Thimerosal, squalene and Guillain-Barré: Expert answers to your seasonal and H1N1 flu questions

McIntoshIn the last couple of weeks, Thrive has published several postings concerning the seasonal and H1N1 flu. Many of our readers have questions concerning the safety of these vaccines. We spoke to Children’s Hospital Boston’s Kenneth McIntosh, MD, a senior physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases. Here, he answers many of your questions, on everything from thimerosal and squalene to Guillain-Barre and how many shots is too many for a baby.

Does the H1N1 vaccine contain thimerosal?

Some doses of the H1N1 vaccine will contain thimerosal, the preservative wrongly linked to autism. When we talked earlier this week on this blog and our Facebook page about whether people should have their children vaccinated for H1N1, several readers, including several clinicians, chimed in to say that they would not get the H1N1 vaccine if it contained thimerosal. But it’s important to understand that the overwhelming scientific evidence (here and here) shows that thimerosal does not cause autism. If you want more information on this topic, the CDC has a lot of great information on their site.

I am concerned about the use of squalene in the H1N1 vaccine this year and have heard it is more dangerous (especially for our children) than getting the flu.

The vaccines that are being used in this country against H1N1 do not include any squalene, which is a molecule that is present in the human body naturally. So you do not have to worry about this. Most vaccines contain adjuvants, which are pharmacological or immunological agents that enhance the effect of the vaccine while having few if any direct effects when given by themselves. A vaccine adjuvant containing squalene (MF59) is licensed in Europe, but not in the U.S. In fact, however, most scientifically reliable reports do not support the idea that MF59 is dangerous.

There are some who believe that squalene, which was found in small amounts in some lots of anthrax vaccine, was responsible for the Gulf War Syndrome. However, there is considerable disagreement about this, and I don’t believe that a final answer is in. It is not at all clear that including small amounts in a vaccine would be harmful. In any case, the vaccines licensed in this country do not contain it.

Why did the swine flu vaccine in 1976 cause Guillain-Barré syndrome? If this vaccine is very similar to the seasonal vaccine, which is considered safe, what went wrong with the 1976 vaccine and what are they doing to prevent this again?

Good question. No one knows why the 1976 swine flu vaccine was associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS). The good news, however, is that all the influenza vaccines since that time have been tested very carefully to see whether they would cause GBS, and none have. And since 1978, vaccines have included H1N1 strains (like, but not identical to, the 1976 swine flu vaccine, and also like the 2009 H1N1 strain), and no GBS has resulted. So the chances are very good that this one will not cause GBS.

Do we really know if it’s safe to give young children three flu shots in one year (one seasonal/regular flu shot and two swine flu shots)?stockphotopro_2092795BMD_doctor_giving_n

Vaccines represent only a tiny, tiny fraction of the challenges faced by a child’s immune system, even that of a very young child. Babies get an average of eight respiratory infections and several intestinal infections per year, and each of these presents multiple antigens that challenge the immune system. Three flu shots really are quite safe from that point of view.

Of course, no vaccine, no medicine, is 100 percent safe, but taking your child to the playground is not absolutely safe either. Serious reactions to today’s childhood vaccines (lasting longer than a few days) are extremely rare.

I’ve heard that getting the seasonal flu shot will make you more susceptible to the swine flu because it trains your immune system to be lazy.

This is a theoretical concern that has to do with which influenza strain a person is exposed to first. It probably does not apply to vaccine-exposure at all, but here is the story. What seems to happen is that when people get influenza A (the seasonal flu) for the second, third, or umpteenth time (we all get it more than once, and many of us get it many times during our lives), our immune system seems to remember the response we had to it the first time, and even if the umpteenth strain is somewhat different from the first (although they are still enough alike that we call them both “influenza A”), we produce an immunologic response that still looks something like our first one.

In experiments with animals, this also happens with vaccines. So, getting back to your question, for adults, and even for older children, this concern doesn’t apply to the order that this year’s vaccines are given. This is because essentially all adults and older children were exposed to influenza A for the first time many years ago, and it is that first infection that produces this odd effect. For small babies, who have never had influenza, it might apply, but the best results that have shown such an effect with vaccines are in mice, and we all know that mice are NOT humans, particularly in their immune systems, and react very differently to vaccines. If you are still worried, then you can let your child get the 2009 H1N1 vaccine first and wait until after that to give your child the seasonal flu vaccine. However, I myself would not be worried.

Has this information been helpful to you? Does it answer your flu vaccine questions, or do you have more? Let us know below. We understand this is a controversial topic, but please be respectful in your comments.

For more information from Children’s Hospital Boston on both the seasonal and H1N1 flus from, visit our Flu Information Center.

  • R H

    Um….have you seen the study published TODAY in the journal of neurotoicology re mercury and macaques… i think you should read it.

  • R H

    Also, google hannah polings case? awarded compensation due to vaccine injury.
    http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/conditions/03/06/vaccines.autism/index.html

    Studies conducted by scientists with NO conflicts of interested are needed. Every one of those done, has shown the EXACT opposite of your results above, Feel free to email me for a complete list.

    Also, have you seen or read the paper from the stony brook university medical center, showing an association between hep b and and a 9 fold increas in special education services and a tripling for autism?

    Bring it….Ill bring my chemistry chart.

