Student flu shots causing controversy

H1N1: beggars can’t be choosers

COLBY QUALLS – Hoof Prints Staff

The H1N1 virus, a.k.a. the swine flu, has been a recent pandemic that has shook the nation.  Nearly 5,000 deaths worldwide have been attributed to this disease.  Fortunately, a vaccination has been created for distribution.  An even more fortunate aspect is the fact that students will have the opportunity to receive this vaccination free of charge at schools. You would think that many people would be elated at the idea of this prospect.  The sad truth is that many refuse to accept this preventative.

Circulating through the masses is the rumor that this vaccination has more negative side-effects than positive ones. I am surprised though that many people take this “rumor” as being a valid, medical truth. How could anyone wholly trust information that was spread from chain messages, e-mails and mass forwards? This gossip about the vaccination being harmful is concocted by paranoid people who have created a mass hysteria. Even if there was some validity to this rumor, what does it matter? I think I would prefer to deal with these so called “side-effects” than death from not taking a preventative.

If you ask me, I believe every student should receive an inoculation of this vaccination if they wish to attend school. Schools are the breeding grounds for such viruses. If students continue to attend school unprotected, then the disease will only spread and affect more people. This year alone, there has been a dramatic spike in the number of absences since so many students have been sick.

It seems very hypocritical for people not to accept the vaccination.  For months, people have rallied for vaccinations to be produced as fast as possible. We have pushed the science and medical fields to spend all available resources in order to create this preventative yet when they become available, we refuse to accept them. Do we distrust doctors who spend a lifetime of service and who have a professional degree so much that we won’t save ourselves from a possible death? I certainly hope not. Their efforts have been diligent to save us and please us.

Like most controversial issues, one of the sides has been fueled by fear and paranoia. The obvious side that has used these tactics is the side against receiving the vaccination. The best evidence supporting their side has been speculation and guess-work. Their so called statistics do not provide any revelation in this issue.

Any person can bend facts in order to slant the way something is interpreted. The best way to weed through this mess is to use what each person has been given, common sense. Thomas Paine’s Common Sense was a wake-up call during a time when people used fear to restrain people from winning independence. If only Thomas Paine was still alive to use his pen to persuade people to use their brain in this crisis. Hopefully, people will learn that beggars can’t be choosers.

H1N1 vaccine risks could outweigh benefits

MEGAN MISNER – Hoof Prints Staff

The swine flu (H1N1) has stirred up a lot of trouble for all countries. There has been a lot of misunderstanding as well. Now they finally have a vaccine for the H1N1, but is it worth it?

The vaccine is fairly new. There are four approved vaccines for treatment of the flu and they each vary by age and other factors.

The vaccine has different effects on different people, of course. Some effects during administration are general, such as pain, redness, swelling, etc. There also the systematic side effects, such as malaise, chills, nausea, vomiting, fever, etc.

The major issue involving the H1N1 vaccine is that the vaccine is believed to lead to Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS). GBS was a wide-spread problem during the 1976 swine flu. It was believed to be linked with the swine flu vaccine. Guillan-Barre syndrome is a syndrome in which the body’s immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system and can be life threatening. Aside from the harsh symptoms, there is no proven cure for GBS. With that being said, GBS could be caused by the H1N1 vaccine. Should the risk be taken then? Knowing that the H1N1 vaccine could lead to GBS, I don’t believe the risk is worth it.

The vaccine has been tested in a variety of people. In Australia, 240 volunteers were tested. Approximately 44% of the participants in the Australia testing reported mild side effects within seven days of receiving the vaccine. Almost all volunteers, 86%, reported adverse reactions after the H1N1 shot.

I have also read that the swine flu rate has dropped. The flu isn’t spreading as quickly as it once was. There are now fewer cases. Knowing that my chances of contracting the swine flu aren’t as likely, and after hearing the risks involved with the vaccine, I don’t believe I will take my chances with the vaccine. Also, the vaccine could make you sick after administration. I have seen many people who are sick for several days after receiving the vaccine. I don’t believe I will receive the vaccine if I am just going to be sick anyway.

Another major issue with the H1N1 vaccine is the type of administration. The flu shots are being administered so quickly in vast numbers that they cannot produce single shots for everyone. Therefore, there is another method of vaccination that they have come to. They are using multi-dose vials to deliver the H1N1 vaccine to large numbers of the population. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to take the risk of using the same vial as someone else. That could pose to be more harmful than the swine flu itself. Who knows what diseases, or anything of that sort, that the other people who were shot with the same vial obtain?

Knowing now all of the effects of the H1N1 vaccine, I can assure you I will not risk receiving the vaccine. I am not taking that chance. I believe I am just as healthy without the vaccine as I am with the vaccine. If the number of cases is declining, then I am probably not going to contract the H1N1 virus. I just believe that the H1N1 vaccine is a total waste.