From the Canadian Press, via Huffington Post Canada:
TORONTO – Canada is following the lead of several European countries and suspending distribution of flu vaccine made by the pharmaceutical firm Novartis.
The decision relates to the discovery by the company of tiny clumps of virus particles in some batches of flu vaccines made at the Novartis production facility in Italy.
Health Canada, which announced the move, said Novartis has agreed to suspend distribution of its vaccines — sold in Canada as Fluad and Agriflu — while the department investigates the situation. All the Novartis vaccine Canada purchases is made at the Italian plant. Continue reading
From Eva von Schaper and Phil Serafino on Bloomberg.com:
“Italy and Switzerland halted sales of Novartis AG’s (NOVN) flu vaccines after the company informed Italian authorities of a buildup of particles in the shots. Novartis said the products are safe.
Novartis didn’t provide enough information for officials to know the exact makeup of the proteins found in the Agrippal and Fluad shots, or their impact on the quality and safety of the vaccine, Italy’s Health Ministry said in a statement today. There have been no reports of illness because of the particles, officials said.
The vaccines present “quality defects that are potentially dangerous for public health,” the ministry said. Italy’s medicines agency AIFA “has established the need for further tests regarding the quality and security” of the vaccines, according to an earlier statement from the ministry. Continue reading
From a Toronto Star editorial titled “Hospital staff must get flu shots”:
“Frontline health-care workers across Ontario — and especially in Toronto — are endangering their patients by neglecting to obtain a flu shot. If anyone should know better, it’s these people. And their failure is inexcusable.
The latest data are in a report going to the Toronto Board of Health on Tuesday, and it reveals a situation that’s getting worse, not better. According to health experts, at least 70 per cent of health-care workers should be vaccinated annually against influenza. But figures for the most recent 2010-2011 flu season show that Toronto’s acute-care hospitals are barely halfway there, with a median staff immunization rate of just 37 per cent. The rate is 42 per cent for similar facilities across Ontario.
That’s the lowest rate in the past four years, both in Toronto and across the province. Rather than waking up to the danger posed by influenza spreading in an acute-care setting and taking effective steps to reduce that risk, the province, hospital administrators and health-care workers are failing to protect the public. Continue reading
From Tim O’Shea, on The Doctor Within:
“For those of you who followed the swine flu vaccine hoax of 2009 very carefully through to its demise this past year, there were some important lessons.
Inconsistency followed indiscretion in the media steamroller that tried to shove this imaginary threat through the skin of the American people in the past 2 years. And will all that is said about the dumbing down of Americans, etc., we still resist being oversold on anything. We were simply oversold on the threat of swine flu and the necessity for the vaccine. And so Americans rejected the H1N1 vaccine, with the exception of a few thousand ignorants who would probably inject Drano if the CDC told them they needed it.
A few of the things that didn’t add up in the public mind: Continue reading
From Raine Saunders at Agriculture Society:
Picture via Agriculture Society
“It’s flu and cold season. Do you normally receive a flu vaccine?
If so, you should know there are some risks to getting the injection that might outweigh not getting it, especially if you live a healthy life style that includes consumption of real, whole, traditional foods. A healthy lifestyle supports your immune system, which is the key to avoiding flus, colds, and other illness and disease.
Most doctor’s offices and now other places such as drug stores are offering the flu vaccine on a seasonal basis. Flu shots are so ubiquitous, you can walk into almost any of the following locations to receive one: Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS Pharmacy, Albertson’s/Savon, WalMart, Kroger’s, Meijer, and Publix.
Just like other vaccines, a dead version of the virus is contained within the shot you receive. Inside your body, the vaccine’s main purpose is to stimulate immune system function into reacting as though it has been attacked by the flu virus. Theoretically, this will trigger a production of antibodies that will destroy the real virus when your body is exposed to it. Continue reading
From Steven Reinberg, Health Day/Yahoo News:
The Flu. Photo via Rodale.com
THURSDAY, Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) — Although vaccination against influenza can protect people from illness and help prevent the spread of flu, many Americans say they and their children won’t be getting a shot this coming season, new surveys reveal.
Despite the attention surrounding last year’s outbreak of H1N1 flu, 43 percent of Americans say they will not be getting the vaccine this fall, according to a survey from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID). Continue reading
Here’s a little glimpse into the possibilities of data mining that the Google researchers are looking into. This is from the UK Telegraph story titled “What is Google’s next move?“:
Who's got the flu and where are they? Google knows.
“…Google believes it can track the spread of diseases, such as swine flu or even the common cold, by analysing search data. The Flu Trends website, operated by Google’s charitable division, Google.org, aggregates search information to estimate the levels of flu activity in cities across the US. Continue reading