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Why I Won't Be Getting the Swine Flu Shot

Posted by libhom Sunday, October 18, 2009

Maui Girl has an excellent blog. In it, she legitimately criticized some inaccurate information about the swine flu vaccine from a Bill Maher wisecrack.

(Note: I refuse to stop calling it swine flu in order to pander to the irrationality of Jewish and Muslim religious extremists who throw tantrums over it.)

However, the decision whether or not to take the swine flu vaccine should be a complex one with many factors involved. One factor that isn't taken into effect is the fact that by avoiding the swine flu, you are taking the long term risk of having a weaker immune system.

The main reason why this round of swine flu is not effecting the elderly as badly as the younger is most of them already had swine flu in the past. In addition to the pandemic of the early 20th century, there were smaller swine flu outbreaks in the 50s and 60s. Our immune system works on a form of experience based knowledge. The body can quickly produce antibodies to foreign substances that have already proven harmful to the body in the past. That's why people tend to only get the measles once. The influenza is a highly evolved parasite which changes its genetic code fairly often. So, past exposure doesn't prevent infection, but it dramatically reduces the time it takes for the body to mount a sufficient immune response.

If you try too hard to avoid the flu in general or the swine flu in particular, you are taking an unacknowledged risk of getting very sick in the future. That risk is an important one to consider.

Insurance companies and HMOs don't care about long term risks. They just don't want to provide acute care now. Their emphasis on short term profits may influence the corporate media, but you shouldn't let it influence you.

Another risk is that many of the swine flu vaccine titers have mercury in them. The level of mercury in some vaccine titers is so high that the State of Washington is changing its standards so that pregnant women can legally get those shots. (Pregnant women are a high risk group to die of swine flu.)

The culprit is the antibacterial additive thimerosal, which is found in multidose vials. A single shot probably isn't worth panicking over, but there's a catch. People tend to get vaccinated a lot more than they used to. Even worse, we are experiencing increased levels of mercury poisoning from our addiction to coal power both directly in the air we breathe, and indirectly in the water we drink and the fish we eat. Adding to our mercury load is a significant risk. If you are getting vaccinated for swine flu, avoiding thimerosal and multidose vials is in your best interest.

Given the risks involved in avoiding the swine flu, I'm going to avoid the vaccine instead. The risk of death is low for this strain of the swine flu in general, and there are several reasons why I'm in a low risk group.

1) I'm middle aged.

2) I don't have any of the chronic conditions such as asthma and multiple sclerosis which are the prerequisites in middle aged swine flu deaths nearly all the time.

3) I'm not a caregiver for anyone in a high risk group.

4) It is physically impossible for me to become pregnant.

If my circumstances were different, I might very well get the swine flu shot. The important thing here is to become educated and make a rational decision based on your personal circumstances. There is no one size fits all answer to this. (Of course, one size fits all hats and gloves never fit me either.)



  1. Very good post. I haven't decided if I'll get the shot yet. I work among a lot of college aged students, and so I'm at risk of being exposed to it, however, I don't think I've ever had any strain of the flu in my life. I just must not be susceptible to it. I have had pneumonia a couple of times though when I was young and I did have asthma as a child (I outgrew it). So, because of that, I might decide to get it. In fact, I've only gotten the seasonal flu vaccine once, and only because they were offering it for free and some friends talked me into going with them. They said since I'd never had the vaccine before I might exhibit mild flu-like symptoms. I didn't have any symptoms, at all. It was like my immune system was like "WTH was that? Is that all you got?!" LOL

    The vaccine isn't available here yet anyway, so I have time to decide. If I were pregnant, I'd definitely be first in line to get both the swine flu and the seasonal flu vaccine. Some of the people near here who have died from it, were pregnant and the regular flu hits pregnant women hard anyway. There are plenty of people who are at-risk who need it first, so I'll be waiting. I think a wait-and-see attitude is best if you're healthy and not in the risk groups.

  2. Mauigirl Says:
  3. Thanks for the link. You make excellent points. I kind of feel that way about the chicken pox shots they've come up with. We don't even know if they last a lifetime or not, and perhaps it was better for kids to just get the disease when they were young and be done with it.

    I actually am not sure if I'll be getting the swine flu shot myself - being 56, I'm probably, like you, not at a great risk.

    For a long time I avoided the regular flu shot myself because of the thimerasol - I was sensitive to contact lens solution that had it in it and figured it might be bad to have it injected into me. But I have had no bad reaction to the seasonal flu shots now that I finally started getting them a few years ago - and I have had the regular flu badly enough that I have no desire to have it again. But the mercury issue is there, and I wish they'd come up with another way to preserve the stuff. I agree it is not a good idea to be exposing ourselves to mercury any more than we have to.

  4. JoeC Says:
  5. Thanks for the rational overview, along with the links to the facts, concerning the H1N1 vaccine. I've got a teenager who has already had H1N1, and two other children who will probably be getting the vaccine when it's administered at the local schools (the PTA is already asking for parents who are nurses to volunteer...) and the rumor mill is filled with a lot of anti- and pro-vaccine untruths...it's good to read a post with some rational thought and facts behind it. Based on your post, I'm probably going to skip the H1N1 vaccine, get the regular flu shot, and let the two kids hwo haven't already had H1N1 get the shots at their school.

  6. Anonymous Says:
  7. I've never had any vaccination against the flu in my life, yet I rarely catch it. I think the whole H1N1 scare is just another government hand-out to Big Pharma, who will profit handsomely from it, at the risk of the general population, as indicated by the reasons you have listed.

  8. Excellent post. Thank you!



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