't need to put in my body Cathy – NOT YOU or BIG PHARMA. It's already well understood that mainstream media (including magazines like Maclean's) are controlled by BIG PHARMA and your opinions may not be 100% your own. What I'd like to know is why the media doesn't seem to bother talking in detail about the TOXIC ingredients of these vaccines? What isn't the media asking real questions, like why are there no placebo controlled studies that even prove vaccines work, why pregnant women are given adjuvant free vaccines and the rest of the population is not, why the 2nd most TOXIC substance in the world to humans – MERCURY – is in even IN a vaccine in the first place, why we would trust another "rushed to market" vaccine when the last one – Garadsil (HPV Vaccine) has more than 15,000 reported reactions, 3000 injuries and 50+ deaths?!!! How about some REAL journalism takes place here and talks about possible alternative ways to boost your immune system naturally – without side effects? Oh, I'll answer that one – BIG PHARMA doesn't control it or make nearly the amount of money they do from vaccines.

    I NEVER get a vaccine and never will. I stick to what I KNOW is good for me – eating well, getting exercise & sleep and to avoid microbes I will take my ionic silver or oil of oregano – always works and I won't get Guillain Barre Syndrome!

    Alex

  25. I am an "anvi-vaccine freakazoid". Not because I don't think they work or because I think government is out to get me (or my family) but rather that I believe the herd immunity is given more importance than the health and well being of the individual patient.
    Patients are not assessed or examined to see if they are one in X people that could develop serious side effects as a result of the vaccine. If you do have any ill effects both the physician and GSK get a pass for any liability.
    Antibiotics are an incredible medical breakthrough but over use or misuse has made them less effective over time. I fear vaccines are headed the same way. There seems to be little pause for reasonable debate or hard evidence as to the long term effects of vaccination. These shots are cooked up, cranked out and shoved into people's bodies with reckless abandon.
    I would tell Health Canada and GSK where to stick their needle but it I will leave that to their imagination. Suffice to say it is the same place they have been sticking it to us for years. I'll take my chances with the virus. It will sicken me much less severly or frequently than the average physician, MP or MPP.

  26. And then, it might sicken me. Thanks. I'll get the vaccine, but even a best case says you get about 90% immuinty from a vaccine, so your decision can still be a risk to me.

    So: Feel free to skip the shot, but stay at home if you're sick.

  27. Hey alex: You have every right to avoid the vaccine. Nobody is forcing you.

    But, as to Guilliam Barre? Do some research, and you will discover that only 10% of all cases of Guilliam Barre can be even remotely related to vaccines. You might want to check into the financials of your Fr. Oregano, too. He;s rich because of what he sells, so does that make him BIG OREGANO?

    • M_A_N,

      Guillian Barre is listed in the Canadian GSK Pandemrix vaccine insert as a possible side effect of taking a vaccination. I don't care what causes the other 90% – with even a very small risk I'd RATHER GET THE FLU! What would you rather have – a paralyzing nervous system condition that could disable you for months/years or a runny nose and some coughs – hmm….let me think about that (sarcasm).

      Financials of Dr. Oregano??? What in blue blazes are you talking about? There is a night and day difference between a toxic chemical-laced drug with thousands of % mark-up that can potentially harm me (vaccine) vs. a natural antibiotic that will kill ALL virus with no side effects by working with my immune system. Hmm…I wonder which one makes more sense to use (sarcasm)?

      BIG PHARMA is a monster conglomerate of greedy, manipulative and downright evil companies that are interested in 1 thing – PROFIT. It's profit before people in that industry – something you will NOT find in the natural supplement industry – It's people BEFORE profit.

      You are the one that needs to do some research – I've already done mine and experienced the truth. I will trust GOD's pharmacy – not mans.

  28. I will stay at home if I'm sick. With pay, thank you very much. My union didn't successfully negotiate 15 sick days (three weeks) a year for when I stub my toe. That said, I will be downright shocked if I get this horrible, crippling virulent life-destroying disease that has provoked the goverment response of coughing up $400 million for vaccines for every Canadian and their dog, despite the fact only 83 Canadians have died. If the gov't spent the even one tenth of that amount per fatality on cancer, which we actually do know kills about 75,000 of us every year, they'd be looking at $3.6 billion! But you know, I bet they still couldn't cure cancer, because then there'd be nothing for all those researchers to do.

    • Nice…

      How 'bout taking the $400 million and fixing our under prepared hospitals and health staff… ?

      "If most people don't get vaccinated against H1N1, experts worry that a large percentage of the population will get sick, says Low—and that the health care system won't be able to manage. Intensive care units may be overloaded, beds and special ventilators may be scarce, and medical professionals may be run off their feet. In fact, hospitals could be short-staffed if a significant share of health care workers become infected too. “It's really a numbers game,” says Low, “so the more people that you can protect, the more people you can take out of the equation of being susceptible, the better we're able to handle [H1N1] as a society."

