Mandatory Flu Vaccinations Planned

I was recently asked to write an article about why I choose not to get a flu shot. I had not given a great deal of thought to my decision so it was interesting to read the research on the effectiveness of flu vaccinations. I learned that the flu shot does not really provide much protection against influenza, even where there is a good match between the circulating flu strain and the strain used for the vaccine. A recent example on point: 49 residents in an Australian nursing home and 7 staff members just came down with the flu, 6 of them died. More than 90% of the residents and about 55% of the staff were vaccinated.

You can read my article on why I do not get a flu shot on page 12 of the Vashon Loop:

http://www.vashonloop.com/PDF/LoopV3_23.pdf

A few days later I read an article a friend sent me about a panel discussion on world affairs held at Stanford University and moderated by Ted Koppel. The panelists concluded that the threat of pandemic influenza was the most troubling crisis facing the world. I was immediately struck by a comment made by the CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, Jean-Pierre Garnier:

“The solution is not to stockpile vaccines. The solution is to nip it in the bud. Our best shot is to draw a circle around the infected area and vaccinate everyone.”

(http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=c/a/2006/10/15/BAGB8LPPO1.DTL)

Is the government planning mandatory vaccination using a vaccine that may be entirely ineffective? Is that part of our preparedness plan? It indeed appears to be. Most state preparedness plans grant the government authority to make flu vaccination mandatory. Those who cannot (or will not) take the shot will be quarantined. I found little information on how the quarantine will be implemented. Will people be forced to stay home or will they be sent to “quarantine camps”? In any case, how many of us can survive being quarantined for an extended period of time? Our bills will continue to pile up even if we are not allowed to work and earn a living.

It would be easier to stomach the thought of mandatory vaccinations if the drug manufacturers had any faith in the safety of their products. Instead, they have convinced Congress to shield them from any and all liability for damage done by their drugs and vaccines during an “emergency.” I believe they know their vaccines will be ineffective — the better planned seasonal flu shots are — and they know they will cause damage to many.

I think it is time for the public to wake up and look at this issue. It is bad enough that tax dollars are being wasted on stockpiles of largely ineffective antiviral drugs and vaccines. There is no reason to guarantee vaccine manufacturers a market for their products as well as freedom from liability for injury caused by their negligence.

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