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Saturday, 24 October 2009

Obama declares national emergency on swine flu

President Obama Saturday declared the H1N1 flu a national emergency, clearing the way for legal waivers to allow hospitals and doctors offices to better handle a surge of new patients.

The proclamation will grant Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius the power to authorize the waivers as individual medical facilities request them, officials said.

It says that Obama does "hereby find and proclaim that, given that the rapid increase in illness across the Nation may overburden health care resources and that the temporary waiver of certain standard Federal requirements may be warranted in order to enable U.S. health care facilities to implement emergency operations plans, the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic in the United States constitutes a national emergency."

White House officials downplayed the dramatic-sounding language, saying the president's action was not prompted by a new assessment of the dangers posed to the public by the flu.

Instead, officials said the action provides greater flexibility for hospitals which may suddenly find themselves confronted with a surge of new patients as the virus sweeps through their communities.

"The H1N1 is moving rapidly, as expected. By the time regions or healthcare systems recognize they are becoming overburdened, they need to implement disaster plans quickly," White House spokesman Reid Cherlin said Saturday.

The waivers authorized by the president's actions still require individual requests by the hospitals, Cherlin said.

"Adding a potential delay while waiting for a National Emergency Declaration is not in the best interest of the public, particularly if this step can be done proactively as we are doing here," he said.

If granted a waiver, hospitals would be freed from some regulations that guide their behavior during normal day-to-day operations. Cherlin provided the following example:

"Requirements under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act would prohibit hospitals from certain rapid triage or sorting activities and prevent the establishment of off-site, alternate care facilities that could off-load emergency department demand," he said.

Public health experts praised the move, saying it was an important precautionary step that could help hospitals and other first responders care for large numbers of sick people as the outbreak continues.

"We know a number of hospitals are already experiencing high but manageable loads. It's not a stretch to imagine that hospitals could be strained," said Jennifer Nuzzo of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Biosecurity. "It's a just a precautionary move so if need be we can focus on the care of patients rather than focus on administrative hurdles. In disasters, you often don't have the time or luxury to keep the paperwork in order. You want hospitals focusing on patients."

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Death after swine flu vaccine and more reports flooding in

Yesterday 30 people had been reporting to the authorities in Sweden that they experienced such severe side effects that they felt the need to contact a hospital. Today the number is 140. The swedish newspaper Expressen is the only one in Sweden reporting on these cases and as usual this is most likely only the tip of a rather large iceberg. UPDATE: According to Dagens Nyheter, the number of reported side effects are now a few hours later 190. 1 person dies after the injection but "no direct relation with the injection has been established". The biggest medical scandal in the history of Sweden has just started.

Even so, Annika Linde, director of The Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (SMI) manages to spin this into something positive by stating "The vaccine has more side effects than the normal flu vaccine. It is a sign that proves that it gives an effective protection."

Thousands of Swedes have been vaccinated so far and the reports of side effects are "flooding in" to The Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (SMI). Annika Linde: "It is obviously so that the vaccine against the swine flu results in more side effects than the normal flu vaccines. That is because the swine flu vaccine contains adjuvants, shark liver oil, which triggers the immune defense to respond. That also results in that the protection against the virus becomes better."

Several severe cases of allergic reactions are reported to the unit for medicinal safety. "So far the reported side effects are not unexpected", says Gunilla Sjölin Forsberg. This unit has now asked some of the many units that vaccinate to report side effects to better get a grip on the situation. This statement alone is shocking since according to normal practice, all side effects should automatically be reported - right?

A nurse who took the shot on wednesday last week is still feeling sick. She got high fever and shivers from the swine flu shot. "-I was shaking in my whole body. It was so sever that I could not even hold a glass of water in my hand.", Lotta Lindström says.

"- I am now thinking about what it is I have been injected with. I really was affected. It feels really unpleasant."

De blev sjuka av vaccinet - Hälsa - Expressen.se

Maria Strindlund is not so sure she made the right choice to tae the shot. She also got a severe fever and shivering reaction. "- Since I work as a nurse, I decided it was the best thing to do.", she says. At first she felt nothing from the vaccinaton, but a few hours later the side effects kicked in. "- I got a extreme pain in my arm. I could no longer lift it." The came the fever and the shivering. " _ I was lying in bed shivering and was feeling very cold and stood in a hot shower to get warm." She says many colleguse who also took the vaccine have had similar reactons. She has been taking many vaccines in the past without any reactions whatsoever.

