Swine flu: We are not getting the facts

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From Hedi Green.

AT last a voice of reason (from Senator Ben Shenton, as reported in the JEP on Friday 20 November) amid this ridiculous frenzy Public Health have whipped up in relation to the swine flu vaccine and Tamiflu.

In my letter (JEP, 6 July) questioning the effectiveness and, indeed, the safety of Tamiflu, and voicing my concern that Tamiflu was ‘being handed out to school children in Jersey’, Public Health replied: ‘Tamiflu has not, and will not, be handed out to school children in Jersey…’ Their recent actions completely contradict this statement.

I am amazed at the zealous and (to quote Senator Shenton) hysterical behaviour of Public Health with regard to the possible threat of pandemic from swine flu. I know many children who have suffered horrible side effects from taking Tamiflu and many children who have reacted very badly to the swine flu vaccine.

There are a few sobering facts that Public Health are not making known to the general public, who I believe are not being given all the information to make informed choices for themselves and their families.

They are instead being pressured into getting their children vaccinated and by not agreeing to give their children Tamiflu, have been made to keep them off school for a week. This has been particularly disruptive for families where both parents work.

There are no peer reviewed studies to show that the swine flu vaccine works and there are no trials to say that it is completely safe.

In order for a vaccine to be 100% effective it has to be the perfect antigenic match to the virus it is protecting against, otherwise it is useless. Achieving this is almost impossible (Lancet, 2005; 366:1139-40). Therefore, the perfect vaccine is always a year too late.

Public Health trot out their blithe assurances that no vaccine or drug would be passed unless it was deemed to be safe. This is untrue. Thalidomide was deemed to be safe and was prescribed to countless pregnant women in the 60s and we all know the tragic consequences of that ‘safe’ drug.

More recently, Vioxx, the arthritis drug which has since been withdrawn, was deemed to be safe and effective. It has resulted in the deaths of over 36,000 people worldwide from heart attacks and also resulted in many users suffering serious side effects.

The drug manufacturer, Merck, has since paid out over $3 billion in compensation claims to its victims.

Why have the US and UK governments given the drug manufacturers of the swine flu vaccine immunity from liability? Isn’t this tacit acknowledgment from the drug manufacturers that the vaccine is likely to do harm?

You only need to look at the financial pages to see how the two major manufacturers of the swine flu vaccine, GSK and Astra Zeneca, have benefited enormously financially from the threat of a swine flu pandemic.

Public Health has spent over £500,000 on Tamiflu, which has questionable benefits and countless reports of serious side effects (Japan and South Korea have banned its use in young people).

How much has Public Health spent on the swine flu vaccine programme? Could this money have been better spent?

The public have a right to all information available relating to a new drug/vaccine, both good and bad, as well as proven alternative treatments, enabling them to make educated and informed choices.

Instead, Public Health have been very effective in creating a spirit of fear in the mind of the population and, from what I have observed, adopting rather heavy handed tactics in their quest to vaccinate as many members of the population as possible and hand out as much Tamiflu as they can.

This has left a potentially vaccine damaged group of children in our Island, as well as a large number of children who have been very ill as a result of taking Tamiflu and many worried parents as to their decision in allowing their child to be vaccinated or not, as the case may be.

Isn’t it time Public Health started doing their own independent research before committing hard-earned public funds to such expensive, potentially damaging and possibly ineffective programmes?

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