Not normally one to write about politics or current events, I couldn’t help but hop on the H1N1 discussion. At work, I’ve somehow landed myself the position of Co-Chair of the Workplace Safety and Health Committee (yes, me, I know) and naturally, the topic of H1N1 and subsequent vaccination has been a bit of a hot potato in recent meetings. I’ve found myself very much in the minority when I decided to sit in at lunchtimes and continue to watch Torchwood, while everybody else bundled into their vehicles to hit the nearest vaccination “clinic”.
Shopping centres around the city have been transformed into mass vaccination hotspots; on Friday afternoon I had to make my way past a full news crew and endless winding queues just to be able to buy a book. We were told inititially that everybody should be vaccinated, that Canada had bought more than an ample supply of the vaccine, and there was most definitely enough for everyone. My coworkers started coming in with sore arms, proud of their premature innoculations, and satisfied that their families were now safe from the flu. But then the news started to turn. People not in one of the “at risk” categories were encouraged to hold off and allow those more needy to go ahead first. Doctors’ offices were packed with floods of people. And strange reports started coming in from around the world.
Having been raised on Star Trek and the X Files, any time the government decided to encourage mass injections of something into the entire world’s deltoids was always going to peak my curiosity. And being on the Health and Safety Committee, it was only right that I did my part to educate myself on the possible risks, right? I started seeing Facebook groups popping up on “Protesting the H1N1 Vaccination”, news articles from around the world on how the vaccine was never properly clinically tested – “so far, according to the Health Canada website, there have been no tests on children or those over 60 – for either vaccine. Instead, the federal government is relying largely on results from what Health Canada calls a “mock” vaccine based on an entirely different strain of flu.” The ingredients of the vaccine seem further cause for concern – the biological index of that vaccine includes chicken embryos, formaldehyde, squalene adjuvant, thiomersal (mercury derivative), polysorbate 80 (preservative) and aluminum adjuvant among others listed on the Biotechnology Information Institute website.
And then came the post-vaccination effects: the recently married cheerleader who can now only walk backwards following a freak reaction to the swine flu vaccine (I couldn’t bring myself to watch the video). The jab being linked to 25 deaths in the USA after a letter from the Health Protection Agency, the official body that oversees public health, telling neurologists to be on the alert for a brain disorder that could be triggered by the vaccine. And in a recent study published in the journal Neurotoxicology just last month, the researchers found that primates injected with a single vaccine containing thimerosal suffered significant neurological impairment when compared with those who received a saline solution injection, or no injection at all. Thanks to Marie for the link to that one.
It’s hard, when there’s so much conflicting information flooding the internet, to really know what to do, and it really comes down to a personal choice involving weighing out the pros and cons, and deciding which makes you more comfortable. Or uncomfortable. Of course, statistically you’re more likely to get swine flu than you are to get some horrible mutation/disease/die from the vaccine. And fear plays an enormous part in the decision. Which are you more afraid of? For me, it’s an easy decision. If I’m going to get ill, I’d rather it be from a natural strain of the flu than from a one in however many chance a man-made, untested “solution” going wrong. When I was a kid, people didn’t care about hand sanitisers or breathing masks or worrying what they might catch from being on an bus for 20 minutes on the way home from work. There wasn’t such thing as “correct coughing” into the crook of your arm. You put your hand in front of your mouth and nobody would bat an eyelid. Today, we live in such a state of fear that we’ll blindly inject things into our body if the newspapers and TV make us all afraid enough of H1N1.
Fire me from the Health and Safety Committee, but I’m not getting the H1N1 vaccine. I’ve spent too many hours watching shows that question the government, and recently, doing my research on the flipside of the H1N1 vaccination coin. If you’re debating getting the shot, I’d strongly encourage anyone to make sure you’re fully informed before succumbing and falling prey to the mass hysteria taking over today’s world. I’m going to close with one of my favourite songs right now, which just so happens to touch on the topic of not being controlled or forced into anything – and also just happens to sound kind of like the Doctor Who theme.