Is history doomed to repeat itself with the impending fast-tracked swine flu vaccine shots, destined initially for babies, children and pregnant women? Will 2009's swine flue vaccine mirror the 1976-77 vaccine fiasco, when Joseph Califano, Jr., new secretary of the Department of Health Education and Welfare, halted the vaccine injections? According to The Swine Flue Affair, 1978, published by Health, Education and Welfare, Califano stated: “Use of the vaccine was linked with “Gullain-Barre Syndrome - an often paralyzing, and sometimes killing side effect.”
On March 29, 1979, CBS's 60 Minutes aired “The Swine Flu 1976 and Propaganda”, which stated, “Well, 46 million of us obediently took the shot. And now, 4,000 Americans are claiming damages from Uncle Sam amounting to $3.5 billion because of what happened when they took the shot. Indeed, there are 300 claims now pending from the families of GBS ictims who died, allegedly as a result of the swine flu shot.”
In the rush to prepare Americans for the present swwine flue vaccine, there is media hype and few facts. On Aug. 25 at the local meeting of our community's Board of Health's monthly meeting, I asked for answers to 12 questions from the Illinois Vaccine Awareness Coalition. The Board of Health's six members said they had the same unanswered questions regarding the swine flu vaccine:
- What are the vaccine manufacturers' names, addresses and vaccine names?
- How many safety trials were conducted, including number of subjects, ages, ethnicity, race of men, women and children, countries, U.S. cities, states and duration of monitoring for side effects?
- What are the vaccine's ingredients, facts, contra-indications, precautions, adverse reactions, caused deaths and references?
- What is the source of squalene, the oil-based adjuvant n the vaccine?
- To whom do parents report children's adverse vaccine reactions?
- Who in Illinois records these reactions?
- When will the vaccine package inserts be available to the public?
- Will the Board of Health give the individual vaccine package insert to the public to educate parents and adults?
- Will individuals have ample time to review vaccine package inserts before vaccinations?
- Why are pregnant women targeted for this shot when past flu vaccine package inserts caution against it?
- When can the Illinois Vaccine Awareness Coalition expect answers to these questions?
The Coalition has yet to get a response from our local Board of Health. On Aug. 27th, Margaret Provost-Fyfe, interim director of the Oak Park Department of Public health sent the Coalition a letter with information on government web sites. But local residents need complete and truthful information at the local level, from our local municipal board of health advocating inoculation before residents or their children extend their arms for the swine flu shot.
And another question: why would our government agencies want to rename the swine flu vaccine with letters and numbers calling it H1N1? In changing the name, did government bureaucrats hope to perfume pigs, swine and hogs?
Barbara Mullarkey is a mother of five grown children and a grandmother of nine. A columnist for her hometown paper in Oak Park, Illinois, for fifteen years writing primarily on matters of public health, she has been a long time vaccine safety advocate and, currently, serves as the President of the Illinois Vaccine Awareness Coalition.