Monday, May 4, 2009

I said share, not scare

On Sunday, the Denver Post led with a story about a Denver man who was allegedly paralyzed for several years by the 1976 swine flu vaccine that the federal government urged everyone to take. The front page included a huge picture of the man. Sounds pretty scary.

Oh, tucked deep down in the story, waaaay off the front page, was this graf:
Today, many scientists believe links between the 1976 vaccine and neurological disorders were exaggerated, at best. Even if there were adverse reactions, vaccines today have fewer proteins and additives with the potential to cause problems.
And this one:
Many of those severely sickened after getting the vaccine had Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological disorder. But studies since then have shown the incidence of the syndrome was no higher among people who had the swine-flu vaccine. [...]
The 1976 inoculation campaign proved unnecessary, said Dr. Edward Janoff, director of the Mucosal and Vaccine Research Program at UC Denver. But he called the notion that the vaccine was dangerous a "persisting urban legend."
Given that there will likely be a vaccine developed for the current swine flu in the next few months and that people will be encouraged to take it to avoid a deadly pandemic, is it really responsible to be scaring the hell out of people about vaccines and burying the caveats deep down in the story?

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