2009 H1N1 Influenza -- Just the Facts: Vaccine Essentials

John G. Bartlett, MD

Disclosures

November 23, 2009

In This Article

The Antivaccine Movement

An article published in the New York Times on October 15 reviewed the debate about the swine flu vaccine (and vaccines in general), noting that:

  • Barbara Loe Fisher, President of the National Vaccine Information Center (an advocacy group that opposes vaccines in general), noted that this influenza has "breathed new life" into its cause.

  • A CBS News poll last week found that only 46% of people plan to get the swine flu vaccine.

  • Michael Angelo from eVitamins.com reported sales of 17,565 vitamins that are claimed to protect against H1N1 influenza.

To be fair, the report notes that the antivaccine movement "has little traction" in the United States, where over 90% of children get routine vaccines. Some claim that the H1N1 vaccine contains adjuvants, which is not true. Health authorities emphasize that the methods to produce the H1N1 vaccine are identical to those used for seasonal flu, and the testing to date has shown no safety concerns. Particularly sobering is the record showing that about 25% of people hospitalized with the flu require ICU care and 7% of those hospitalized for H1N1 die. (Steinhauer J. Swine flu shots revive a debate about vaccines. The New York Times. October 15, 2009:A1.)

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