Understandably Wary Of Vaccines | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 87 Issue 50 | p. 4 | Letters
Issue Date: December 14, 2009

Understandably Wary Of Vaccines

Department: Letters

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"The discouraging lack of understanding of science and technology" that you mention in your Oct. 12 editorial (page 3) is more than understandable. Vaccine producers in the past have been less than forthright concerning side effects of their immunizations. My sister died shortly after being given whooping cough immunization in 1941. The doctor who treated her tried, without success, to get her case published.

Finally, about 40 years later, there was a small print article acknowledging that some children died as a result of that immunization. Do I believe the industry has corrected its human frailties and driving profit motives? I think it is unlikely.

We both know that short-term testing of the H1N1 vaccine cannot possibly provide assurances of safety for those on the end of the immune system bell curve. The only thing that may have been ensured is that those whose immune systems fall within the middle of the bell curve are unlikely to experience serious complications. Vaccine producers and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention have always said that a few losses (deaths) are acceptable for the benefits of the larger group.

If H1N1 were a really deadly virus, I might sign up for vaccination knowing my immune system is more sensitive than most. As it presently stands, H1N1 virus is not as dangerous as originally presumed. Most reasonably healthy adults are surviving the illness. Why subject myself to an unknown produced by a low-bid contractor? Let others be the guinea pig.

Bryce Harthoorn
Princeton, Iowa

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