I was absolutely blown away when I saw this clip…check it out.
Anyone who knows me knows that I, personally, am not a big fan of vaccinations, and have managed to avoid them since I was old enough to go to the doctor’s office myself. And it’s not a fear of needles or anything like that. I have always had this belief that vaccinations can do more harm than good. More on that in a future post. I say that only to say that clearly this news story has further encouraged this belief in me and has made me very happy that when I was in school they couldn’t force me to take the flu shot because I am allergic to it.
However, being a Psych student, I couldn’t just leave the story as is, unexamined. Especially considering the new launch of the H1N1 vaccine all across Ontario as of today. So here are a couple facts about the situation:
1. Dystonia: movement disorders in which sustained muscle contractions cause twisting and repetitive movements or abnormal postures. The movements, which are involuntary and sometimes painful, may affect a single muscle; a group of muscles such as those in the arms, legs, or neck; or the entire body. Those with dystonia usually have normal intelligence and no associated psychiatric disorders. (definition taken from http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/dystonias/detail_dystonias.htm)
2. The “Swine Flu” i.e. H1N1 virus is not a new virus. There was actually an outbreak in 1976, where 4 soldiers got sick and one died. H1N1 is thought to be the cause of the 1918 Influenza pandemic, although research has since proved that the pandemic was actually caused by a virus relating to several strains of the flu.
3. The vaccine that was given in 1976 was thought to cause such severe complications and side effects that they thought the risk of becoming seriously ill and even dying from H1N1 was better than the risk of contracting one of the more severe side effects from the vaccination, so they discontinued H1N1 vaccination.
(points 2 and 3 can be found at http://pediatrics.about.com/od/swineflu/a/409_myths_facts.htm)
4. One of the more severe side effects was something called Guillain-Barré Syndrome: which is a disorder where the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. The first symptoms of this disorder include varying degrees of weakness or tingling sensations in the legs. In many instances, the weakness and abnormal sensations spread to the arms and upper body. These symptoms can increase in intensity until the muscles cannot be used at all and the patient is almost totally paralyzed.
(details taken from http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/gbs/gbs.htm)
So in conclusion, and you can do your own reading, but it seems fairly probable to me that if the vaccine can cause one type of nervous system dysfunction that it can cause another. And quite frankly, unless you are in a high risk category for death from flu, why take the risk?
This was my first official blog post on Classic Ruby. I hope it was worth the wait!!