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  • Mandatory flu shots in NYC draw ire of some parents

    The New York City Department of Health voted on Wednesday to approve Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s bill to mandate annual flu and pneumococcus shots for preschool and daycare kids.

    “This mandate will help protect the health of young children, while reducing the spread of influenza in New York City,” the Health Department said in a statement.

    A group of concerned parents, however, is protesting the requirement, which goes into effect in 30 days.

    The Autism Action Network objects to the shots based on what they say is the ineffectiveness of the flu vaccine, and the possibility of side effects, some of them serious.

    Flu vaccine’s effectiveness varies from year to year and from person to person. Last year’s flu shot was about 64 percent effective in children and 27 percent effective in people 65 and older, according to the CDC. (The vaccine was almost totally ineffective in seniors against one particular flu variety, flu type A H3N2).

    John Gilmore, executive director of the Autism Action Network, says that parents and their doctors should be making “an informed decision” to vaccinate kids against the flu, not the city.

    He told the Brooklyn Eagle on Tuesday, “With any vaccine there are risks involved. There are allergic reactions, you can get the disease itself, and the flu shot in particular is known to cause Guillain-Barré syndrome.”

    Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare disorder in which a person’s own immune system damages their nerve cells, according to the CDC, which acknowledges that there is a very slight risk of developing the syndrome after an influenza vaccination.

    Gilmore said parents were also concerned about the addition of mercury to the flu vaccine. Unlike other vaccines, about half of the influenza vaccine produced in the U.S. contains mercury in the form of thimerosal, a disinfectant.

    “In the U.S. we’re using obsolete technology for the flu vaccine, which is multi-dose vials containing mercury disinfectant,” Gilmore said. A child receiving this version of the flu vaccine “gets at least 25 micrograms of mercury, a whopping dose for a kid. Given the typical 32-pound three-year-old, that’s 17 times as much mercury as the maximum limit for a full-grown adult.”

    Gilmore did not draw a link between thiomersal and the development of autism, an idea that once held sway among parents of autistic children. Mainstream scientists have generally debunked any connection.

    Mercury is known to be highly toxic to humans, especially youngsters. It can attack the heart, lungs, immune system and central nervous system, and lower children’s IQ. A large percentage of mercury in the North East’s environment comes from coal-fired plants, and residents are warned not to regularly eat fish from New York State rivers and streams.

    While some research indicates that thiomersal exits the body faster than other forms of mercury, potentially causing less harm, the FDA says it is in discussions with the manufacturers of influenza vaccines to reduce or eliminate its use in flu shots. (Some formulations of the vaccine along with FluMist, which is inhaled, do not contain the disinfectant.)


    More at link
    May we raise children who love the unloved things - the dandelion, the worm, the spiderlings.
    Children who sense the rose needs the thorn and run into rainswept days the same way they turn towards the sun...
    And when they're grown and someone has to speak for those who have no voice,
    may they draw upon that wilder bond, those days of tending tender things and be the one.

  • #2
    More Bloomberg nanny-statism.

    If the flu vaccine actually worked, if it wasn't a flat-out joke, this would be worthwhile. Unfortunately, it doesn't work. It can't work. You have a better chance of getting struck by lightning while you are winning the lottery than you do of the flu vaccine working.

    Bloomberg, as per usual, has just jumped on the latest medical fad so that he can tell New Yorkers how to live their lives.
    It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
    In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
    Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
    Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

    Comment


    • #3
      I get the shot because Mr. Snaps is part of the "vulnerable" population and the HMO we both belong to thinks that I might infect him (he also has the shot every year so this doesn't make much sense).

      This year I decided to do a little research on the topic. Imagine my surprise to find that the vulnerable populations (very young, very old, people with certain chronic conditions) are seemingly unaffected by all this flu hype. Mortality rates are not changed in flu vaccinated populations. Morbidity rates (you get infected but you survive) seem less conclusive than I had been led to believe.

      Most of the death caused by flu isn't caused by flu, it's caused by secondary infections like pneumonia but vulnerable people seem to get pneumonia regardless. Healthy people who get the flu don't normally progress to secondary infections (although some always do).

      I have never had the flu or if I did, the disease was so mild that I wasn't aware of it. Mr. Snaps has had it twice during our marriage, once before the vaccination and once after. Since I haven't had it, I've obviously been exposed to it and have some defense.