    Parent of a mercury, vaccine injured child.

    • http://www.childrenshospital.org Matt Cyr

      The following response was written by Ken McIntosh, MD.

      Dear RH,

      I am very sorry to hear that your child is not well. I appreciate you having attention drawn both to the Hannah Polings case and the recent abstract on a possible relation between hepatitis b vaccine in newborns and subsequent needs for special education services. Unfortunately, the details of the Polings case are not public, and, of course, the methodology and full results behind the abstract have not yet been published, so it is very hard to comment on either one. So I can only repeat what you have already heard, I am sure: that Hannah Polings seems to have had a mitochondrial disorder (there are many, many types, but her particular type has not been made public, as far as I know), and that was thought by the Federal panel, which did have access to the medical details, to play the major role in her subsequent symptoms.

      Regarding the Annals of Epidemiology abstract, we must wait for the full paper. Such retrospective studies have to be done with enormous care to get accurate and fully reliable results.

      Thank you for your comment.

      Dr. Ken McIntosh

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  • Karen

    I just read that the H1N1 was banned in Canada due to people being more suseptable to getting the H1N1 after the vaccination. I am just curious to hear your intake on this. I have two young boys and I am still not sure about the vaccination or not due to all the controversy.
    Thank you

    • http://www.childrenshospital.org Matt Cyr

      Hi Karen,
      We’ll look into this and get back to you.
      Thanks for your question.
      Matt

      • http://www.childrenshospital.org Matt Cyr

        Hi Karen,
        We looked into this and wrote a post on the topic. Hope this helps!
        Matt

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  • http://scienceblogs.com/effectmeasure revere

    I am somewhat puzzled by this post. Thimerosol-free flu vaccine is available in the US for children and pregnant women and FluMist nasal spray contains no thimerosol or any adjuvants. Moreover I am not aware that any US licensed flu vaccine contains adjuvant of any kind (some of this think this is a mistake, but it was a decision made by HHS). So while it is true, as stated, there is no evidence linking thimerosol or adjuvants to untoward adverse effects, in the US, at least for children and pregnant women the question is moot for thimerosol and moot for all of us for adjuvants. All the flu vaccine for swine flu is the same as seasonal vaccine in manufacture. It just represents a strain change, something that happens every two or three years, and hence this vaccine is something we have years and hundreds of millions of post deployment experience with. The questions about thimerosol and adjuvants are out there and answerable, but they didn’t have to be answered here.

    • http://www.childrenshospital.org Matt Cyr

      Hi Revere,
      We were receiving questions from readers about these issues, so wanted to answer them here in case others had similar questions.

      Thanks for your comment.
      Matt

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  • Cheryl Greaves

    Can you comment further on this email (below) I recieved today as I would like to understand both sides of the argument for and against taking, or giving my children, a swine flu vaccine.

    Im a qualified pharmacist. I’ve been researching the swine flu vaccine that our government has bought for us (using our money, by the way) and its DANGEROUS AS. Its easy a hundred times more dangerous than the swine flu itself, imo.

    Something that freaked me out is that several swine flu vaccine manufacturers have asked governments to give them an exemption from lawsuits, in case the vaccine caused harm in people. If you made a vaccine that you knew worked, then why would you need a legal exemption in case it hurt people? Massive warning sign. They don’t believe its safe.

    The swine flu itself has killed about 2/3000 people total. The regular flu kills 40 000 plus per year – so why are we freaking out about swine flu, and not normal flu? Does that make sense? no.

    If the regular flu kills 40 000 plus per year, and the swine flu only killed 2/3 000 – then why are governments buying it in advance, giving it to us for free, and giving drug manufacturers immunity to legal cases against them? Does that make sense? no.

    The swine flu vaccine contains 2 horribly dangerous compounds – one is called thimerosol. It is made 50% of mercury. It binds to receptors in your brain, and basically causes brain damage. Is it smart to be injected with thimerosol, and get brain damage, dropping 10 IQ points and going dumb, in order to avoid getting a flu that kills 95% less people than regular flu? no.

    The other horrible in gredient is called squalene. Squalene accidentally tricks your immune system into killing your own cells, which creates autoimmune diseases like asthma, multiple scelerosis, diabetes, and a bunch of diseases that we dont have a name for yet (because squalene hasnt been used for that long, and we have little data on its effects) – is is smart to inject yourself with that stuff, in order to avoid a relatively mild flu, like the swine flu? no.

    If you’re a pregnant mother about to take Panvax, ask yourself this – why would you take Panvax, when it contains Neomycin and Polymyxin B Sulfate – both of which exhibit positive risk to unborn children – so as to avoid what? A mild flu, that kills 95% fewer people than the regular flu?

    Look, i’m a funny guy. Yeah, I make good facebook groups. People join them by the thousands, and laugh. But Im also a qualified pharmacist. I scored in the top 0.1% of my state in school. Im expert at critical analysis of drugs and their effects on humans. And let me be blunt – if someone came up to me with a syringe full of swine flu vaccine, or came near my family with one – I would take the needle off them and poke them with it myself – followed by several very hard punches. This stuff is poison. Don’t take it. Dont let your friends take it. Don’t let your family take it. If some idiot in a lab coat asks you if you want it, ask them about thimerosol, squalene, and why the company making it wants legal exemption from being sued, and watch their face go into “omg im being asked serious questions that I dont have the answer to” mode.

