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Old 10-31-2009, 12:38 PM   #1
Kassy
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Default People will die after swine flu vaccine - but it's just coincidence

People will die after swine flu vaccine - but it's just coincidence

By Rebecca Smith and Kate Devlin, Medical team
Published: 8:00AM GMT 31 Oct 2009

With millions of people being vaccinated against the virus there is a real risk that coincidental events will be seen as reactions to the jab, a paper in The Lancet said.

Experts at Cincinnati Children's Hospital in America calculated the background rate of conditions that may be mistaken for vaccine reactions and warned that there is a risk people will shun the jab needlessly.

Only if these background rates are exceeded will it point to a potential problem with the vaccine.

Medical experts have been told to watch for any cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome during the flu pandemic as some research suggested there was a link between a flu vaccine used in America in 1976 and the condition, in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks part of the nervous system and can be fatal in rare cases.

However flu itself it also linked to the condition and about one in every 100,000 people a year.

Dr Steven Black and colleagues calculated that if 10 million people in Britain were vaccinated there would be around 22 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome and six cases of sudden death would be expected to occur within six weeks of vaccination as coincident background cases.

Just over nine million people in priority groups, such as pregnant women and those with long-term illnesses, and another two million front line health and social care workers will be offered the vaccine in Britain over the next two months.

Decisions will be taken soon over whether to offer the vaccine more widely.

The research also suggested that 397 per one million vaccinated pregnant women would be predicted to have a spontaneous abortion within one day of vaccination.

But this is the rate of spontaneous abortion that would occur on any given day out of a group of one million pregnant women during a vaccination campaign or not.

Dr Black wrote: “Misinterpretation of adverse health outcomes that are only temporally related to vaccination will not only threaten the success of the pandemic H1N1 influenza vaccine programme, but also potentially hinder the development of newer vaccines.

"Therefore, careful interpretation of vaccine safety signals is crucial to detect real reactions to vaccine and to ensure that temporally related events not caused by vaccination do not unjustly affect public opinion of the vaccine.

"Development and availability of data banks that can provide locally relevant background rates of disease incidence are important to aid assessment of vaccine safety concerns.”

The researchers said although scientists know that events connected only be time does not prove cause and effect, the cases 'nonetheless raise public concern'.

Prof David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk, University of Cambridge and Co-Director of Straight Statistics, said: "What a fine paper. If millions of people are vaccinated then just by chance we can expect bad things to happen to some of them, whether it's a diagnosis of autism or a miscarriage.

"By being ready with the expected numbers of chance cases, perhaps we can avoid overreaction to sad, but coincidental, events. And why don't we ever see a headline 'Man wins lottery after flu jab'?"

Professor Robert Dingwall, University of Nottingham, said: "The difference between cause and coincidence is difficult enough for specialists to grasp, let alone the wider public.

"However, this paper is very important in spelling out the fact that just because two events happen at the same time, they are not necessarily related. There is a background rate of death, disease and accidents that happen all the time regardless of what medical interventions are going on.

"Confusing cause and coincidence may lead to serious policy mistakes that put people unnecessarily at risk.

"I am sure that some coincidences will emerge from a high-profile vaccination campaign and we must be careful not to be misled by them."

Meanwhile the World Health Organisation said that pregnant women could be immunised with any of the vaccines licensed for use against swine flu.

Dr Marie-Paule Keiny, from the WHO, said: “ Sage (the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts) has concluded that the safety profiles are good and recommend that pregnant women can be immunised with any of the licensed vaccines.”

The WHO also recommended that one dose was sufficient to immunise children.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/sw...incidence.html
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Old 10-31-2009, 12:52 PM   #2
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Coincidence

You can expect to be seeing that word used a lot relating to many aspects the flu over the next several months.

Rhetorical question: Just how many coincidences does it take before something is no longer a coincidence?
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Old 11-01-2009, 11:14 AM   #3
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Tough to judge. I ran into the incidence rate for GBS, (background rate), several years ago & the same numbers were used for Canada, roughly 1 in 100,000 people yearly could/would get it. That's about 330 cases & matches up with other data I've come across. Because that data was produced in a year where GBS as an issue with vax WASN'T an issue, I don't see anyone 'covering their butts' in advance.