      How many beds, doctors and nurses can be had for half a billion?

  29. I am allergic to eggs and take inhaled steroids & i understand that I should not take any fue shots

    • That's alright Peter because the antigen in the vaccine mistakenly mentioned as coming from egg dishes actually comes from the severely diseased bowel of an African Green Monkey using techniques that Baxter and DynCorp perfected in their European labs god bless them.

    • If you take inhaled steroids (asthma?) then you are at higher risk from the flu. I hope you are careful in aoiding the virus, and I hope your loved ones (aka "close contacts") vaccinate themselves, reducing the risk that the virus makes it into your home. Good luck!

  30. There is also the possibility that the Flu has already mutated because they formulated a vaccine for a old form from another region. We are always trying to outsmart nature… which isn't a bad thing… but we don't know everything even those of us who wear lab coats.

    Basically, everyone needs to have an open mind to all theories. JimD has his beliefs, Amateur Hour has his own… neither is more valid that the other. If either had absolute Knowledge on this subject they would most likely not be commenting in this forum. You both simply have ideas you want to express… and there's nothing wrong with that. But please don't blindly swallow what you are told by the media… they have long ago abandoned any moral obligation to the public good. People who question athority are not freaks or anarchists… nor are people who trust their leaders and take comfort in believing someone has their best interests in mind, cattle.

    Take in the information you are given, consider the source, their motives (if any), and for crying-out-loud ask some questions, and seek out your own answers if necessary… Not asking questions or thinking for yourself is what is truly ignorant. Equally as ignorant is condemning those who do ask questions.

    The government has the entire media at their disposal to get their ideas and will across to the public… We don't have that luxury. If JimD's comments at least raised a question or two in yours or someone elses mind then they are valid. If we never hear all sides, how can we ever make an educated decision.

    At least we still get to decide for now…

  31. So they want to be heroes and save us all… that's great… but, um… who's accountable if the *%it hits the fan and everyone ends up even worse off. What if, by trying to save a handful, you are condemning the majority to an even deadlier illness? Maybe not today, but what about a decade or two from now… ?

    Why does everyone think evolution has just stopped? We keep trying to out-smart nature and legislate against stupidity. Maybe they are right… but it's really hard sometimes to believe they're aren't more sinister, dare I say, monetary motives at work here. I could be wrong… what happened to just plain honesty and good-will?

  32. Unfortunately, honesty and goodwill are the last concern of most CEOs and boards-of-directors. The further removed a businessman is from his customers, the less he cares about them.

  33. That blaze of fact and pure logic? Repeating the same selective factioids I've seen a million times already?____No. Thanks for your concern, though. You and Ras continue promoting your "U.N. Wants to kill us all" theory, while i talk to epidemiologists and public health docs about what's actually happening.

  34. "Basically, everyone needs to have an open mind to all theories"

    Well, no, actually. A theory needs to have at least the barest shred of evidence to be promoted. As well, when clear evidence that disproves the theory is provided, the theory must be withdrawn.
    The U.N. bioengineering H1N1 to depopulate large sections of the world is not a theory. It's a statement with no actual proof other than a small collection of people with so deep a distrust of government they're willing to believe the worst of everyone.

    Obama is a kenyan? No evidence.Not a theory.
    Vaccines cause autism? No evidence. Not a theory.
    One world government? No evidence. Not a theory.

    I will never dispute someone's right to put forward unfounded assertions, but if I'm around, I'll happily provide a counterpoint. Especially when the misinformation can harm the health of the public.

  35. Must be nice to be so well-connected. So I guess they must be telling you that the reports of mild symptoms and death rate lower than seasonal flu are intentional misrepresentations made by the counter conspirators?

  36. “My final conclusion after forty years or more in this business is that the unofficial policy of the World Health Organisation and the unofficial policy of ‘Save the Children's Fund and almost all those organisations is one of murder and genocide. They want to make it appear as if they are saving these kids, but in actual fact they don't. I am talking of those at the very top. Beneath that level is another level of doctors and health workers, like myself, who don't really understand what they are doing. But I cannot see any other possible explanation: It is murder and it is genocide. And I tell you what: when the black races really wake up to what we have done to them they are not going to thank us very much.”