    Anyway. I hope you’re all well. Chat to you on facebook sometime :)

    Sincerely,

    George Mamouzellos
    Bachelor of Pharmacy
    University of South Australia

    • http://www.childrenshospital.org Matt Cyr

      Hi Cheryl,
      As the post above states, the h1N1 vaccine does not contain squalene, so that’s not a concern in this case. Also, as mentioned above, some doses of H1N1 vaccine will contain thimerosal, but there is considerable scientific evidence (linked to above) that thimerosal does not cause the problems many people ascribe to it.

      Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation going around about this vaccine, but Children’s physicians and others around the world have recommended getting it, saying it’s the best way to protect yourself and your child(ren) against what could be a dangerous illness.

      Thanks for your question.

      Matt

  • Chris Ballard

    Hi,
    I would like to bring to readers attention that the above mentioned email quoted by Cheryl is not written by a health professional. I am led to believe that George Mamouzellos has a Bachelor of Pharmacy but never registered after university, and that at least one Australian Pharmacy Board is investigating his apparently inappropriate use of ‘qualified pharmacist’. It may be appropriate to remove this post or add a disclaimer.
    Cheers,
    Chris Ballard
    Pharmacy Student, Tasmania, Australia

    • http://www.childrenshospital.org Matt Cyr

      Hi Chris,
      Thanks for this information. I think it’s really helpful to our readers.
      Best,
      Matt

  • Cath

    Unfortunately, this George Mamazoullos character, (so-called Bachelor of Pharmacy, Uni of SA) who Cheryl Greaves (in this forum) refers to – is indeed scaring people with his personal opinions about avoiding the swine flu vaccine.
    A family member emailed me, other relatives and friends asking everyone to forward George’s opinion to their loved ones too.
    Its very worrying as vulnerable people may choose not to have the vaccine based on this George’s unprofessional opinion. I encourage everyone to check their facts before they believe any forwarded ‘warnings’ about anything.

  • V

    A ‘qualified pharmasist’ who uses the term ” it’s DANGEROUS AS.”? Really? Such eloquent argument from someone who came in the top 0.1% of his state. Amazing! And so accurate to point out that the compound ThimerosAl causes brain damage that will drop your IQ by exactly 10 points’. Remarkable! I work in one of the largest teaching hospitals on the east coast. My colleagues and I have all had the vaccine and have given thousands of doses as well, all without any reported side effects. Certainly it is healthy to debate the value of vaccination and it is a parents right to question if they or their children should have the vaccine. But please, use informative argument and not scare mongering. This e mail honestly could have been written by an eighth grader!

  • Michael Noble

    Information on George Mamouzellos:
    Im George. I work as a DJ, Wannabe Property Developer, have a Pharmacy degree folded in 4 under my bed, and have recently been given the opportunity to re-launch Time Nightclub as an Electro Dance club, so that finally (FINALLY!) we Darwin people have somewhere fresh and awesome to go where we can party!
    https://secure.bebo.com/Profile.jsp?MemberId=5069220195
    Would you trust your heath and the health of your family to a wannabe Property Developer?

  • Yvonne Hardingham

    If this myspace page is for the correct George Mamouzellos from Darwin, then in 2007 the highest education he claims to have achieved is “High School.” If, in 2009, he has a Pharmacy degree folded in 4 under his bed, I wonder if it actually has his name on it?
    http://au.myspace.com/sikklevendi

  • reasonablehank

    Apologies if my last message had to be removed.

    @Chris Ballard, thank you for your wonderful comment. Can you please contact us:

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=76305414878&ref=ts

    We are very interested in following up your comment, as we believe the information from Mr Mamouzellos is a danger to public health and safety.

  • Karen

    Thank you for the reply.

  • george mamouzellos

    Interesting replies. I suppose that once having done a university degree at a first tier uni, you may only say that you are qualified if you choose to work in that field 100% of the time.

    It amazes me how mindless the public can be. Doctors, professors, pharmacologists, and virologists all say the same thing – this vaccine was rolled out too soon, with too little testing – but so long as people see a reporter on a current events program saying that the swine flu is going to kill them, without any evidence, then they accept it as being absolute truth, and then in turn demand that doctors give them the vaccine. Doctors then cave in to their demands (a little irresponsible, but justifiable) and in the end, what we see is that the media created hysteria actually influences health dispensation in this country.

    Also, keep in mind that the letter that i wrote was deliberately sensationalized, to offest media created hysteria. I find it interesting that people question my sense of responsibility in doing that, while the same is not asked of the media outlets that created this sense of anxiety in the community.

