Fall Swine Flu Vaccine Campaign Being Planned

July 21, 2009
Category: Uncategorized

One million Americans have been affected by the H1N1 “swine flu” virus. Now HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced the US is planning for a school- and community center-based vaccination program to administer the swine flu vaccine. Because this new flu strain appears to hit older children and young adults harder, Secretary Sebelius announced that HHS is seeking partnerships with schools as more traditional vaccination sites.

The primary question, of course, is whether or not the program will be mandatory. We believe that the question of vaccination is a medical decision best left to the child’s parents and doctor, and that injections are best administered in settings that are well equipped medically should there be an adverse effect. Secretary Sebelius has announced that consent forms are being prepared so that “parents are not blindsided,” but most schools already require vaccination as a condition for enrollment, so it is not clear whether swine flu vaccination really would be subject to consent. Read the AAHF position paper on mandatory vaccination.
A CDC flu expert, Dr. Tim Uyeki, has published a report in the CDC publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report discussing the role of obesity in why some infected with swine flu become seriously ill. Nine out of ten seriously ill Michigan patients with swine flu were obese. Three of the ten died. If obesity proves to be a significant risk factor for serious illness and death from swine flu, as it would appear, perhaps vaccinating all Americans is unnecessary. Mass vaccinations themselves have an inherent safety risk—no vaccine is either 100% safe or 100% effective.
It is critical that all Americans—particularly parents—educate themselves about the potential safety risks of the swine flu vaccine. Do the benefits outweigh the risks? Some children suffer lifelong adverse effects from vaccinations. We believe that mandatory vaccination is not good medicine, and that it is every parent’s right to make an informed decision about what is best medically for his or her child.

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