      I guess I would also question this one if I had small kids. Although no one likes a sick kid, it does seem like kids build better immunity after suffering through a mild illness compared to the temporary immunity they get with many (but not all) vaccinations. A healthy child should be able to survive the flu with no complications. I'd probably take that risk with a healthy kid.
      "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

      Comment


      • #4
        I've had the flu twice in my life, both times immediately following a flu shot mandated by our high school. I was hardly the only one: fully a quarter of the school population was stricken with the flu within a week of the mandatory shots the second time around. The third year that they tried to mandate it, the school population revolted, and the school was eventually forced to back down. Not one soul on campus got the flu that year. Bear ye in mind that this was a boarding school, so we all were in about as close contact as it is possible without actually either being related or else sexually active with one another: we bathed in the same place, we ate together in the same room at the same time, nine to a table, obviously we were in classes together, morning assemblies, etc. We all touched the same doorknobs, handled the same food vessels, drank from the same water fountains, etc. If there were ever a breeding ground for a virus to go ... well, viral, a boarding school (more so even than a college campus) is it.

        It was only later that I found out how they create this "vaccine" in the first place, and I literally burst out laughing when I found out. That falls somewhere between "ridiculous joke" and "cruel hoax."
        It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
        In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
        Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
        Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

        Comment


        • #5
          Well, it's nowhere as fool-proof or effective as the whitecoats tell us. I'm generally in favor of vaccinations. Mortality or disability rates for kids getting pertussis or polio are no joke. On the other hand, getting measles or mumps is not normally a problem for most kids while those things can be severe problems for adults who have lost their vaccination immunity.

          You just have to guess right, if you are a parent. It does seem ridiculous that infant and childhood vaccinations are bundled together so often. That can't be good. As an adult, I had to get a boatload of prophylactic vaccinations for a bunch of obscure stuff when I worked in clinical lab settings doing reportable disease testing.

          They were oddly careful to space out the various vaccinations. I was told that doing a bunch at once caused worse side-effects and may not be as effective (I wanted the whole thing over in 8 weeks). It took me a solid year to do all the ones I had to have. (I was not getting a shot every day or every week during that time, I don't want to give the wrong impression).
          "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm not at all "anti-vaccine." I don't buy any of the tinfoilery about vaccines causing autism and whatnot. I will certainly agree that the tiny amounts of mercury involved in some vaccines could probably be better replaced with something else, but it's definitely not enough to turn me off of vaccines. My father nearly died of mumps as a young adult (obviously before MMR was a regular childhood routine). I'm all for vaccinating against any sort of "dread disease," obviously so long as it's voluntary and makes sense.

            The thing with the flu vaccine is that it's just wholly illogical. It makes absolutely no sense from an immunity standpoint. May as well inoculate against chicken pox in hopes that it will somehow stop small pox. It's just loony.
            It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
            In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
            Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
            Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

            Comment


            • #7
              So would anyone's attitude towards the nanny-statism of New Bloomberg City change if the flu vaccine actually worked?

              School children need certain immunizations and shots before they are allowed to register for school and it's all mandatory… but they're for things like ruebella and who knows what else that no one gets any more. Why don't people rail against those forced applications of medicine? Technically it's still government telling us what to do with our bodies, which goes against many of our beliefs.

              So why not fight those, too?
              “Any sufficiently advanced capitalism is indistinguishable from rent seeking.” ~ =j

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Tom Servo View Post
                So would anyone's attitude towards the nanny-statism of New Bloomberg City change if the flu vaccine actually worked?

                School children need certain immunizations and shots before they are allowed to register for school and it's all mandatory… but they're for things like ruebella and who knows what else that no one gets any more. Why don't people rail against those forced applications of medicine? Technically it's still government telling us what to do with our bodies, which goes against many of our beliefs.

                So why not fight those, too?
                We have a big outbreak of Whooping Cough (Pertussis) here in our county from kids not being immunized.
                May we raise children who love the unloved things - the dandelion, the worm, the spiderlings.
                Children who sense the rose needs the thorn and run into rainswept days the same way they turn towards the sun...
                And when they're grown and someone has to speak for those who have no voice,
                may they draw upon that wilder bond, those days of tending tender things and be the one.