    Oh. In regards to my present choice of career – pharmacy is lovely, but I really dont like having a boss. When you have a boss, you have a job – and to me, the word “job” stands for “Just Over Broke”. Please boss can I go to the bathroom? Please boss can I have this saturday off because my sister is getting married? Please boss can I finish early, so that I can get a haircut? Yuk. Also, when you have a job, you can calculate, year for year, how much money you will make, what kind of house youll have, how many kids you’ll be able to afford, and it takes the fun out of life. Im a smart guy. Id rather take a chance in business, and either do really really well, or really really badly – but at least I did so off my own back. My other businesses are going great. its a lot of fun. Never smiled this much. I like it. :)

    Hope that cleared some stuff up :)

    George Mamouzellos

  • Darlene S

    I was forwarded a copy of Geoges e-mail regarding the H1N1 vaccine. It did make me think and whether his e-mail is correct or not, I still wonder if getting the flu shot is the right thing to do. This vaccine in my opinion has not really been 100% test, how can it be there has not been enough time to see if there is any side effects of getting it. There has been such a rush to get the vaccine made and distributed for use. My concern is giving it to real young children, will it really help them or may it cause other problems down the road that may not show up right now. As for me I am still sitting on the fence about this one, 50% of me says get the shot and 50% says don’t and deal with the flu should I get it. I have had other medication given to me and have not had effects till 2 months after and then had to stop the medication but it was already in my system. I guess it has to be left up to the individual person and their gut feeling about it.

  • Trout

    I just don’t believe you . Lets talk about the charges filed by Dr Len Horowitz with the FBI regarding this disease and the French doctor who expected it to kill 60,000 people and the Australian who claimed this disease was a lab “accident” Lets talk about the symptoms of heavy metal poisoning Lets talk about the governments responsibility to take direction from the people and inform them as to the contents and let the public decide which is not happening now . Lets talk about Dr Ron Paul lets talk about the real threat that big pharmaceutical companies have in the past posed to the public due to negligence and greed and ask ourselves what changed Telling me they grew a conscience won’t work so come up with substantial changes in the industry that brought us Gardasil deaths and thalidomide Talk about the government that allowed ant poison to become a food additive “aspertaime” and then lets talk about Donald Rumfeld’s involvement in that and this vaccine and don’t you dare tell me Mr weapons of mass destruction grew a conscience

  • Predicated Logic

    This is ridiculous,
    My mother just sent me a copy of this George M’s email… sensationalised? For a supposed educated man, bad grammar and hyped up statements with no evidentiary backing is all I read. For an age where ‘evidence based medicine’ is all we are taught at medical school, I’m appalled that this media induced sycophantic dribble is allowed to persuade the minds of those less informed. As for your ‘hundred times more dangerous…’ statement, let me refer you to this article I found after a simple search in Pubmed (I didn’t even have to use boolean operators), Ellis, O., Swine flu vaccine is a “thousandfold” safer than the infection, say experts. BMJ, 2009. 339: p. b3802. As for the wider literature search, there is a possibility for longer term effects, but as with all things, benefit outwieghs risk. At the time being general concensus is that these vaccines are safe (hence the FDA approval) and that heard immunity is still the best option.

  • http://www.ecobites.com Richard D.

    To Predicated Logic. Your comments ‘but as with all things, benefit [sic] outwieghs [sic] risk. At the time being general concensus is that these vaccines are safe (hence the FDA approval) and that [sic] heard [sic] immunity is still the best option….’ You refer to being taught at Medical School and you rubbish George M’s grammar and hyped up message. On reading your unsustantiated claptrap ‘Swine flu vaccine is a “thousandfold” safer than the infection..’ (where is your data to support this arguement) and the fact that the FDA has approved these vaccinations, why don’t you tell the audience here if you are so knowledgable, who holds over 50% of the vaccine patents. Yep, you guessed it, the US Government, the same people who run the FDA. I apologize for highlighting your bad grammar. Your writings are not the hallmark of a supposed professional. Please supply facts next time before you rubbish George M. I think he has valid arguments. Yes, I am a parent of child who suffered a reaction to vaccinations (medically confirmed).

  • amicus curiae

    George M uses slang, so what. The facts are that the vaccine has been approved in less than 3 months, over a usual 2 to 3 years of testing. Saying it is the same as the prior vaccines is also misleading as the viruses in these new vaccines are being retro engineered and that alone is completely different. May I suggest a browse and listening to Fluscam, may educate some folks.
    Re Hannah Polling, hmm? so? if the supposed “rare” mitochondrial disorder is being used as an excuse to cover mercury induced issues..well, why are no tests being offered to pick this issue up, Before! kids are given any vaccines.
    Re Gardasil FDA admitted and knew and still approved it, while knowing that if you already Have the HPV it is likely to Increase!! your cancer risk by 25%. giving it to young girls is insane as the effects seem to have a limited protection too, so waiting till older teens would be wiser. NOT taking it at all is wiser still!
    Giving newborns HepB vaccine is outright Criminal in my opinion. Trust? these companies? NO! Baxter sent out 72KG (no misprint, 72kilograms) of Live H5N1 in what was supposed to be H3N1 seasonal flu vaccine base to europe this year, so? what was that about Bio Hazard 4 labs? quality control? testing for purity? but see there was a whole lot of Gileads Tamiflu about to reach expiry, and a H5N1 pandemic would sure have boosted sales!
    Personally I now have RA die to a cytokine storm caused by a Tetanus jab At one stage I was given 2 weks to live aged 38. and my Neighbour here in Australia was silly enough to get the H1N1 on friday, Doc railroaded him, now…he has been nauseous, unable to eat, has the runs, is feverish and aching, and it started Sunday, the 48hr onset is NOT a coincidence, it is a direct result. he was fine, and no one round here has any cold flu. oh except him ,now!