But how do we judge a CLUSTER of GBS cases within a fairly close period of time after pH1N1 vax? You might see LESS than 330 all this year but if 20 of those cases are associated with oe comunity, one or two specific lots of vax, it's difficult to call it background.

Other than GBS, I'm not sure why we should expect the word 'coincidence' to be used around this pandemic.. Although specifics can't be pre-determined, we still have a pretty good notion about flu related beahiours... new strain or not. There will always be SOME novel characteristics, SOME especially severe cases, unanticipated deaths, etc.

And some things won't be coincidence but rather the result of poor planning, bad decision making & other factors.

We ARE human, even our health authorities & governments & we'll see the full range of human error with this - both individual & institutional.
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Old 11-01-2009, 12:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadaSue View Post


Other than GBS, I'm not sure why we should expect the word 'coincidence' to be used around this pandemic.. Although specifics can't be pre-determined, we still have a pretty good notion about flu related beahiours... new strain or not. There will always be SOME novel characteristics, SOME especially severe cases, unanticipated deaths, etc.
I'm not really referring to GBS.

I'm already hearing of people that have had full-blown flu multiple times in the past few months. Just a coincidence. Must have been something else. Can't get it twice, right?

Already hearing of people having the flu right after vaccination. Just a coincedence that they happened to be infected just before getting vaccinated.

Already heard one case that has appears to have H1N1 several weeks after being vaccinated for it. Just a coincedence? It must be something else? One of those RARE people that a vax doesn't help? There aren't many around yet that have been vaccinated that long - yet. I expect to see more of these.

All of these MAY well be coincedences. But again, Just how many coincidences does it take before something is no longer a coincidence? If rare things happen often enough, are they still rare?

At some point do we consider that this virus is even more novel in behavior than we expect it to be?
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Old 11-01-2009, 01:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Key View Post

I'm already hearing of people that have had full-blown flu multiple times in the past few months. Just a coincidence. Must have been something else. Can't get it twice, right?
This one is going around, full blown flu after another a month apart, not talking about a cold either, I hear it, I see it, I read it, over here.
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Old 11-01-2009, 06:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Key View Post
I'm not really referring to GBS.

I'm already hearing of people that have had full-blown flu multiple times in the past few months. Just a coincidence. Must have been something else. Can't get it twice, right?

Already hearing of people having the flu right after vaccination. Just a coincedence that they happened to be infected just before getting vaccinated.

Already heard one case that has appears to have H1N1 several weeks after being vaccinated for it. Just a coincedence? It must be something else? One of those RARE people that a vax doesn't help? There aren't many around yet that have been vaccinated that long - yet. I expect to see more of these.

All of these MAY well be coincedences. But again, Just how many coincidences does it take before something is no longer a coincidence? If rare things happen often enough, are they still rare?

At some point do we consider that this virus is even more novel in behavior than we expect it to be?
Confirmed Flu??

Some other ILI???

A different strain of flu????

H1N1 IMMEDIATELY after a vaccination.

All of those are explainable, as co-incidental to vaccination or to prior infectin ( or perceived infection.)

There are a lot of variables in the epidemiology, and for any one individaul to claim that either the vaccine is bad, or the H1N1 virus is behaving differently is just statistically "bad science."

Exactly how does ONE sick person fit into the grand scheme of things?

I know, it's nasty to be that ONE sick person and wonder, and it's perceived as equally nasty to be an epidemiologist trying to explain the wonders of the universe to a lay person..,

Each case you bring up has possible explanations, some due to co-incidence, some due to real Flu science.
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Old 11-01-2009, 06:37 PM   #7
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And AB comes along to prove my point. As I said, be prepared to see that word used a lot.

I have made NO OTHER claim than that.
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Old 11-01-2009, 08:34 PM   #8
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If you're NOT making any other claim, why bring up 'coincidence'? There are perfectly valid explanations for every point you raised & AB covered them. I wouldn't call any of the concidence, simply knowns.
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