The H1N1 flu has arrived and Internet rumors about the flu and vaccine have also gone viral. After I wrote a blog on why I am giving my kids the H1N1 pandemic vaccine 2 weeks ago, I was shocked at the television clips that were sent to me by my friends from “experts” on why the vaccine was not safe. Bill Maher even told pregnant women, who perhaps are the most high risk group, not to get the vaccine. There was a lot of VERY wrong information so I am here to set the record straight. Please visit my previous blogs on the H1N1 vaccine but here is some glaring misinformation that is being reported.
You can catch the flu from the flu shot?
Fear: You cannot catch the flu from the vaccine, especially an injection, as it is a killed virus. The flu mist is a live attenuated virus that may cause cold like symptoms for a few days. It can also shed flu viral particles so the mist is only for healthy people ages 2-49. Asthmatics that are at high risk for H1N1 must have the injection vaccine.
The H1N1 vaccine has high levels of adjuvants/poisons?
No, neither the swine flu vaccine nor seasonal flu vaccines in this country contain immune-boosting agents called adjuvants. The government ordered adjuvants in case the new H1N1 vaccine did not produce a high enough immune response. Actually, tests showed the immune response was much better than expected, so the adjuvants are not used. This is the number one fallacy that I have seen spread on the Internet.
Some have concerns about a preservative called thimerosil (a form of mercury) that has been linked in the popular press to autism but not proven in medical research. If you still have concerns, the flu mist does NOT contain thimerosil and some of the injectable vaccines will also be thimerosil free.
H1N1 is a mild disease, so I don’t need the vaccine.
Fact for some, but I have some real fear: Yes, it is a mild disease for most, so some may choose not to get the vaccine, especially those born before 1957 as they may already have immunity from earlier flu. However, this flu is causing a higher proportion of death in the pediatric as well as pregnant population.