H1N1 (photo: CDC)
Defense officials are preparing a plan to vaccinate military personnel against the swine flu – and the vaccines will be mandatory for every active-duty soldier, sailor, airman and Marine.
“We’ll be getting vaccine the same time the highest priority groups are receiving their vaccine,” Army Lt. Col. Wayne Hachey, director of preventive medicine and surveillance in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, told Government Executive.
The H1N1 vaccinations are expected to begin in October – unless officials determine decide it should include an adjuvant – an additive used to increase immune response. In such case, H1N1 vaccines may not be available until November or December.
According to the report, several dozen infected troops who had been deployed to Iraq earlier this summer were held in isolation in Kuwait until they recovered from the illness. Also, the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs reported more than 100 cases of suspected H1N1 in one week in July.
“After the first week [officials there] stopped it cold,” Hachey told Government Executive. “That’s one clear advantage the DOD has – noncompliance [with public health directives] is not an option.”
The Department of Defense buying its own stock of vaccine through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. At least 2.7 million doses have been ordered and will be used to provide two injections each to approximately 1.35 million people, he said.
The report states that troops and key civilians who are considered most vulnerable – including service members who are deployed overseas, recruits in training, sailors and Marines aboard ships at sea and health workers – will receive the first round of vaccinations. All military personnel on active duty and activated reservists will be required to receive the vaccination.
“Any place where we take people and cluster them pretty tightly and put them under stressful conditions, those are the people we want to protect first,” Hachey said.
Military families will have the option to receive the H1N1 vaccine under a separate delivery plan executed through the Department of Health and Human Services, according to the report. As with civilian communities, first access will be granted to health-care workers and vulnerable groups, including pregnant women, those younger than 25 or older than 65 and people with pre-existing health conditions.
Hachey told Government Executive that the Department of Defense has been preparing for an influenza pandemic for several years and has large stockpiles of gowns, gloves, masks, needles and 8 million antiviral treatments.
As WND reported, although White House science advisers have warned that up to 90,000 Americans might die from H1N1 during the coming flu season, the head of the CDC responded by telling the public to ignore such a high mortality estimate, saying the current H1N1 couldn’t kill that many people without mutating.
Use of a similar swine flu vaccine in the United States in 1976 resulted in 25 people suffering from severe paralysis and dying from respiratory failure after being injected with the vaccine – more than the number of lives claimed from the virus itself.
Additionally, the vaccine is said to contain thimerosal, a preservative ingredient composed of mercury.
The FDA states, “Thimerosal has been removed from or reduced to trace amounts in all vaccines routinely recommended for children 6 years of age and younger, with the exception of inactivated influenza vaccine.”
Thimerosal has been linked to Guillain-Barre syndrome, or GBS – a serious disorder that occurs when the body’s immune system
mistakenly attacks the nervous system and may result in death.
In 1976, health officials found nearly 500 cases of GBS, and the vaccine was withdrawn 10 weeks after the link with GBS was suspected. Following the 1976 vaccination against swine flu in the U.S., a retrospective study found a likely eight-fold increase in the incidence of GBS.
Now that the nation is preparing for another round of H1N1 flu shots, the Oregonian reported that the federal government is urging neurologists to keep a close watch for new cases of GBS.
In a study conducted at the University of Hong Kong, the British
Medical Journal reported that less than half of 8,500 doctors and
nurses in public hospitals will accept vaccination against the swine
flu – even following increases in the World Health Organization’s
pandemic alert level.
The study revealed, “The major barriers identified were fear of side effects and doubts about efficacy.”
According to the following report by Russia Today, investigative journalist
Wayne Madsen revealed that even scientists who helped develop a vaccine
for small pox are saying they will not take the vaccine and urging
friends and family to refrain from taking the injection as well:
Nonetheless, federal authorities are preparing to launch a
nationwide campaign to convince Americans to get the swine flu vaccine,
the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Government officials have
expressed concern that public demand for immunization will not be high
“Many parents (in focus groups) expressed a lot of concerns
about 2009 H1N1 vaccine. Those concerns were centered around the fact
that it was new and it was being developed quickly,” said Kris Sheedy,
a communications director with the National Center for Immunization and
Respiratory Diseases. “There were comments such as ‘this is new and I
don’t want my child to be a guinea pig.’”
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the government will spend
“about $16 million on outreach to convince people of the need to get
the swine flu vaccine.”
As WND reported,
alarmist language over possible outbreaks of swine flu as well as a
series of moves by the federal government are fueling fears federal
agents will soon be forcing citizens to be vaccinated – prompting the
Constitution Party to launch a pre-emptive defense against any such
Barbara Loe Fischer, president of the National Vaccine Information Center, warned that Americans must become educated about vaccination, influenza, vaccine risks and public health laws in their states.
“Every pharmaceutical drug, including vaccines, carries a risk. And those risks are greater for some than others,” she said. “In this time of fear, we can’t let that fear take away our freedom to make voluntary health decisions. The human right to informed consent to medical risk taking gives citizens the power to make sure that the cure is not more dangerous than the disease.”