Monday, October 12, 2009

Risk of H1N1 flu vaccine blown out of proportion, and bringing out the crazies

My response to the bad science and statistic going around about getting the H1N1 flu vaccine. Due to this tweet.

From 7 reasons to Avoid the Swine Flu Vaccination especially for Children:

She starts with this crazy disclaimer:
I do not vaccinate and believe there are many many good reasons for that choice. As a mother of four grown children I faced the decision as a parent, which can be very difficult in our vaccine culture. I have four very healthy children, young adults, who have never been vaccinated. They do not have the allergies, asthma or other chronic diseases that are epidemic in children these days, and they all have terrific immune systems with lifelong immunity to childhood diseases, and yes, once-in-awhile they get the flu and they get over it. It was my belief, that given the vaccine load placed on children and infants (a still growing load), the compositions of the vaccines, and the unknowns, that the risks of vaccines were not worth an arguable benefit.
And then goes on to list the reason based in bad statistics and bad science. This was my comment:
While it is great that your four children are healthy, they do not constitute a statistically significant sampling of non-immunized people. They have also benefited from the fact that everyone around them is vaccinated from the diseases they didn't get (polio, measles, diphtheria, typhus, etc.). You are also conflating your unwise choice to not have your children immunized with your relatively neutral choice to not get the H1N1 flu vaccine.

For the various mild influenzas, vaccination helps to avoid a mild illness. If you are in a risk group then the flu will not be a mild illness and you might want to avoid getting the flu bu getting vaccinated. You don't mention being in a high risk group so feel free not to get the vaccine. The rest of your arguments are spurious and not well thought out (toxins?) and show a lack of understanding of statistics and risk. It is too bad many will take your neutral advice on the H1N1 vaccine and extend it to other vaccinations with bad effect.
I probably won't be able to get it anyway since apparently Delaware supplies are lower and slower than expected.

DE State population of ~800,000.
CDC say the maximum that DE can order is 520,000
400,000 are in the priority groups in DE.
DE acute care hospitals ordered 127,500 doses and received 4,900 last week.
Expected 111,000 by end of October, now getting 73,000.

The news Journal article doesn't clearly distinguish who is getting the vaccines and numbers. There is some mention of Public Health officials and of the hospitals. Typical confusing News Journal article.


Lynn said...

My children (also adults) do not have and did not have as children "the allergies, asthma or other chronic diseases that are epidemic in children these days" and they did have all the recommended vaccinations. I wonder how that fits in to her "statistics."

And "vaccine culture"? Everything's a culture, I guess.

Richard said...

Dr. Douglas Kamerow, is a former assistant surgeon general and a family physician, says it better in this NPR commentary. Why you should get the H1N1 vaccine:

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Thank you! Yes, it's so easy for someone with four healthy grown children (adults), to say they're not getting vaccinated! My son is 3 yrs, old, and has chronic lung disease. He received the H1N1 vaccine yesterday. Just too great a risk not to!

Anonymous said...

You people are sheeple - have you even read the arguments against vaccinations??? my advice is to stop believing everything you read and take some responsibility for your own life instead of relying on the people making a lot of money from you to advise you on health.