Monday, November 24, 2014

Has CDC stopped testing for H1N1 because the pediatric vaccine isn't working against H1N1?

The Tampa Bay Times (see below) reported today that two Florida children had died of flu. Which is odd, because if you scroll down to the current CDC charts below you will see a) that the mortality from flu and pneumonia is about as low as it gets, right now, and b) only one flu-associated child death has been reported this flu season for the entire country. So it is odd that two children just died in the same state.  It is also odd that authorities would not name the towns where these children lived.
There are more oddities. Although the story below says otherwise, this season's (and last season's) live, nasal pediatric flu vaccine is ineffective against swine flu, as noted here.  

CDC admits this lack of effectiveness:
"During 2013-2014 there was no measurable effectiveness for LAIV [live attenuated influenza vaccine] against influenza A (H1N1) among children enrolled in the study."
but couched it in a lot of confusing verbiage.

So, if these children got that vaccine, it would have offered them no protection against the swine (H1N1) flu.

Yet the Florida Department of Health used its report of two pediatric deaths to scare parents and push flu vaccines, while refusing to say whether the children who died were vaccinated, and lying about the effectiveness of the available vaccine.

It isn't only the Florida DoH acting oddly.  CDC is supposed to test flu strains to see which are circulating each season.  But suddenly, they are no longer testing for H1N1, despite the fact it was the predominant strain last year and they tested for it last year. For example, CDC noted extreme predominance of H1N1 last year:
"Effectiveness against the flu A "2009 H1N1" virus, which was the predominating flu virus during the 2013-14 flu season, was 62% (95% CI: 53% to 69%) for children and adults. During the study period (Dec 2, 2013 – January 23, 2014), the 2009 H1N1 virus accounted for 98% of flu viruses detected. (Note: There were not enough influenza B or influenza A (H3N2) viruses detected during the study period to make a mid-season estimate of vaccine effectiveness against either of those viruses.)"
And CDC tested for it yearly since 2009. I can't imagine another reason to stop testing for H1N1 besides avoiding embarrassment (to CDC and the vaccine makers) because the pediatric vaccine doesn't protect against it, even though H1N1 is one of its components.  If you don't know how much Swine Flu (H1N1) is causing people to get sick, then you can't blame the shot for contributing to cases. And that last sentence --"...not enough influenza B or A (H3N2) detected to ...estimate vaccine effectiveness" last year--is a dead giveaway CDC will be saying that about this year's H1N1.

But it is even worse than this.  If you look at the bottom chart, CDC acknowledges that 88% of flu specimens were Influenza A, and only 30% of these were H3... suggesting that 70% were H1, and probably nearly all of those were H1N1.  But instead of CDC saying it didn't know how many were H1N1, since CDC did not test for H1N1, CDC claims that there were 0.0% H1N1 Swine Flu specimens. That is a very precise number: 0.0%--and a total falsehood.
The Florida Department of Health announced Monday the deaths of two children, one in Pasco County and one in Orange County, from flu-related complications. Health officials refused to provide the ages and hometowns of the children. The Pasco child had an underlying health condition, said Deanna Krautner, a spokeswoman for the Pasco County Health Department. . . Experts say flu deaths in otherwise healthy people are unusual. Pre-existing health conditions often play a role in how individuals react to the flu. . .
"Our hearts go out to the family and friends of these children," said Dr. Celeste Philip, deputy secretary for health and deputy state health Officer for Children's Medical Services. "Getting the flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others from the flu."
In Florida, the most common influenza subtype detected in recent weeks has been influenza A (H3). Officials refused to say if that's the type found in the two recent deaths. . .
Currently available vaccine formulations protect against all (sic) strains of influenza that have been identified as circulating in Florida this season, state health officials said. [But if you don't identify it, then you can make this claim without lying. Clever, huh?--Nass]
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone age 6 months and older get vaccinated, with a few rare exceptions. State officials on Monday declined to say whether the two children who died had been vaccinated.
The following come from this CDC website:
Pneumonia And Influenza Mortality

Influenza-Associated Pediatric Mortality:

No influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported to CDC during week 46. To date, one influenza-associated pediatric death has been reported for the 2014-2015 season.
Click on image to launch interactive tool

U.S. Virologic Surveillance:

WHO and NREVSS collaborating laboratories located in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia report to CDC the number of respiratory specimens tested for influenza and the number positive by influenza virus type and influenza A virus subtype. The results of tests performed during the current week are summarized in the table below. Region specific data are available at
Week 46
No. of specimens tested10,304
No. of positive specimens (%)955 (9.3%)
Positive specimens by type/subtype
  Influenza A836 (87.5%)
             2009 H1N10 (0.0%) 
             H3257 (30.7%) 
             Subytping not performed579 (69.3%) 
  Influenza B119 (12.5%)

1 comment:

SatyaPranava said...

I sat through this presentation a week or two ago and was quite puzzled, actually as well. I find it so funny when they're recommendations and guidance are the exact opposite of the evidence they're (sometimes) sharing (and sometimes withholding).