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So what to do for the swine flu? Well it turns out that it is no more serious than any other flu for us. So no new intervention other than listed above for the seasonal flu. Reasons to question the vaccine:

First, the H1N1 vaccine has been made with the mercury-containing preservative, thimersol. Shame on them.

Second, the H1N1 vaccine was fast-tracked with 3 weeks of studies then a release date set.

Third, because it was requested by federal officials in response to a pandemic, it is said that the companies that make the vaccine are absolved of any responsibility if the vaccine is a problem.

Fourth and most important, the additive squalene was added to make the immune system super reactive after the shot. This way one shot rather than two is needed for immune response, thereby doubling the amount of people that can be treated with the doses on hand. Squalene has only really been studied on elderly with more deficient immune systems. This chemical has not been adequately tested on pregnant women, children and younger people, and the primary risk is autoimmune disease in the future months to years after the shot. In the New York Times on September 22nd, they state, “‚Ķfederal officials say the savings are not large enough to offset the possible risks and extra complexity of using the adjuvants [squalene].”

Fifth, people born before 1955 have protection against this current strain of H1N1. It is because they were exposed to the actual H1N1 and built a life-long immunity to the virus. Most vaccines when given do not impart lifelong immunity and require boosters to deal with the loss of immune-memory to that virus. This would effectively push the illness into later years of life.

I am glad the vaccine was developed, this is a good public health exercise to stave off a potentially devastating illness like in 1918, but this H1N1 is not that disease. The hype about the swine flu vaccine should not blind us to seeing the simple risk/benefit ratio that in this case leans to the risk side.

Dr. Richard Maurer, September 24th, 2009