Wednesday, October 28, 2009


H1N1, Vaccines, and Hysteria

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

A little technical due to necessary background. I get to the point in the bottom third.

We are commanded to believe in Hashem and have faith, yet also required to actively protect our health (as well as avoid taking risks with our lives).

While in the last 15 years a few drugs have been developed that do treat viruses, most viral infections cannot be treated. The only treatment has been vaccine, which 'teaches' the body's immune system how to defeat the virus before one actually gets it - thereby providing one with protection against it.

Except for our grandparents, few of us know of the terrible diseases of just 3 generations ago. Out of every 100 children, 23 died to one disease or another, 8 went blind, 9 went deaf, 6 were paralyzed. The scourges of this time are unknown today...diphtheria, tetanus, poliomyelitis, smallpox, measles, mumps, rubella, meningitis, pertussis, and polio. Diphtheria was one of the top 10 causes of death at any age.

The US population in 1900 was 76 million, and the number of people getting one of these life threatening diseases was 1.1 million PER YEAR.

Every single child went through MULTIPLE of these diseases (and others) during childhood. 1 in 4 children died by age 10.

These viral diseases were defeated with vaccines. (Bacterial diseases were also a risk, and they were defeated with antibiotics.)

These diseases aren't gone, they're just RARE as most people are vaccinated against them.

Now vaccines are pretty wonderful in preventing those life threatening and disabling diseases! But vaccines aren't without risks...

3 in 100 children will have a minor side effect (fever, swelling, minor illness), 1 in 1000 will have a serious side effect and may require hospitalization, 1 in 10,000 will have a debilitating side effect, and 1 in 100,000 will die from vaccination.

Those are serious numbers, but a lot less than 1 in 4 DYING from the disease. For all the major diseases above, there's not much question of statistically going for the vaccine over the potential for the disease. HOWEVER, several factors have recently changed the equation...

- First, people have demanded more convenience, and the manufacturers have responded. Instead of shots, people wants oral or nasal vaccines. These forms may require live viruses or new chemicals to maintain, introducing higher risks.

- Second, manufacturers have taken the same techniques and applied them to non-life-threatening / non-debilitating diseases and lifestyle diseases. For example Chicken Pox and HPV (Human Papillomavirus).

- Third, the creation of viruses for changing diseases such as the flu and pneumonia provide only seasonal benefits.

In the first case, new techniques may introduce new risks. Large samples and many years (5-10) are required to truly determine possible side effects on a large population basis.

In the second case, these are not required for life preservation. So the question is not life or disability versus side effect risk - it's convenience versus side effect risk. Further, the vaccines may provide less protection than a case of the disease - meaning it may need to be periodically repeated throughout one's life increasing the risk. (For example, the Chicken Pox vaccine has a 5-10 year protection rate. Yet the greatest life threat of chicken pox is to pregnant women. Meaning any female child getting this vaccine will HAVE to repeat it prior to entering their child bearing years.)

In the third case, the diseases targeted are not typically fatal to normal healthy adults or (not young) children. So again, the risks of side effects have to be weighed against the inconvenience of the diseases (unless in the risk group) versus the side effect risk.

Net net, every vaccine carries a risk. In the case of childhood diseases, it's pretty clear the risk of the disease far outweighs the risk of the vaccine.

(Certainly if you're a person who's had a side effort or a child with one, you probably disagree. But I had a similar discussion with someone who refused to wear a seat belt because they had a parent killed in a car accident because they couldn't remove their seat belt during a car fire [Hashem ya'a'zor!] Statistically it pays to wear the seat belt even though in a small number of cases the seat belt can hurt chances of survival versus the majority of the time when it helps.)

So what about the H1N1 Swine Flu vaccine?

I recently received a somewhat hysterical email going around the Jewish community about possible harm from the H1N1 flu vaccine. I just spent several hours doing some serious research and here's my best understanding...

EVERY flu is life threatening and kills hundreds of thousands around the world every year (37,000 per year in the US). BUT most of those affected are elderly or have other diseases weakening them.

So what about H1N1? H1N1 statistics are hard to come by. My calculations say it seems to be killing about 1 in 215 people who get it. Official pronouncements say 1 in 2000 who get it. Unlike the regular flu about 50% of the people getting H1N1 seem to be healthy adults, pregnant women, and healthy children.

Normally, as a healthy adult or healthy older child, the risks associated with a vaccine make it not worth getting a flu vaccine.

But H1N1 presents an unusual profile. Death rates are higher and include the otherwise healthy. BUT, the vaccine has been RUSHED and safety tests have been short term. Several models contain unusual ingredients, others (the nasal type) are actually serving up live (weakened) virus!

Net net, what's all that mean. Here's my advice...

Seasonal flu vaccine - If you are in a normal flu risk category including elderly, pregnant, chronic illness, get it. Millions get this vaccine every year and it's proven to be very safe. I took this vaccine this year myself.

H1N1 flu vaccine - I can't give you any intelligent advice here. There's too many factors and not enough information at this time to make an informed decision. The risk level of H1N1 is still a guess, and the risk of vaccine side effects for this vaccine and it's different variants is also a guess.

If you're not in an area where the H1N1 Swine Flu is at high infection levels, I'd wait a bit to see both the disease statistics and the vaccine statistics - as with both numbers going up quickly right now we're certain to get improved data in relatively short order. That's what I plan to personally do.

But I'm not a doctor or an epidemiologist. Consult YOUR physician about YOUR health, check WHICH type of vaccine is available in your area (as some types seem to be riskier than others), and ask Hashem to give you the wisdom to make the right choice for YOU and your family.