    Dr A. Kalokerinos MD

  37. You are the most willfully ignorant person I've ever encountered.

  38. Jim, you shouldn't talk about him that way. It's clear he's had a very difficult life.

  39. No. Those are true. It IS milder than the seasonal flu. The death rate is also lower. That's no secret, and the stats are everywhere. Try PHAC, or any of the provincial health misitries.____What's different is the number of people hospitalized, on ventilators, in their 20's and 30's. People with no other medical conditions. People who traditionally don't get the flu, who are mobile, work and travel, go to high school, university, and ahve never had to worry about this before. And a number of very young children who have died very, very quickly upon coming down with this flu.____Here's the thing. Nobody knows exactly what will happen with a virus. It could stay the same, it could mutate and get weaker, it could get stronger. So the planning is always for the worst. Nobody likes paying for house insurance, but if your house burns down, you're thankful.

  40. i wonder why the article forgets to mention the h1n1 outbreak in 1988…

  41. This whole swine flu thing is just a scam perpetrated by politicians and health "authorities" (i.e. snivel servants) to increase their own funding and feather their own nests. They've been trying to create this mindless panic so voters don't mind having them waste millions (if not billions) of dollars. Remember the bird flu panic? Nothing happened. Remember the West Nile panic? Nothing happened. Remember the SARS panic? Nothing happened. These scams go right back to "Legionnaires Disease", which was also supposed to kill all of us back in the 70's.

  42. Yours truly, 2 days ago:
    I almost expected more anti-vaccine freakazoids to come out than have down here in the comments.

    Obviously, I spoke too soon. We have freakazoids aplenty.

    Scenario A:
    Overwhelming Majority of Canadians get vaccinated ASAP and crisis is averted, leading the freakazoids to cite the very success of the most impressive collective public health intervention in Canada's history as proof of how needless this silly overreaction really was.

    Scenario B:
    Enough Canadians get vaccinated that the number of Canadians who die of H1N1 is no more than those who die of seasonal flu every year. The population will maybe, just maybe, come round to wondering why we let so many Canadians die of seasonal flu EVERY year, so that annual seasonal flu vaccine uptake smartens up.

    Scenario C:
    The freakazoids win the battle for public opinion. Penetration in the population is extremely low, and even some health care workers have been spooked by the nonsense. Illness all over. Children home from school sick, parents off work because they themselves are sick, or they have to care for the sick kids. Then the parents catch it themselves from their kids in a second wave, so they are off work for a second week. Children and young adults and the middle aged need intensive care in sufficient numbers that they flood hospitals (themselves with a third to a half of the staff off work sick or caring for sick kids) looking for ventilator machines that are not available. Elective surgeries canceled, and "routine" clinic visits postponed. And the same freakazoids who managed to keep Canadians away from the ONE measure that would have prevented this fiasco will be blaming the health care system for being so unprepared to deal with the crisis.

    Dear Canada, may we PLEASE opt for Scenario A.

  43. M_A_N… dude… I think he was referring to you. ;-)

  44. You know what? I have never, thankfully, suffered a house fire anywhere I have lived. And statistics tell me I am not likely to ever die in a house fire. But the bloody profit-seeking fire hydrant manufacturers have conspired to convince us all to build a whole network of them in every municipality. And reliable websites cite these abominations as a source of canine pee bespoiling the suburban landscape!

    The freakazoids should go out and disable the hydrant closest to their home. It would be on a par with the risk they are willing to accept for themselves AND impose on their close contacts / neighbours, by failing to vaccinate themselves. OK, maybe not on a perfect par. One choice is illegal; the other is merely equally foolish and unfair to fellow citizens.

  45. How about Scenario D?
    The freakazoids isn't here to win anything. They just want people to MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION for themselves. And those who still want the vaccine can go ahead and line up with all other sheeple. Freakazoids have accepted the risk of not getting the vaccine, the sheeple are willing to take the risk of getting the vaccination. Natural selection will chose, freakazoids vs. sheeple. Everyone has the freedom, and the right to pick their side. Just make sure that you are WELL INFORMED.

    madeyoulook, if you want to inform others that the vaccine is safe. PLEASE USE FACTS to support your decision.

  46. (…cont'd) That is on direct lobbying of Congress ALONE. Ever watch CNN? There are probably 10-20 drug ads per hour. Somehow, a literate Canadian doesn't recognize the extreme conflict of interest this sets up.

    If the fire hydrant industry could still survive while spending this kind of money, let alone be as profitable as Big Pharma, we would literally have fire hydrants surrounding every house in North America. Yes, fire hydrants have a valid purpose, just like some drugs have a valid purpose, but there is such a thing as market oversaturation. If I had 6 fire hydrants surrounding my house, and over 100 on my block, you're damn right I would do out and disable at least 95 of them. If you think that somehow endangers me and my neighbours, I pity your lack of confidence in yourself.

  47. I'm sorry, but that is the dumbest analogy I've ever heard. I expect more from a Macleans reader, I really do. I'm finding it exceedingly difficult to avoid getting into personal attacks. Comparing the profitability and gross profits of the fire hydrant "industry" to Big Pharma?

