Vol. 7 October 15, 2009 – Flu Vaccine Adjuvants

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“UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT HALL OF FAME”
nomination:
the Egyptian government
After decreeing that all pigs in Egypt should be slaughtered in the mistaken belief that it would prevent the spread of swine flu, the garbage that used to be collected and fed to pigs has piled up window high on the streets of Cairo.
May be the  “Biggest Unintended Consequence of the Year”

Number of adjuvants in this year’s seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines: 0

  • An adjuvant is a piece of protein or other molecular tidbit that enhances your immune  response by “alerting” certain of your immune cells that a “foreign body” (antigen) is around, so that they quickly start producing antibodies to it. The antibodies provide your immunity to the disease targeted by a vaccine. (1)

Year that scientists (a orthopedic surgeon, no less, was one of the first! ) began to have evidence that bacterial extracts enhanced the body’s immune response: 1881

Year that alum and oil/water mixes were added as adjuvants to vaccines to increase their effectiveness:  1930

Year that interest in adjuvants faded because of local redness and inflammation at injection sites:  1940’s

Year that appearance of new viruses that were difficult to immunize against renewed the interest in vaccine adjuvants: 1980’s

Year that the mechanism of how adjuvants alert the immunity-producing cells was understood: 1997

  • The effective size of the bits of protein that alert the immunity-producing cells have been made smaller and smaller which greatly reduces local inflammatory reactions while the vaccines’ effectiveness is greatly boosted.

Amount of  reduction of “foreign body” (antigen) in a flu vaccine made possible by using an adjuvant: 2/3

Number of vaccines against Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Flu using adjuvants approved and in use in Europe: 6

Number of months that seasonal flu vaccine manufacturing was started before H1N1 composition was known, resulting in two separate vaccines:  3

  • If H1N1 flu composition had been unraveled three months earlier we would have had a single “2009 flu vaccine” containing all flu strains rather than two separate vaccines, and perhaps less controversy about and an easier time accepting it.

Number of adjuvants in this year’s seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines: 0

  • Can you imagine the hoopla if a “novel vaccine”,  i.e. one with adjuvants to increase its effectiveness, was being recommended against the “novel virus”,i.e. the swine flu which turns out to be not so novel at all? The conspiracy theory people would be having even a bigger field day than they are enjoying right now!

Number of children’s deaths due to seasonal flu in U.S. since September 2008: 68  (2)

Number of children’s deaths due to H1N1 flu in U.S. since April 2009 : 76

Per cent of parents who plan to have their children vaccinated against H1N1 flu:  40 (3)

Number of vaccines and number of proteins ( usually perceived by the body’s immune system as “foreign”) in non-flu vaccines in 1980:  7 vaccines / about 3,041 proteins

Numbers of same in non-flu vaccines in 2000:  11 vaccines / 126 proteins.

  • The difference between 1980 and 2000 is due in part to advances in the  genetic manufacturing of vaccines.

Total amount of claims against vaccine makers for alleged injury after 1976 flu vaccine inoculations: $100 million   (costs were assumed by the federal government)

Number of companies making vaccines of all kinds in 1970:  25

Number of companies making vaccines in 2004:  5  (4)

Year that the SAFETY Act granting immunity from liability to companies making antibioterror vaccines was passed:  2002

References:

1. Scientific American, October 2009, Boosting Vaccine Power, Garcon and Goldman
2. CDC report October 7,2009
3. University of Michigan national poll
4. Scientific American, October 2009, Too Little Too Late, Perspectives

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