  • Sarah

    Hi everyone

    I have contacted the Head of the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences at the University of South Australia, Associate Professor Bernard Hughes regarding the email, and this was his response:
    —————-
    Thank you for contacting the University of South Australia regarding Mr Mamouzellos’s email, in which he provides his personal views on the swine flu vaccine.

    Mr Mamouzellos is a graduate of the University, as he states in his email, but is not a member of our staff and has never been so. His views on the vaccine are not supported by fact and are not supported by the University. Assertions made by him in his email are currently being formally investigated, including by Pharmacy Boards.

    I am happy for you to pass on my email to others. Unfortunately, people are passing Mr Mamouzellos’s email on, rather than checking with us, which just perpetuates the problem, therefore I’m very grateful you have made contact with us in this instance.

  • http://seanrasmussen.com Sean Rasmussen

    So George has a personality! That may exclude him from the pharmacy profession or maybe that is why he doesn’t want to be one. If he used ‘typos’, then he certainly qualifies as an Aussie. He has raised an age old concern about vaccines and the real side effects are not known until the responsible profiteers are long gone and hidden behind their folded corporate entities.
    Australia has always been far to ready to take on chemical sprays and poisons banned in far more advanced countries and get used as a dumping ground for the rest of the world. We were quite happy to use our own backyard as a nuclear testing ground for the poms. Then we let the poms knight the prime minister that allowed this crime to happen!
    The opinions about pharmaceuticals will always be backed by governments and big business due to the heavy influence of profits. Sadly, profits come before humanitarian causes for some of these profiteers.
    Who is George? Does it matter? Maybe he has raised a topic that noboby wants to touch. Just take a jab in the arm and let time take its toll.

  • JB

    I am a cancer survivor, diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer October 2008. After tremendously radical radiation and chemotherapy treatment I am still here and at this time seem to have the cancer in remission. On 2 separate occasions I have mentioned to my local GP that it might be a good idea to get the H1N1 injection because of my poor immune system following chemotherapy and also because of the massive damage to the lung caused by the radiation of a 5cm tumour. On both occasions he simply said “it has not been tested well enough at this time”. That is good enough for me not to have it when I am one of the highest risk people in the community. Take from that what you will, but at least my GP is honest enough to dissuade people if he thinks the risk to have the injection is worse than the risk not to have it.

  • Valarie Brown

    I was surprised to hear David Letterman on television say that he would not get the H1N1 vaccination. He asked his audience if they thought it was necessary but I think there was a mixed response. I do not know anyone in Coffs Harbour, Australia, who has had the vaccination or intends to get it, but I am sure there are people who will. I am going to write an article on the subject and email it to all our patients advising against it. What is natural about injecting your body with substances that are toxic and are a burden on the immune system? As for Gardasil, it is criminal to use it at all. Fear is what makes people get these immunisations. They are unnatural and harmful.

  • M. Bacon

    I made my decision long ago,… I will not get vacinated for this flu scare or any other scare. The world has become a golddiggers paradise, the almighty dollar – what will it take to make everyone want/need to buy “my stuff” let’s try a mass outbreak of a new strain of flu that everyone needs the shot for,…. God made the human body to work as a well oiled machine, and included in our blue prints an imune system desiged specifically to protect us. If and when our body fails us, it is our time to return to our place of origin,…
    This is just my opinion, I have no degrees, no proof of anything I only have my faith that God will keep me safe. Death does not scare me, but life does :)
    If you believe, you will be saved, if not,… you can try to save yourself,…

  • Dave

    This Mamouzellos clown is a disgrace. Naturopaths, Chiropractors and purveyors of this and that have an excuse for their ignorance – although most of course are just chancers out to make a buck. Someone with a pharmacy degree should at least have the native intelligence and background to read and consider the evidence. As you apparently have an undergraduate degree and no real world professional experience at all you have no expert standing. If you were honest you would make that clear in your little screed. I will make health care decisions for my family based on expert evidence from people who apply a proper methodology, thanks very much not a wannabe dilettante. Whether you are motivated by a desire for attention or just arrogance – mate, I wish to communicate my profound contempt for you. You will be responsible for preventable death and illness, and I hope that you will be called to account for it.

  • Klint-k

    How many of you would have taken an AID’s vaccine if it could have been possible, even if it was rushed into service?

  • Melissa

    My 3 children all received an H1N1 shot 8 days ago. My oldest (8 years) has a history of cardiac surgery and his brothers ages 6 and 3 have both had some respiratory issues in the past. I would like to understand what kind of immune response they have at this point from the 1 shot now that there are cases of H1N1 in my 8 year olds classroom. From what I have read they really are not protected until the 2nd shot which they can’t have for another couple weeks. Do their bodies have no protection yet? If they were going to react severely to H1N1 would they now maybe react more mildly?

    Also, they get seasonal vaccine every year. I understand there have been strains of different H1N1 in past vaccines. Would prior year shots help protect them from the 2009 H1N1 or does immunity from past years not last into future years?

    • Kristin Cantu

      Hi Melissa,

      The CDC states that children under 9-years-old must have 2 doses of the H1N1 vaccine in order for it to be effective. Flu.gov states that the seasonal vaccine will not help protect a person from the H1N1 virus.

