Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Another Side Effect of Swine Flu Vaccine

Before we're accused of alarmism, let's emphasize that this Yahoo/Reuters story is about a flu vaccine that was reportedly banned from the U.S. last year. This is not the vaccine you may have had, or let your children have, this winter.

I don't know whether Kate Kelland remembers three more fun facts about swine flu:

1. In the 1970s, the swine flu vaccine used in the United States was linked to fast-growing malignant tumors that appeared at or near the site of the vaccine, metastasized, and caused several deaths from cancer.

2. In the 1970s, in my part of the world, the folklore that circulated was that there were two different viruses, swine flu and something much milder called "sore throat flu"...but if you had "sore throat flu" you were immunized to swine flu. Well, blessed be that myth, because my brother and I had "sore throat flu," were sick as puppies for about a week, but didn't have to have the dangerous swine flu vaccine. During the last two winters before this one, when swine flu resurged, I was exposed and had a much milder rerun of "sore throat flu" (spent half a day in bed), raising suspicions. I checked. Yes, it is the same virus. Those of us who had "sore throat flu" are those who are relatively resistant to swine flu.

3. If "sore throat flu" was swine flu, then the claims made by some pork-avoidant people, that only pork eaters have to worry about swine flu, are bunk. On the other hand, these people did observe a strong correlation (usually in small population samples) between frequent consumption of pork and severe cases of swine flu. This correlation still needs more formal research than it ever received.