- BL Fisher Note:
- The vaccine adjuvant, MF59, that NIH
proposes to add to flu vaccine given to the frail elderly, is not licensed
in the U.S. as safe for human use. MF59 contains squalene, which can cause
autoimmunity. Some ill Gulf War veterans, who were given anthrax vaccine
and other experimental vaccines, have tested positive for squalene antibodies
even though the U.S. Department of Defense denies putting the adjuvant
MF59 in anthrax and other vaccines given to soldiers.
- The tragic consequences of experimenting
on America's elderly population by giving them annual flu vaccinations
laced with MF59 will be that, when they develop lupus, rheumatorid arthritis,
asthma or die, it will be written off as old age and unrelated to the squalene
injected into their bodies via flu vaccines. The elderly with as yet unidentified
genetic factors that make them exquisitely vulnerable to squalene-induced
autommunity or death will be the first to go down.
- The suggestion that the notoriously ineffective
flu vaccine be made more toxic by adding squalene to a brew that already
contains mercury is nothing more than a callous disregard for human life.
If Americans do not understand what is being done to them in the name of
disease control and take action, they will be forced one day to be injected
with squalene containing flu vaccines whenever the Secretary of Health
declares an emergency. Go to http://www.nvic.org/ and click on "Liability
Shield Given to Pharma" and read NVIC's letter to Senate staffer Col.
- The Washington Post
- Experts Say Elderly Need Better
- By Lauren Neergaard AP Medical
Mon Apr 17
- WASHINGTON -- Put aside hypothetical
worries about bird flu: Regular flu already kills elderly Americans in
droves every winter because the vaccine simply doesn't work as well inside
aging bodies as young ones.
- The National Institutes of Health wants
to strengthen flu shots destined for the elderly, part of a push to get
the nation to start treating influenza's yearly attack as seriously as
the threat of some super-flu striking in the future.
- The message: Why wait for a pandemic
to benefit from better flu vaccines and treatments?
- "My great frustration (is) in trying
to shake the cage and say, 'We have not, by any means, optimized how we
approach seasonal flu,'" Dr. Anthony Fauci, the NIH's infectious disease
chief, told The Associated Press.
- Topping his do-better list: testing whether
higher vaccine doses or adding immune-boosting compounds to the shots some
of the same compounds already being studied to fight bird flu would improve
the elderly's protection against regular winter influenza.
- In Europe, U.S. flu-shot supplier Chiron
Corp. already sells a revved-up version just for people over age 65. Studies
mostly from Italy suggest that adding a chemical called MF59 to Chiron's
regular flu shot spurs a modestly better immune response in older people,
especially the frail.
- Chiron wouldn't say if it plans to eventually
bring that shot, called Fluad, to the United States; it sells about 20
million doses abroad. Instead, Chiron's U.S. focus has been on testing
whether MF59 could improve experimental vaccines against bird flu.
- But Fluad is among the approaches catching
Fauci's interest as he plans new research into improved elder vaccines.
- Also, at least one well-known vaccine
research center, at St. Louis University School of Medicine, is planning
a study of higher flu vaccine doses for the elderly this fall.
- And NIH recently began recruiting 150
U.S. volunteers to study just which parts of the immune system change as
we age to make flu a more serious threat, basic biological underpinnings
that remain a mystery despite influenza's unrelenting yearly toll.
- Here's the sad irony: Influenza kills
36,000 Americans in an average winter, many more during harsh flu seasons
and people over age 65 make up 90 percent of those deaths. Yet flu vaccine
is less effective in the people who need it most, protecting roughly 60
percent of elderly recipients compared with 75 percent to 90 percent of
young healthy people.
- Just as the body's physical abilities
typically slow with age, the immune system can become sluggish. It's not
impossible to rev it back up. Some earlier research suggests that giving
four to six times the normal dose of a flu vaccine component could double
the elderly's immune response, says Dr. John Treanor, a University of Rochester
- The question is whether pumped-up vaccines
for the elderly would provide enough extra protection to be worth it. Some
previous attempts have found only slight improvements, and souped-up vaccines
cost more to make.
- "Until recently there was a lot
of reluctance to do anything that would make the vaccine more expensive,"
Treanor says, speculating that cost might be a key reason that Chiron debuted
its Fluad shot in Europe.
- A stronger vaccine might also come with
more side effects, cautions Dr. Donald J. Kennedy of St. Louis University.
- Still, there are low-risk strategies
to test. Aside from the simple higher-dose study his university colleagues
are planning, Kennedy wonders if giving seniors a flu shot plus a second
vaccine the FluMist nasal spray made of live but weakened flu virus might
activate different immune pathways to improve protection.
- Ultimately, what may protect the elderly
the most is when flu's main spreaders healthy young people, especially
schoolchildren start getting vaccinated in high-enough numbers to stem
the virus' tide.
- For the first time this fall, all children
from age six months to 5 years will be recommended for a flu shot. Until
now, the government pushed childhood flu vaccine just for chronically ill
youngsters and healthy tots up to age 2.
- Expect even more children to be on the
vaccine list as early as 2007; already under discussion is the 5- to 9-year-old
- And with a record 120 million vaccine
doses expected this year far more than the most ever given, 83 million
doses the government is preparing to encourage inoculations for healthy
20-, 30- and 40-somethings this fall, too.
- Lauran Neergaard covers health and medical
issues for The Associated Press in Washington.