The flu shot is perfectly safe (almost) - Macleans.ca

The flu shot is perfectly safe (almost)

Odds of a serious side-effect are 0.00001 per cent

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When it comes to the swine flu vaccine—or any seasonal flu shot, for that matter—the myths are as virulent as the disease itself. The shot causes cancer. The shot increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The shot triggers autism. But while countless Canadians have decided not to roll up their sleeves for the H1N1 vaccine—fearing the needle might do more damage than the flu it’s designed to fight—the actual stats are quite reassuring. According to Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada’s chief public health officer, only 36 of 6.6 million Canadians have suffered “serious adverse reactions” from the swine flu vaccine, which include life-threatening illness and hospitalization. One elderly person who received the shot has died, but the death hasn’t been conclusively linked to the vaccine. In contrast, 198 Canadians have died of the H1N1 strain since it first emerged in the spring. “Canadians can be assured that to date the frequency of serious reactions is less than 1 per 100,000 doses distributed, which is what we’ve seen with other vaccines,” Butler-Jones told a news conference this morning. “The benefit of immunization, the prevention of serious illness and death far outweigh any theoretical risk associated with being immunized.”

Toronto Sun

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