An interesting side note. A study recently came out showing high levels of Vitamin D(3) consumption significantly reduce flu risk (Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Volume 14, Number 2, Summer 2009). As Vitamin D levels normally fall in the winter months, it may be worth taking Vitamin D(3) supplements for it's potential flu protection value. Take the article and consult your physician.

May Hashem keep all of us safe and healthy. Remember, Tefilah, Teshuvah, and Tzedakah lessen the decree!


  1. I honestly don't know why you seem to brush off the severity of HPV (human papillomavirus). While warts might seem superficial, HPV infection, at least in women, has been linked to various vaginal area cancers, most prominently cervical cancer. To brush off the importance of young women getting vaccinated for HPV is doing a major disservice to anyone who reads your blog.

  2. Great post. I see alot of time and research went into this. However, there is no doubt that this go-around in the FLU season has developed into (as Rahm would say) “an opportunity of crisis” not to be missed. What I have learned from listening to various doctors interviewed on radio:

    The elderly don’t need the vaccine because they lived thru the 1956 plus a later strong flu outbreak I think in the 70’s, and have natural antibodies.

    The young, very young, and pregnant and immune deficiency disabled SO THEY SAY
    NEED the Vaccine. HOWEVER, everyone I asked, plus the drs interviewed, plus Obama’s children ARE NOT GETTING OR GIVING THE VACCINE TO THEIR FAMILIES!

    To date, the Swine flu has been relatively MILD, as in MILD, but the seasonal flu that is right behind the swine flu, is expected to be STRONGER, as in STRONGER. Many, many have already had the flu AND DIDN’T KNOW IT, some did because they were tested. HOWEVER, drs and hosps are being told to lump together ALL FLU LIKE SYMPTOMS whether Swine or not, and report them as such (me: in order to hype up Left’s pandemic mode of mine).

    The above information has come from doctors, health professionals, nurses, and hospital staff.

    PERSONALLY, I would NOT as in NEVER take a flu vaccine because they never protect you from the FLU coming your way, as each flu is a DIFFERENT strain and going around the world usually morphs together with others. The way they develop vaccines is HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE, because of the variants added to perform various functions in your body, and this year, in particular, the adjuvants added this year (such as squalane/squalene, usually from SHARK oil, mercury, thermisol, and other items not easily pronounceable!

    The best defense is an offense: Boost your own immune system by taking selected vitamins and other nutritionals, washing hands [diagram on muqata :-)] with soap and hot water, keeping hands from face (nose, eyes, mouth), use a salt water gargle every day and also a nasal wash of salt water. This is a doctor’s advice. Not to be dismissed.

    Stay away from the HPV.
    There are reports about the long history of vaccines and their linkage to various illnesses and other awful hurtful effects to humans. Also not to be dismissed are the rumors going around linking nastiness and vaccines.

  3. Anon - I don't dismiss HPV, and agree the cancer link is firm. However, it's an STD and therefore associated with a lifestyle choice. If a person is active in that way, then the benefits of the vaccine versus the disease outweight any vaccine risks.

    Neshama - I agree about the hysteria and public use of it. That's why I spent a good bit of time researching it. I disagree on the seasonal flu vaccine, which I've been taking yearly after having a bout of flu that almost killed me. The seasonal shot can miss the strains that hit that season - but they tend to be on target as they're able to track flu from southern hemisphere winter to norther hemisphere winter and get the right one.

    I can't seem to get straight statistics on Swine Flu out of the US. My statistics for H1N1 are out of Israel - which has been more forthcoming with data. (That itself says something.)

    As far as the side ingredients, I read the science reports and note that some of them have been in use for 10 years. However I agree there's enough concern to hesitate, while not enough spread or severity on the disease to jump.

    BUT note the shot takes 2 weeks to develop full immunity.

  4. For severity see CDC weekly report...

    Eg last week 11 pediatric deaths. last year for the same week 1 death.

    it is mild in most people from my experience as a DOCTOR but young and healthy people are unusually DYING from it.

    it is also very infectious.

    Neshama - you comment about the flu vaccine are not accurate. Each year it contains the three most likely strains going around that year. Sometimes they get it wrong like 2/3 last year. Also your ingredients are not totally accurate and no different to previous flu vaccines.

    If you can even get it I recommend for those at highest risk of complications for this virus - pregnant and young..

  5. Neshama, check out IsraelTruthTimes blogspot and Again as we are lied to the sheeple will go along with the crowd.

  6. Shiloh, I've been there and learned much from her, but there are other sources of good information, and I've heard many of them. The "invested interests" of any 'source' and what they tell you and DON'T tell you is like Russian Roulete!

    PS What do you think about her allegations!!

    Akiva - you're so right, it depends WHERE you get your info.

  7. Everything is a conspiracy.. the government and doctors are evil.. (except for conspiracy blogs of course)

    We are all sheep and Neshama, shiloh and others are the only ones with the truth and intelligence...

    get a life people..

  8. Neshama, I too have read and listened to other medical sources.

    I am assuming that you are talking about the population reduction. Quite possible but to what extent. I know the vatican is as dirty as it gets. On the otherhand will we reach the geulah during this time. Basically I am just spreading the Torah to the goyim while this goes on and watch the world events unfold.

    Oh, ah, 'chaim', ya, da, the gov't and da dr's of the matrix tell the truth to us. Ah, open your eyes. You equate to spilling the seed.

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