                Comment


                • #9
                  If it's effective and safe then I don't have a problem with it being mandatory due to the contagion factor. I've never gotten a flu shot, but I think if I worked in a school I would.
                  Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
                  Robert Southwell, S.J.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by phillygirl View Post
                    If it's effective and safe then I don't have a problem with it being mandatory due to the contagion factor.
                    From what I've seen, it isn't.
                    I'm beginning to wonder if there isn't some lobbying group associated with the vaccination mfgrs.

                    I've never gotten a flu shot, but I think if I worked in a school I would.
                    Be my guest, but I would refuse.

                    to edit: I am not opposed to vaccinations. Personally, I was part of the largest trial in the history of medicine, the Salk polio vaccination trials in '54. I still have the certificates given out for the participants of that trial.

                    In '52 a neighbor/good friend contracted polio and his parents were required by the Tulsa board of health to report anyone who had been in contact with him. My sister and I were named. We were required to get a gamma globulin injection because at that time it was the only thing on the market that might prevent polio onset.

                    So, let me be straight.
                    The Salk vaccine, and later the Sabin oral, worked.
                    The incidence of polio (3 types) was virtually eliminated within 5 years.

                    This isn't even close to the flu vaccination.
                    Last edited by Gramps; Friday, December 13, 2013, 4:56 PM.
                    Robert Francis O'Rourke, Democrat, White guy, spent ~78 million to defeat, Ted Cruz, Republican immigrant Dark guy …
                    and lost …
                    But the Republicans are racist.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Got mine again this year. Nothing to see here...move along....
                      If it pays, it stays

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tom Servo View Post
                        So would anyone's attitude towards the nanny-statism of New Bloomberg City change if the flu vaccine actually worked?

                        School children need certain immunizations and shots before they are allowed to register for school and it's all mandatory… but they're for things like ruebella and who knows what else that no one gets any more. Why don't people rail against those forced applications of medicine? Technically it's still government telling us what to do with our bodies, which goes against many of our beliefs.

                        So why not fight those, too?
                        I think there's kind of a collective understanding that flu shots don't have the same efficacy as vaccinations against polio or chicken pox. Everybody knows someone who had a flu shot and then got the flu. There's no one vaccination that prevents all types so some vaccinated people still get sick. Some even get sick from the same strain in the shot simply because they didn't develop enough of a protective immune response.

                        I don't think the push-back against flu shots is seriously connected to some anti-government sentiment; it's mostly just an acknowledgement that this particular vaccination doesn't work as well as some others and people are more comfortable risking a bout of the flu than they are risking some other diseases.
                        "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Tom Servo View Post
                          So would anyone's attitude towards the nanny-statism of New Bloomberg City change if the flu vaccine actually worked?

                          School children need certain immunizations and shots before they are allowed to register for school and it's all mandatory… but they're for things like ruebella and who knows what else that no one gets any more. Why don't people rail against those forced applications of medicine? Technically it's still government telling us what to do with our bodies, which goes against many of our beliefs.

                          So why not fight those, too?
                          IF it actually worked and wasn't a medical joke, then it becomes a question of whether or not it's a valid public health concern. That gets a good bit more gray. Small pox or polio? Not much of a question there. Flu? Less so. As Ginger pointed out, the actual mortality rates that are directly caused by flu are relatively low; most of the people who "die of the flu" already had at least a toe in the grave, if not a whole foot.



                          Medical ethics hypothetical: if it were possible to inoculate against all illnesses, from mumps and small pox to polio to flu to even the common cold, should we do that as a society? An end to all illness as we know it?

                          The answer is "probably not." Human beings still need to keep their immune systems strong, and the only way to do that is to have it challenged periodically. Eliminate all illnesses and you eliminate those challenges.
                          It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
                          In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
                          Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
                          Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Tom Servo View Post
                            So would anyone's attitude towards the nanny-statism of New Bloomberg City change if the flu vaccine actually worked?

                            School children need certain immunizations and shots before they are allowed to register for school and it's all mandatory… but they're for things like ruebella and who knows what else that no one gets any more. Why don't people rail against those forced applications of medicine? Technically it's still government telling us what to do with our bodies, which goes against many of our beliefs.

                            So why not fight those, too?
                            You raise a good point. It looks like there is a social pragmatism with regards to vaccinations.


                            How strange that libertarians are the ones to be ahead of the curve on this.

                            http://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/...-vaccinations/
                            "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."

                            -John Locke

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