    “The pharmaceutical industry spent $110 million in just the first half of 2009 in its efforts to influence health care reform, part of a booming lobbying effort that now has 2.3 drug lobbyists on Capitol Hill for every member of Congress, a new investigative report reveals. Writing in Time magazine, Karen Tumulty and Michael Scherer report that Big Pharma's efforts to protect their interests in health care reform amounts to an expenditure of $609,000 per day, and ‘they're getting a pretty good return on their investment,' Tumulty told CNN's John King on Thursday.” (10/22/09)

    (cont'd)

  48. Scenario D:

    Government blows $400 million for vaccine that only 1 in 3 Canadians are brainwashed enough to take. H1N1 continues at current infection and mortality rate, 235 Canadians die in total. Government and GSK claim full credit for "defeating" the overblown, media-created "threat".

  49. Yo, Jim, unless you're under ten years of age, it's just a single flu shot for H1N1. Your destruction of ninety-five hydrants out of a hundred on your block shows just how little you understand about public health.

    The disgraceful efforts of some companies seeking to influence public policy might give you some frisson of pleasure as you stand up against these tyrants. Whatever. Go suck on whatever leaf you think will make a difference. But you're just wrong. The single most important thing you and everyone can do to protect yourself, your loved ones, and everyone from this novel virus that will otherwise infect a bunch of kids and young adults this season (and kill a significant number of them) is to get the vaccine.

  50. Actually, quite a few Manitobans got sick with West Nile a couple years back. About a dozen or so died. Nobody can predict how these things turn out, so people being people, we tend to err on the side of panic and overreaction. But when you look at how close SARS came to being an all-out catastrophe, it isn't unreasonable to expect the health officials to take a better safe than sorry approach. It isn't always the right approach, but nobody has complete information ahead of time.

  51. OK "Right down the middle" man. I see where you're going, and you're right. Halfways, and I can say that Dr. Donald Low sounds to me like a level-headed, honest and knowledgeable man, just to appease a few that respond somewhat skeptically. When I say that I believe that the whole Swine Flu fiasco comes down to a few very powerful, very wealthy and driven men making plans that determine what happens on this continent, I don't think I'm too far off the mark. While I'm at it, I am going to also submit that I believe that the centre of this world's real power are the "royal" families of the United Kingdom and The Netherlands and a few other select European families.
    Getting back to the real issue at hand, the adjuvant agents Thimerosal and Squalene. I challenge you to find any real internet data or reference book, that I can read accurate scientific data that discredits any association between these agents and Guillian-Barre syndrome, Dystonia or Gulf War Syndrome.

  52. What a freakazoid!! There is no Swine Flu outbreak you idiot. I am going to win Lotto Max before I die of Swine Flu! You don't get it, why would these companies continue to use Thimerosal when we KNOW it's harmful. Anyways, its just another cash grab because big Pharma's bright boy "Lipitor" did not rake in the dough like they thought it would. So wake up goof!

  53. Still not getting it dimwit. There is documented proof that people are not protected from flu virus' so there is no need for many of the vaccine programs initiated these days. You need to follow common sense guidelines for preventing the spread of the flu and keeping yourself healthy.

  54. This H1N1 virus is taken way out of proportion. More people die from malaria and the regular flue about a hundred times over then people die from the H1N1. If this virus came from the states instead of Mexico, it wouldn't have been as big as an issue as it is.

  55. There is no Swine Flu outbreak you idiot.
    Baghdad Bob, is that you?

    I am going to win Lotto Max before I die of Swine Flu!
    Interesting choice. Actually, the death rate from H1N1 shows you are waaay wrong on that one. Even though both events are highly unlikely, the mortality rate from H1N1 is beating Lotto Max's odds by a landslide. But whether YOU buy a lotto ticket or not, it does not change any other moronic ticket buyer's probability of winning or losing. When you, and many others, choose to not be vaccinated, you increase the likelihood that this virus keeps on propagating, and many will die thanks to that collective decision.

    why would these companies continue to use Thimerosal when we KNOW it's harmful.
    Because it's not that harmful, and because the vaccine wouldn't be as good without it.

    Anyways, its just another cash grab because big Pharma's bright boy "Lipitor" did not rake in the dough like they thought it would.
    Phew! Thank heavens you unearthed the real reason public health officials are scrambling to have enough vaccine for everyone. Whoah, freakazoids, I was using sarcasm there!

  56. OK, genius, please let us in on these common sense guidelines.

  57. Colds are indeed not caused by influenza. The vaccine is not meant to protect against the common cold.

    Mutating viruses are precisely why seasonal flu vaccines need annual updates. You got anything better than an expert-based best guess for each upcoming season?