Maria, 27: "Fick fruktansvärt ont" - Hälsa - Expressen.se

Rebecka Andersson was the first person to get the shot in Sweden. She became feverish and felt sick to her stomach from the shot. " - I lost all energy", she says. "-I am normally never sick so I understood it must be the vaccine." Her class mates was vaccinated at the same time and she states that five out of nineteen also got sick from the swine flu vaccine.

Rebecka, 32: "Jag blev orkeslös" - Hälsa - Expressen.se

Lotta Lindström, a nurse, states that she got the shot a week ago and still is not well. "- It feels very worrying", she says. "- I did not sleep anything the night after the shot since the pain in my arm was so severe." The day after, at work, the fever came. She later had headaches. She still today, a week after the shot feels sick.

Lotta, 49: "Jag sov inte något på natten" - Hälsa - Expressen.se

Another nurse, Jennely, could hardly walk five meters after she got sick from the "swine flu" vaccination. She was completely healthy when she got the shot but the day after she had 39 degrees centigrade fever (102.2 F). "- I could hardly walk the five meters I had to the bathroom", she says. The fever lasted for three days. sevreal of her colugueges at work had similar experiences. "- I know of at least ten that got fever , we are about 80 people at my workplace."


"Swine Flu" in Canadian turkeys

"Swine Flu" in Canadian turkeys 21 Oct 2009
The novel H1N1 virus has been reported in a flock of breeder turkey hens in Ontario, Canada. A decreased production of turkey hatching eggs was detected, which led to the confirmation.

Turkey Farmers of Canada reports that the producer has voluntarily quarantined his flock, and that the unhealthy birds will not go to market.

While health officials declined to name the farm involved, it is being reported that the infected birds belonged to Hybrid Turkeys, a Kitchener, Ontario-based breeder.

Ontario's chief veterinarian, Dr. Deb Stark, says the transmission of the H1N1 virus most likely involved human to bird transmission, reports the Digital Journal.

Monday, 19 October 2009

H1N1 Vaccine Locations: Where to get the H1N1 vaccine?

H1N1 Vaccine Locations: Where to get the H1N1 vaccine?
Oct 19, 2009
Written By: Mary Wea Morales

After USDA confirms H1N1 is positive in Minnesota pigs, a lot of people in the United States got panicked. Now people are looking and searching in the internet about the whereabouts to buy or get an H1N1 vaccine. People are very eager to know the location of where to avail the vaccine for H1N1.

After USDA confirms H1N1 is positive in Minnesota pigs, a lot of people in the United States got panicked. Now people are looking and searching in the internet about the whereabouts to buy or get an H1N1 vaccine. People are very eager to know the location of where to avail the vaccine for H1N1. There are a lot of gossips about this but we should be sure to get the right information about where to avail the H1N1 Vaccine.

It was reported that the vaccine for the H1N1 virus has been released. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal government has purchased 250 million H1N1 vaccine doses.

250 million will be dispersed throughout the United States. The H1N1 vaccine can be given at the same time with other vaccines.

The St. Louis County Department of Health, among other health departments, is in the process of setting up public vaccination sites. The exact location of where to get or avail these H1N1 vaccine will soon be announced. So stay tuned for more updates.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Judge puts temporary stop to mandatory H1N1 Swine Flu vaccine

On October 16th, a judge in New York State suspended a health regulation requiring health care workers – and volunteers – to receive mandatory H1N1 swine flu vaccinations.

Why Were Health Care Workers Being Required to Receive the Swine Flu Vaccine?

The New York State Health Department and the state's health commissioner, Dr. Richard F. Daines, imposed the rule in an effort to assure the health and safety of hospital patients, whose immune systems are already compromised, and are thus at higher risk for swine flu and severe swine flu symptoms.

Hospitals and other organizations have interpreted the regulation, which required vaccination by November 30th, as grounds to fire workers and turn away volunteers who do not comply.

What Does the Suspension of the Mandatory Vaccination Regulation Mean?

Justice Thomas J. McNamara of the State Supreme Court issued the temporary suspension until a second hearing on October 30th, where it will either be removed again or made permanent.