  • Ron-K

    I was listening to Coast-to-Coast radio in the US recently to an interesting discussion about the methods used by the companies to develop the H1N1 vaccine. The normal method takes many months; however the companies have been given the OK to use a new method which in itself is controversial, to bypass the normal way flu vaccines are created in order to meet the demand for the vaccine. Sorry, I do not recall the name of the specific method, but the discussion of it sounded scary. Using the method the time could be reduced from many months to just a few weeks. I’d be pleased to hear from someone who has more specifics about this. The guest on the show appeared to be a well respected researcher and in a position in the industry in which I would believe he was well informed.

  • http://eycandy.blogspot.com/ Andy

    No one is forcing anyone to get the H1N1 vaccine. If you choose not to get it so be it. It’s a free country.

    As far as Karen’s October 4, 2009 at 5:06 pm post… Canada has not banned the vaccine. In fact the turn out is so overwhelming that people are being turned away. At the present time only Canadians in the high risk groups are getting their H1N1 shots.

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  • Mark Hoffman (United Kingdom)

    QUOTE FROM Mr. Moumouzellos POST Has still not been answered
    ” Swine Flu Vaccine manufacturers have asked governments to give them an exemption from lawsuits, in case the vaccine causes harm in people.”

    Is this True????? and if so you really have to ask yourselves why before making a decision on whether to be vaccinated or not

  • Mark Hoffman (United Kingdom)

    QUOTE FROM Mr. Moumouzellos POST Has still not been answered
    ” Swine Flu Vaccine manufacturers have asked governments to give them an exemption from lawsuits, in case the vaccine causes harm in people.”

    Is this True????? and if so you really have to ask yourselves why before making a decision on whether to be vaccinated or not

  • Carolann E. Candy, Canada

    I too received the email from George. Up until that point I was ready, willing and able to receive the injection. I received the regular flu shot every year for the past decade and haven’t had a flu. I worked for SmithKline Beecham for years and came to understand and respect the need for immunization based on past history. I have a daughter who has just become very, very ill for the past 3 years with severe unconrtolled environmental asthma (many, many courses of Prednisone) which I believe may have saved her life, she has had pnumonia and pluresy a number of times. 15 hospitalisations in 24 months. She now has a compromised immune system and I was very keen that she receive the H1N1. Now I am not so certain…George’s email especially regarding the mercury has frightened me considerably and my daughter as well. She has seen several programs on TV and with the onset of this email has now decided (she is 31) that she will not take the vaccine. I am being kept up at nights now with worry due to this. I wish with all my heart (for she is my only child), that I could have my faith restored one way or the other on this issue. I would welcome solid proof particularly on the part where the pharma companies are looking for immunity themselves from future lawsuits. Anything anyone can offer would be welcomed by this very, very worried Mother. George if I find out that you are “just spewing” as sure as I am writing this blog and oceans and a world may lie between us…my apron strings will stretch far and wide to reach for you and you will be plagued with unhappiness and discord for the remainder of your days. Mark my words…Carolann E. Candy, Canada

  • http://www.cadencespecialistdjs.com.au George mamouzellos

    Hi everyone

    My name is George mamouzellos. I wrote the email that is the subject of this topic.

    My email was deliberately crafted. The language I used was intended to ensure maximum virality of that particular email. It was a resounding success.

    Please do not confuse my understanding, nor my ability, with the deliberate “dumbing down” of language in that email.

    What we witnessed in the instance of hte swine flu was an absolute tsunami of media hysteria, that was in no way countered by informed, public, informed debate by the pharmacy proffession. I am personally appalled by the lack of political backbone exhibited by individual pharmacists, and various large pharmacy bodies regarding this issue.

    What we have seen in this country in regards to this issue is appalling. Drug policy was dictated by speculation, and hysteria, rather than hard fact. By beaurocrats, and not health professionals.

    I am not a clown, nor am I a disgrace. Remember the old adage: in the beginning, the truth is ridiculed. Then it is violentlly opposed. Finally, it is self evident.

    And I do indeed have a personality (hence my departure from the pharmacy proffession), and also, other avenues from which to derive an equivalent (or greater) income. What this means is that I may now comment on pharmaceutical issues without fearing for my employment, and may therefore comment in an unbiased way – which we may all agree, is ideal.

    Regards,
    George Mamouzellos

    And someone say hi to Bernie Hughes for me. He always was a nice bloke

  • Lisa

    All I can say is my heart goes out to the people in Europe who are getting the adjuvants with squalene, they’re getting a double whammy. They are receiving a product that wasn’t sufficiently tested which includes a toxic substance, a substance that has very strong correlation to GWS. I personally will not be getting the vaccine for my 13 month old son, I don’t feel it was in testing long enough. Good luck to all the parents out there trying to make the right decision for your child. My best advice is to stop listening to the media, since they are hyping it up too much, and go with your maternal gut instincts, they never steer us wrong.

  • Effie L

    So basically George, what you are saying is that you figured that there was mass media hysteria which infected people…and you simply wished to add more fuel to the fire without thinking of any repercussions, or what effect your words would have on others.
    Good on you.
    Carolann and others, whether you choose to get the vaccine or not, make an informed choice based on facts. Not based on people such as George M. who is just stirring the pot in order to get his own jollies.

    Shame on you George.