    What if vaccines don't work? Then we'd still be seeing hundreds of people sent to iron lungs by polio, dead from tetanus, sterile from mumps…

    I will keep reading, because so far there is not much useful for the anti-vaccine crowd to gain any traction.

  58. roughly 70 percent were already diseased with some serious underlying condition such as asthma or AIDS.
    Yup, those at highest risk are those at highest risk. But keeping the virus thriving in the entire population makes it all the more dangerous for those at highest risk. We ALL do these high risk people a favour by keeping the virus away from them in the first place. Unless you particularly WANT to rub out the vulnerable in society.

    There's more than enough research showing fewer influenza illnesses, fewer admissions to hospital, AND fewer deaths. If you wish to remove the blinders. But I shall persevere, and read on.

  59. No question people who give a damn about their health tend to be healthier. I will try to dig up her research, if it is available online. I will neither shoot it down before seeing it, nor accept it willingly just because Bob approvingly quotes a gushing Atlantic Monthly report on it.

    I will, however, say that DEATH prevention is not the only justification for influenza vaccination. An important one, but not the only one.

  60. Mortality rates depend on the virulence of the virus as much as whether the vaccine nailed the strain.

    And influenza misery does indeed go up when there is a mismatch. I would want to see official mortality rates, however, not just your square-bracketed say-so, that mortality is unchanged.

    Absolutely true that the most vulnerable, immune-wise, might not benefit the most, directly, from the vaccine. Which is why it behooves everyone around them not to bring the contagious virus to them in the first place. Look up herd immunity.

    And if you would like to find a large population that would willingly submit to a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial, I will willingly send you m theriault's Lotto Max winnings from above. Not gonna happen.

  61. Yup, Tamiflu will not solve much. But the studies ARE out there, they just show the drug works best at shortening the illness if treatment starts so early in the course of the illness that it's hard to actually achieve it. And this has to do with the vaccine… how, exactly? Other than to further the whole conspiracy insanity, I mean.

    Cohort studies are NOT rubbish. They are the next best thing to randomized trials. Case-control studies also offer some value, when the randomized trials cannot be done, like in this situation.

    Vaccines do not FAIL to produce antibodies in those most vulnerable; they just don't produce as strong a response (so please try to avoid nonsensical hyperbole). This is why public health people rely on herd immunity.

    The flu vaccine industry is not a cult; it is a business. Much like your grocery stores: are you going to stop eating food now that I've exposed there's a profit motive in there? The public health community relies on science.

  62. The quacking duck is actually named Bob, so far.

    The entire tone of this last missive has the feel of those noted rigorous scientific sources (not!) in chiropractic, homeopathy and naturopathy.

  63. It's a shame. After all of Bob's verbiage he missed the most relevant criticism. With H1N1 ripping through the USA and now rearing its ugly head in Canada, the biggest knock against the vaccine is that it may well be arriving too late. The vaccine is approved, and distributed across the country, and now provinces are scrambling to overcome the logistical nightmare of vaccinating as many people as quickly as possible. It takes what, a week or two, before a proper immune response actually protects the person who got the vaccine. It's now a race, and we can only hope that the virus itself does not win.

    Propaganda from the likes of Bob will not be helping matters on that logistical front.

  64. Yes, it is a blight on humanity that we have not yet solved malaria. Chalk that up to the economics of those who suffer from malaria. It's just not right. Bill Gates might attract the $$-based motive for finally solving this one.

    And the annual death toll from seasonal flu is crazy. Maybe the population will get the message and do a better job of improving vaccine coverage every year.

    The "hype" on H1N1 is that it is a novel virus, and the "wrong" people are at greatest risk. Seasonal flu kills the elderly in droves every year, and (unfortunately) nobody cares. H1N1 will infect many YOUNG people (with no immune experience with any virus close to this), and some of them will end up in ICU's, and some will die. That freaks us out. It should. But so should malaria and seasonal flu.

  65. Your article of the H1N1 flue was very biased, to the point of not even mentioning the very high mercury content of the vaccine.

  66. Huh. Now THERE's a self-described "scientist" with no obvious political agenda… NOT!

  67. Who are these people, and why are they making stuff up?

  68. If the vaccination is safe, why are the drug company being absolved of legal liability? I guess you can figure out who's going to be covering those costs.

  69. Amen!

  70. People who arent doctors but see fit to give medical advice to others (about how they shouldnt get the flu shot) should shampoo my crotch.

    • My that was a very interesting and well thought out comment AND at the perfect time. When all are trying to make sense of this Maclean's article and what it means to them and their loved ones, you have to add that.
      I don't know whether your kind of comments or mine are more damaging to someone's ability to make a decision on this vaccine.

