Many who oppose H1N1 vaccination for their children are already wary of vaccines, which they believe are directly linked to the rising number of cases of autism, a developmental disorder. Adding to their misgivings is the claim that the H1N1 vaccine contains squalene, an additive that, while it has been used safely in vaccines in Europe, has never been tested in the U.S.
Many critics view the swine flu vaccine as too new and untested, saying its development proceeded too quickly and without the benefit of clinical trials. Vaccination critic Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder of the National Vaccine Information Center, a private organization, suggested to CBS News in November that the "true nature" of the H1N1 outbreak was still unknown, and hence that inoculation against the virus was somewhat risky. "I think it's perfectly legitimate for people to question whether or not they should get vaccinated," she said, "and whether or not for some it's better to have the influenza, get antibodies and be protected in future years."
Some supporters of H1N1 vaccination, in fact, suggest that those who choose not be vaccinated or not to inoculate their children may be endangering their entire community.
As for side effects, such as GBS and autism, advocates of the vaccine insist that people have little to fear from the H1N1 vaccine.
(Their stance is in keeping with a special federal court decision issued in February 2009 that vaccines do not cause autism and that families with autistic children are not entitled to compensation from vaccine manufacturers.)
Says Doug Kamerow, a chief scientist at the research institute RTI International and a former assistant surgeon general, "There has been no evidence of harm or serious side effects in the vaccine[;]...the worst you can expect from the vaccine is a sore arm for a day or two"--a common reaction to seasonal flu vaccines.
Do you think it is safe to get the H1N1 vaccination?
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