  • Carolann E. Candy, Canada

    Thanks for the kind words Effie…another concern regarding the vaccine I have is that Shannon (my daughter) has been on Xolair for the past year…it has to be brought into Canada from the US as it hasn’t been released via regular channels here yet. Concerned in that there are (rare) heart and cancer issues with the Xolair already. It blocks all receptors that give allergic reactions (which is frightening in and of itself). To think that there could be a reaction with the vaccine or any of it’s components and the Xolair has me sick at heart. She’s still decided not to get it and told me this morning that she knew of at least 8 more people who made a decision based on George’s comments. Scary, the written world is a very powerful thing…as is a Mother’s love for her only child!!! I can only pray and hope that she doesn’t contract H1N1 for it is all over Alberta and they have done a terrible job with the roll out here, particularly in the rural areas. One would think that this province with all it’s wealth would have been at the fore, but they are so sadly lacking in all around healthcare here it’s tragic. You have no idea the carry on with the current government’s decision to combine all of the health care agencies now into one…they don’t know whether they are coming or going and the people are paying a very dear price for their ineffectiveness, inability and inane tactics. Even the doctors and clinics are baffled at their inneptness and they are taking the fall out.
    Carolann

  • Joanne Husak

    Hmmm. I tried to leave a comment. My email address which is one of Canada’s largest internet providers @sympatico.ca was not recognized as a valid email address. I think that tells me all I need to know about the credibility of this site and the opinions of the Doctors responding to the questions.

    • http://www.childrenshospital.org Matt Cyr

      Hi Joanne,
      The comments on this site are moderated because we often deal with sensitive information about children and want this to be a respectful environment. If I’m remembering it correctly, your comment included profanity, which isn’t welcome on this site, so it was deleted. If I’m remembering it incorrectly, please re-send it and it will be published.
      Thanks,
      Matt

  • Janet Sheehan

    Dr. McIntosh,
    So it is a coincidence then that out of my six children, the one with autism is also the one with mercury poisoning? Also wondering- should we try to remove the toxic levels of mercury in his system, or is it safe to leave there…would really appreciate hearing your reply, thank you.

  • Sandi

    To the doctors etal.
    As I understand it, there is something in the H1N1 vaccine that helps to stimulate the bodies immune system – sort of rev it into high gear to help build the immunity. This concerns me about what could happen to people who have LUPUS which is an over active immune system that attacks its own body. This is why a LUPUS sufferer cannot take echinacea as it would wreak havok on their body. With the over zealousnous of the drug manufacturers, the government, the media to hype the H1N1 vaccine to the public, I have not heard of any warnings for people with autoimmune system problems like this. What say you?

  • parent of autistic son

    Thimerosal causes autism – it did in the 1930s and 1940s (Pinks Disease). It came back after the pharmacutical companies put thimersol in the shots in the late 1980’s.
    Water can’t have more than .2 micrograms, but one shot has 65.+
    Doc, you need to learn about what mercury characteristics look like and compare those characteristic to autism.

  • Lewis Chin

    Why take the shot when it’s just another flu and flu viruses mutate anyway?

  • Lewis Chin

    Why take the shot when it's just another flu and flu viruses mutate anyway?

  • Pingback: Swine Flu – Real World Answers Part II « Yummy Bubby | Nutrition, Health and Education for Parents of 0-8 Year Olds()

  • george mamouzellos

    So. It is now monday, the 15th of march, 2010.

    The swine flu seems to have effectively dissappeared, for all intents and purposes. Its virulence, and deadly capacity has been shown, through evidence, to be a lie.

    Wolfgang Wodarg, the chair of the Health Committee in The European Council, has stated publically, that the swine flu “pandemic” is “one of the greatest medical scandals of the century”.

    This time, people, I get to say “I told you so”. Google my name, and you will get about two and a half thousand hits. Half of them, written months ago, think that I am insane, irresponsible, or both. The other half applaud my stance. This is, of course, irrelevant; what matters, people, is that I was, in fact, correct. Other health practitioners around the globe echo my views. Common sense, for once, is backed up by hard science – this pandemic was false. The billions spent on unproven vaccines were wasted; the aftermath of this horrible decision will be borne not only by the taxpayers who purchased the vaccine by proxy, but by those who took it and will suffer severe medical misadventure as a result.

    I have never before felt such loathing towards those whom I once considered my peers.

  • george mamouzellos

    So. It is now monday, the 15th of march, 2010.

    The swine flu seems to have effectively dissappeared, for all intents and purposes. Its virulence, and deadly capacity has been shown, through evidence, to be a lie.

    Wolfgang Wodarg, the chair of the Health Committee in The European Council, has stated publically, that the swine flu “pandemic” is “one of the greatest medical scandals of the century”.

    This time, people, I get to say “I told you so”. Google my name, and you will get about two and a half thousand hits. Half of them, written months ago, think that I am insane, irresponsible, or both. The other half applaud my stance. This is, of course, irrelevant; what matters, people, is that I was, in fact, correct. Other health practitioners around the globe echo my views. Common sense, for once, is backed up by hard science – this pandemic was false. The billions spent on unproven vaccines were wasted; the aftermath of this horrible decision will be borne not only by the taxpayers who purchased the vaccine by proxy, but by those who took it and will suffer severe medical misadventure as a result.