      • M, let's be honest here. You think the various Royal Families rule the world, so your judgement must be called into question by most. I think you're wrong, and that starting point you're working from makes objective study of the fact of any situation impossible.

        Pardon me, but i must go attend a secret cabal meeting.

    • Thanks "The Guy Who is Right" for the best laugh I've had all day!! Absolutely friggin hilarious……..

  71. Wash your hands well, at least half a dozen times a day. Stay away from all public surfaces, grab the most awkward portion of any door handle or support rail. Even if that makes you look a little "Howard Hughesy". Also, carry a thick paper towel or hankerchief for sneezes, surfaces or any eventuality. Needless to say, don't readily move to shake hands with everyone you know or happen to meet in your travels, stay away from super crowded situations where possible. And lastly, don't keep grabbing your mouth, eyes or nose all the time.

    • …and don't go to work or school, or the store, or the bank, don't socialize with friends or family, and turf your children out of the household to fend for themselves until the viral season is over.

      Enjoy the next few months, hermit. Me, I'm off to get a vaccine.

  72. "When you, and many others, choose to not be vaccinated, you increase the likelihood that this virus keeps on propagating, and many will die thanks to that collective decision."
    Chances of any virus evolving have no correlation with people who do not get vaccinated. Natural selection dictates your chances of survival. If your body has a weak immune system, it's not the fault of people, on his/her freewill, choose not to get vaccinated.

    "Because it's not that harmful, and because the vaccine wouldn't be as good without it."
    Now WHERE are the facts to support this claim?

    "Phew! Thank heavens you unearthed the real reason public health officials are scrambling to have enough vaccine for everyone. Whoah, freakazoids, I was using sarcasm there!"
    This whole fear of germs/viruses gets blown out of proportion by media and blindly supported by the sheeple is the reason. You are getting the vaccine because you have FEAR in you.

    LINE UP SHEEPLE, NATURAL SELECTION JUST ISN'T WORKING FAST ENOUGH.

  73. People have made comments about the number of people who die each year from car accidents etc and they are perfectly correct. When I drive, I take certain precautions like wearing a seatbelt, having 0 blood alcohol level, driving at the speed limit etc.
    To me the flu shot is that same type of precation. I may get the flu, I may not but I can say that in the 10 years I have been getting the seasonal flu shot I have never been sick.

    I think it is up to the individual to decide based on their own level or risk and general health. I work with kids and I know that my risk of getting sick is far greater if I choose to not get a shot.

    I will be lining up for my H1N1 shot and seasonal shot as soon as I can get them.

  74. there is less mercury in a flu shot than there is in a bloody can of tuna. Again, does no one look at FACTS?

  75. We have chosen some vaccines, and not others, depending upon disease risk, etc., and it a very personal decision. However, the worst reason to put something into YOUR body, is to protect someone else.That is just plain fearmongering, and not sensible. Working at a large hospital, I have been subjected to pressure to have a flu vaccine, and have never given in to that pressure. A vaccine in my body does not mean that I could not spread the virus if I do not use proper patient care techniques. Give people clear, consise, unbiased information, and let them make their choice.
    I truly resent the fact that our government has spent 400 million dollars on a vaccine that will save only a few lives, yet when we need medical treatment for actual diseases that are killing Canadians by the thousands, there is no money, and year long wait lists.

    • Separate complaints, E. Public health IS a legitimate role of government, because no one else can possibly do it. Screwing up hospital services is another issue entirely.

      And your less-than-selfless refusal to join in on the community protection is exactly why whooping cough will not go away in Quebec; the "granola" element has seen to it that the penetration of that vaccine is still too low for this vaccine to achieve the desired population effect seen in most other developed societies. Does your "large hospital" see babies who stop breathing and die from whooping cough?

      Yeah, yeah, influenza is not whooping cough. Influenza just kills off a lot of the elderly and vulnerable every winter (making the "natural selection" charge against the vaccine above especially ludicrous). H1N1 has and will off a small number (we can only hope) of the young and healthy.

    • Dystonia. Which was diagnosed after a flu shot. Ten days after a flu shot. Which seems to have no connection to anything in the flu shot.

      But don't let facts get in the way of perfectly good hysteria.

  76. I see a lot of people here using the argument that they have a lot less chance of dying from H1N1 than they would say driving to work or acquiring the seasonal flu. However, I think the purpose of a vaccine in a pandemic situation is to not only protect ourselves but also to prevent the spread of disease. You're correct most people posting here might not get severely ill from H1N1, but who's to say you won't pass it along to an infant (perhaps in your own family) or pass it to some 28 year girl who ends up in ICU. Just throwing it out there…

    • You're getting in the way of our feindish plan to depopulate the world.
      Stop it.