In effect, the regulation, or lack there of, will probably make little difference to patients; hospitals will still offer the vaccines to employees, and most would receive them anyway. But there are a few who are unsure of the safety of the vaccines, especially for those workers who are pregnant. And there are more who are simply uncomfortable with the idea of being required to receive the swine flu vaccine, regardless of their personal choice. Patricia Finn, a lawyer in a separate but related case, told the New York Times, that this is their primary concern; "[vaccination is] not like getting your teeth cleaned," she claims, "it’s pretty serious. It shouldn’t be taken lightly.”

Should you get the H1N1 Vaccine? Growing fears ...find out.

Should I get the new H1N1 vaccine?

Are there any downsides or risks associated with the new swine flu vaccine? With many people asking that question, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions - along with some less frequently asked ones. This article will help the reader to make an informed decision about the risks and benefits of getting vaccinated.
Just in time for the flu season, the H1N1 vaccine has started to ship around the world. With mixed messages and conflicting advice running rampant, many people find themselves unsure as to whether or not they should get vaccinated. The swine flu has claimed more than 5,000 lives as of early October, but the vaccine itself is not without risk. We have summarized the necessary facts and commonly asked question regarding the H1N1 vaccine. Should I get the H1N1 vaccine?

Are all vaccines created equal?

No. There are two types of H1N1 vaccines: the old-fashioned needle-injection and the nasal spray. The injection, often refered to as a "shot", contains fragments of the killed H1N1 inflenza virus. The nasal spray, which most children would surely prefer, actually contains a weakened virus.

Does it matter which one I get?

Yes. While the nasal spray may be preferable to children over an old-fashioned injection, experts warn that certain group of people should avoid the nasal spray. Young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened or compromised immune systems are advised against getting the nasal spray. The spray, which actually contains a weakened but living virus, could potentially be strong enough to result in serious health complications.

Are they safe?

We're not really sure. Officials at the National Institute of Health claim there are "no serious side effects," aside from redness and swelling at the site of injection - but we have been digging a bit deeper and found other facts to be aware of. A source at the NIH admitted that the vaccine(s) were one of the fastest human vaccines in development, according to CBS correspondent Sharyl Atkinson. In order to get these vaccines to market so quickly, the United States government granted "liability protection" to swine flu vaccine manufacturers. This protection allowed the drug companies to fast-track production by adding unlicensed components, some of which have been shown to cause autoimmunity in animals. In other words, you might be taking a vaccine has been licensed without normal safety regulations - and if you suffer adverse reactions, the drug manufacturer is immune from legal liability.

Aside from being rushed-to-market, are there any unsafe ingredients I should know about?

Some shots will contain the mercury-based preservative thimerosal, which some believe to be harmful to children. The CDC claims there is no evidence of this. However, a US Congressional Report on Mercury in Medicine, released in 2003, claimed that there is a link between thimerosal and the development of autism, along with other brain development disorders. Additionally, some vaccines use squalene, an immune adjuvent that causes the immune system to react in a powerful and unnatural way. The purpose is to reduce the amount of vaccine needed per dose. The American Journal of Pathology published a study in 2000 which cited a possible link between adjuvants and arthritis and other chronic inflammatory diseases. Critics claim the use of adjuvants was another unsafe result of the vaccine being rushed out the door.

Are they safe for my children?

Again, we don't know. Many of these vaccines were tested on a few hundred healthy children. It is unclear how children with certain allergies or health conditions might react, as they haven't been thoroughly tested.

What if I'm pregnant?

Pregnant women are 6 times as likely to die if they are infected with the swine flu, so most experts advise pregnant women to take the vaccine. Pregnant women should only take the injection, not the nasal spray.

What does the CDC say?

The CDC lists 5 group of people who should get the H1N1 vaccine:
1) Pregnant women
2) Caregivers and people who come into contact with children younger than 6 months of age
3) Everyone between 6 months and 24 years old
4) People between 25 and 64 years old who have existing medical conditions
5) Healthcare and emergency medical services personnel

So what's the bottom line? Should I take it or not?

Well, the World Health Organisation claims that 30-50% of people infected with influenza have mild or no symptoms at all. On the other hand, serious health complications, including death, have been occuring in 1% of swine flu patients. If you fall into one of the 5 groups advised by the CDC, you should probably give stronger consideration to getting vaccinated. But everyone's situation is different. There's a risk associated with getting the vaccine, and there's a risk associated with not getting it. Our advice is to educate yourself as much as possible and make an informed decision, based on your age, your medical history, and the general strength of your immune system.