    I have never before felt such loathing towards those whom I once considered my peers.

  • John

    Well, I can appreciate the hardlined position taken by the staff here pledging their solemn allegiance to stabbing kids with needles – with NO REGARD given to the question of safety time and again being raised. Its obvious that monetary considerations especially in time of economic distress do indeed prevail.

    So lets take a look directly at some of the evidence (research) itself. In fact – the source of the CDC’s research – I mean that has to be straight from the horses mouth – right? We cant – the fraudster has left the country stealing all the research grants with him while the credibility of his “research” was being vigorously investigated.

    http://vaccinenewsdaily.com/news/212354-autism-study-researcher-suspected-of-misappropriating-2-million

    By the way – Im not your typical 37 year old who has nothing to do but scan the web for pro/anti vaccination diatribes…. at least not until my son, who at 1 year received MMR/dpt vaccine. Yeah, hes now 4 1/2 years old, and still hasnt spoken a god damned thing. At 8 months – his first word was PLEASE. We taught him to ask for something and he would say PLEASE. Then he learned to say “mommy”, then “daddy”….. Then I would say within 30 days of the vaccination blitz, his words began to be sputters and blabs – and then nothing. He can point really good. Fast forward to today – hes 4 1/2 – and not the same little twerp that filled our ears with music.

    I’ll leave you with this – to all those parents that have kids running thru-out the house screaming yelling and playing with glee – I know that it’d be nice to have some peace and quiet sometimes….. but do be careful for what you wish for….. because sometimes you may find yourself begging to have a 3 ring circus in your living room – even if for just a minute.

  • John

    Well, I can appreciate the hardlined position taken by the staff here pledging their solemn allegiance to stabbing kids with needles – with NO REGARD given to the question of safety time and again being raised. Its obvious that monetary considerations especially in time of economic distress do indeed prevail.

    So lets take a look directly at some of the evidence (research) itself. In fact – the source of the CDC's research – I mean that has to be straight from the horses mouth – right? We cant – the fraudster has left the country stealing all the research grants with him while the credibility of his “research” was being vigorously investigated.

    http://vaccinenewsdaily.com/news/212354-autism-

    By the way – Im not your typical 37 year old who has nothing to do but scan the web for pro/anti vaccination diatribes…. at least not until my son, who at 1 year received MMR/dpt vaccine. Yeah, hes now 4 1/2 years old, and still hasnt spoken a god damned thing. At 8 months – his first word was PLEASE. We taught him to ask for something and he would say PLEASE. Then he learned to say “mommy”, then “daddy”….. Then I would say within 30 days of the vaccination blitz, his words began to be sputters and blabs – and then nothing. He can point really good. Fast forward to today – hes 4 1/2 – and not the same little twerp that filled our ears with music.

    I'll leave you with this – to all those parents that have kids running thru-out the house screaming yelling and playing with glee – I know that it'd be nice to have some peace and quiet sometimes….. but do be careful for what you wish for….. because sometimes you may find yourself begging to have a 3 ring circus in your living room – even if for just a minute.

  • Anonymous

    The National Autism Foundation says this;
    …… Recent studies have confirmed the association between the use of thimerosal and autism has moved from “biologically plausible” to a “biological certainty” (Boyd Haley). Recent work by Dr. Mark Geier and David Geier in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons and Experimental Biology and Medicine have shown strong epidemiological evidence for a causal relationship between thimerosal and neurodevelopmental disorders in children.
    http://www.nationalautismassociation.org/thimerosal.php

  • Grogros69

    yes it is true. look up the details of the contractual details between the US government ad vaccine makers. i wont do it for you (i have other things to do with the 45 seconds it will take me to find the link). take your future into your own hands and find it yourself.

  • Georgemamouzellos

    my name is george mamouzellos. it has been about a year. a few thousand women have miscarried because of the swine flu vaccine. a few dozen died outright. tens of thousands got the flu even AFTER having the vaccine. hundreds of millions were spent. the future human cost is as yet uncalculated. the WHO is under investigation, as are many doctors who supported its distribution. the reputation of vaccination as a form of therapy is in shambles. in short, i was right.

    so, o mighty childrens hospital boston staff, what have you to say. is it in you to apologize, or will you gloss over your gross misconduct, and pass it off as “one of those things that we couldnt have known” – except that you should have. because i did.

    i suspect the latter, personally.

    i would glory in being right, except that it took the deaths of innocents to prove it so. you disgusting, vile creatures.

  • Jeffreyjr

    “no on knows why.” (flu vaccine and GB). That does not inspire confidence. We wouldn’t know if thimerosal was linked to autism die to the weak studies. God, I hope you’re not recommending kids to get an anthrax vaccine.

  • Ramgbs

     Dr. Mcintosh,sure knows how to tell little or BIG ones especially about gbs and the h1n1 vaccine .There have been many cases of gbs since 1976 and especially in 2009 to date . They the mfg.s  like glaxosmithkline and dr.s like Mcitosh would like u to believe them  but they do not take respsability for the advers effect gbs from squalene or some other adjuvent? not very nice to read this since i came down with gbs two wk,s after the h1n1 shot in nov,2010. i am still in recover 19 mth,s later so no thanks to dr,s like him.  bob martin  ramgbs.wordpress.com