Advocation for Self-Education

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.

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7 comments

  1. Awesome post, doll.

    I’m not a big fan of flu vaccines. The one year I got the standard flu shot was the year that I had the worst flu ever.

    I’m of the mind that if my body can fight it off, I’ll let it. Like you, I’d rather get sick of natural causes. I’d rather build natural antibodies and just continue to wash my hands. People get so freaked out over any type of bacteria or germs, but those things help protect us against getting sick if we’re exposed to them. It’s why my mom was such a big supporter of homo milk and playing in the dirt. 🙂

  2. This is such a personal decision- everyone has to make up their own minds & pull together the best information they can get. If you’re not comfortable, there is no way you should get it in a million years!!

    At the same time, there is no way that we can survive financially if I get sick and can’t go into work for a month. The only thing that’s in the vaccine that people react to are the preserving agents- and we’ve all had them before in all the vaccines we have in general. If you get a hepatitis shot because of travel (*jabs elbow* lol), a flu shot, a tetnus shot you’re taking the same risks. They all use the preserves everyone is all freaked out about in the solutions they inject you with. We just get hyped up about this specific one because it’s on the news.

    What bothers me is the double standard. We’re upset about THIS vaccine but not talking about vaccines in general. We’re scared about THIS flu, and not talking about how people die from it every year. There is no context to these discussions in the media. The only difference is that this year we’re far more likely to come into contact with someone who has the flu than we would in other years. Some of those people will have H1N1, some will have the normal flu, and I bet others will have an as of yet undiscovered strain too. Hopefully, with or without a vaccine, we’re all strong enough to get through this season and to respect everyone’s choices along the way.

    1. “The only thing that’s in the vaccine that people react to are the preserving agents”

      This is probably wrong lol I meant, what people freak out about are the preserving agents in them.

  3. One of the reasons I’m pretty much fine with the thought of getting the hepatitis vaccinations is that those have been available for years and went through all the clinical tests vaccines should before being released on the masses. They’ve undergone all the tests possible and we don’t hear anything in the news about those vaccines causing strange mutations, diseases and people dying within days of taking them. It’s been proven safe and proven tested. This vaccine is so controversial because it wasn’t proven safe before it was released. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence we start seeing all these youtube videos and reading all these horror stories in international news headlines about “freak reactions” and deaths. If a vaccine has been properly tested and proven safe, and I’m going somewhere where I’ll be at risk for hepatitis, then of course I’m going to protect myself. Because I know the vaccines for that have undergone all the proper clinical tests. But if it’s for the flu, I don’t think it’s worth risking some horrible reaction/disorder/death for something that hasn’t even been tested properly with no clinical evidence of it even being safe.

  4. I’m torn on the H1N1 vaccine. I usually sign myself and my son up for whatever vaccinations the Dr. recommends, but this one is still too new to me. I’ve seen all the freaky things and they are just too weird…plus, Jordan was home all last week with a fever so I kind of feel like he had it already. Glad I’m not the only one semi-against it!

  5. Pingback: Pandemic «

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