Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Swine flu vaccine is safe, they say: but I am seeing nasty coincidences

Real data is important, and anecdotes are just anecdotal. Yet during the past 3 weeks I have been personally involved with 3 events that have me concerned. I am a doctor on an island of 13,000 people, where hundreds received swine flu vaccine.

Coincidence 1: several hours after getting the swine flu vaccine, a man "looked gray" to his wife and then had vague chest pain. I sent him for a cath, and he had a near-complete stenosis of a large coronary artery.

Coincidence 2: one week after the vaccine, a man I treated developed Bell's Palsy.

Coincidence 3: one day after receiving injected swine flu vaccine, a child I was consulted on had new onset of a facial tic.

The possibility that one or more of these cases may be adverse effects of the vaccine (and the second two probably are) means that detailed data on adverse events needs to be made public NOW. The epidemic is nearly over, but there is a big push to VACCINATE NOW, during National Influenza Vaccination Week (Jan 10-16).

The vaccines have been in use for 3 months. Sixty million Americans have used them, according to a small CDC poll. Enhanced electronic data collection is said to be a feature of the US vaccine program. While we continue to push the vaccine, let's have transparency about what the existing data show.

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