      • Just out of curiousity, approximately how old are you?

        • If I told you that, I'd have to have you killed.

          Now, if you'll excuse me, there are babies that need forcible vaccinations.

          • ….and I'm the one that gets accused of making irrational arguments. You keep on drinking the kool-aid.

          • Just not sure, exactly, how giving you my age reinforces ANY arguments.

          • Well, if you told me you were 23 or thereabouts, I could just write off your idealistic naiveté regarding how the world really works as a product of your limited life experience. I would have been arguing from your position at that age.

          • Well, if that's the case, my "idealistic naiveté " has lasted a lot longer than yours.
            You can call me naive all you want. It still doesn't change the fact that the "great flu conspiracy" is a pile of bunk.

          • I'll get back to you in a few months when this is all over.

  77. Macleans .. your article is just more Swine Flu propaganda . The FIASCO is that mercury laden vaccines are being given to pregnant women and young children all over the world , and to millions more who don't need it .

    The FIASCO is that BIG PHARMA has co-opted the media and governments and the W.H.O. into the purchase of 5 billion doses worldwide.

    The FIASCO is that there is NO PANDEMIC at all , only a small fraction of regular flu cases .

    The FIASCO is that Billions of much needed health care dollars are being diverted , which will cause deaths and suffering in other diseases ..AIDS , C-Difficile, diabetes,heart disease , the list is endless.

    The FIASCO starts with the W.H.O. in concert with the Drug Companies who sit on their board , declaring a "Pandemic" when only a few cases are reported . When the number of cases dwindles, they stop reporting numbers , choosing instead to focus on individual cases and "projections" of what might happen . An alarmist tactic.

  78. The FIASCO is that the media beat the drums incessantly for this latest disease scare , completely ignoring the Avian Flu , Mad Cow scare , SARS , the Swine Flu of 1976 , and all the other phoney scares perpetrated by the media in previous years .

    The FIASCO is that you think Canadians are so stupid they will buy your magazine and others, and believe this garbage every time , and the FIASCO is that you may be right !!

  79. well i know one thing is for sure i will not be getting the the vaccine, as i was talking to someone in the vaccine industry and they said there has not been enough clinical trials done to deem it safe. I don't even bother with the flu shot, I think if people actually followed the warnings and kept sick children at home and sick adults stayed at home, then it would probably not spread as quick. There is lots that people can be doing to protect themselves it does not necessarly involve getting the vaccine.

  80. Thank you for the article. As a health care professional it enlightened me to several unanswered questions. As a result I will be getting my shot now. Having said this, I am unhappy with the way the media has been responding to the H1N1. Recently with the death of the Toronto boy, they cannot say for sure that it was H1N1 as the assay takes several days to come back to prove this. People who are involved in group activities should take this into account and understand that they are putting themselves at a higher risk of exposing themselves to viruses, ie school dances, concerts, restaurants. etc. Community enviroments- elevators, keyboards and the mouse in schools, door knobs etc. , are excellent transmitters and people should be diligent with their handwashing. If you are sick, stay home! This is what the media should be promoting.

    • " People who are involved in group activities should take this into account and understand that they are putting themselves at a higher risk of exposing themselves to viruses, ie school dances, concerts, restaurants", LINEUPS OF 700 STRESSED-OUT, WORRIED PEOPLE STANDING IN THE COLD CLAMOURING FOR A SHOT.

  81. Not everyone needs the flu shot, see research. Some people should not get it–contains mercury which is cumulative and very slow to leave the body, and formaldehyde to which some people are intolerant or allergic. Not all alternative health care modalities are quackery —eg 5000 years or more of Chinese medicine, Homeopathy. Hard to research because entirely different paradigms.
    Interesting question, what is the role of big pharma and the media in producing pandemic panic ?

  82. how to decide….no idea… but have been reading many stories on the Gulf War Syndrome & how this shot in the arm has the same ingredient that is believed to have caused the GWS…..
    in 1976 the USA began giving people shots for a Virus, similar to H1N1 and stopped after just 10 days, because of what they learned. …
    are we all just trial cases, no one really knows,…..
    are all our health care providers going to come down with GBS (which was the result of GWS, that attacks the underlying nerve system) & not be able to treat those of us that didn't get the shot, who knows…..
    it is all like a Ripley's Believe it or not….

  83. Well I mean "bad" mercury,, I agree with John!!!

  84. 1154 people have died worldwide from H1N1. That is a 1 in a 8,000,000 chance of dying from H1N1. Why are billions of dollars being spent on one vaccine that is for a strain of the flu. People get your headout of the media fear mongering and propaganda and give it a shake. Shake it very hard. Funny how when GlaxoSmithKline missed the boat on Gardisal, which was to be the biggest vaccination campaign since polio, did they seize the opportunity to jump on the H1N1 campaign in order to make back the millions they lost out on. Between Merck Frosst Canada and GlaxoSmithKline the word recession really has no meaning. When times are tough create fear among the masses. .

  85. Here's some common sense – it seems like there are a lot of misconceptions in this comments section.

    No, you're not going to die of swine flu. But you will feel god-awful. For anywhere from a few days to several weeks, you won't be able to work or live as usual. There is a risk of having a more serious case as well that requires a short stay in the hospital. Believe me, it's worth it to NOT get swine flu. We pay a premium for a lot of conveniences in our lives (driving, buying coffee at a café, getting takeout..) – swine flu is very very inconvenient. I can say this as I am currently the Designated Chicken Soup Administrator in my swine-flu afflicted family (and I'm probably next in line to get it…)

    Not only that, if you get sick, the people you see every day probably will too. Your coworkers, friends, wife/husband or kids, the guy next to you on the bus, the person who uses the elliptical on the gym after you… don't be the Typhoid Mary of your little universe.

  86. Suppressed Medical Records

    St. Catharines, Ont.

    – Privacy Commissioner of Canada (Sect. 25,26,28)

    - C.M.H.A – Brock University

  87. I am a pharmacist with growing concern over the plugging of the H1N1 vaccine by the media/ industry/ medical profession/ government. It is a shame that all of these institutions ignore the damage being done by the ethylmercury that constitutes 50% of the preservative thimerosal, that we as a society have failed to eliminate in the vaccines that we are injecting into the innocent general public.
    (cont'd next email)

  88. No, RasAlHague "dude" – i've seen your ridiculous posts. It's clear JimD is talking about you.

  89. Baxter is the same company involved in the Feb 2008 Heparin recall (made from linings of pig intestines). http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601202&a

    Aug. 2008- Baxter files patent for swine flu vaccine an entire year before first outbreak occurred. http://www.theoneclickgroup.co.uk/documents/vacci

    Dec 2008 – Baxter Receives EMEA Positive Opinion for CELVAPAN, the First Cell Culture-based Pandemic Avian Flu Vaccine. http://www.baxter.com/about_baxter/press_room/pre

    Feb 2008- Baxter accidently contaminates human flu vaccine components with live avian viruses and ships the products off to 18 countries.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchiv
    http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2009/02/27/
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Health–Scienc

    Feb. 2008 – Indonesia accuses US of Bird Flu Plot. http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/indonesia-accuse

  90. March 2009 – Baxter swine flu vaccine patent is published. http://www.theoneclickgroup.co.uk/documents/vacci

    April 2009 – Swine flu outbreak starts with a boy in La Gloria, Mexico (50 miles from Baxter's plant in mexico). http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/04/29/swine.flu.pa
    Here is the plant: http://www.baxter.com/about_baxter/press_room/pre

    May 2009 Baxter announces it's working on a swine flu vaccine (using CELVAPAN). http://www.baxter.com/about_baxter/press_room/pre

    June 11, 2009 WHO declares Pandemic. http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE5

    June 12, 2009 – Baxter Advances to Full-Scale Production of A/H1N1 Vaccine (using CDC's strain of A/H1N1 Vaccine given to them in May). http://www.baxter.com/about_baxter/press_room/pre

  91. I don't know. But(in the big picture) if the big pharma companys eradicated all disease and virus's wouldn't they be going out of business? If some new virus or disease came along then their pockets start bulging again. Sadly, it's all about the money. I wonder how many anti virus companys(for computers)have their own people working for them creating new pc virus's to keep the business going strong.

  92. Dont get your knickers in a knot everyone, the illuminati(reptilian overlords) are just trying to protect your well being and the enviornment and its for the best. The flu shot contains mild birth reduction and obedience components, if you refuse the shot and human population continues to increase they may have to resort to more invasive means. I recommend simply doing as your told…

  93. Why would aborigilnals be in a high risk group,when most of there communites are in remote places.How the virus gets to a remote area is questionable?If anything they should be protected by the remoteness.Yet they were some of the first to get the vaccine,after the body bags.

  94. You can't blame people from being too extra careful in dealing with this pandemic. Many are afraid and have no clue at all that this could kill.

  95. I agree. It's unbelievable that this "swine" flu is considered worthy of a national emergency and worldwide panic when it's been less dangerous to date than every other yearly flu.

    If this is an epidemic or national emergency with the statistics to date then we should be hearing about these scare tactics EVERY year.
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  96. This Swine Flu hype was quite a big issue here in Germany too. Fortunately it did not last long and was more a hype then everythings else.

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