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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Bird Flu Vaccine Antibiotic, Dangers, and Science

I've previously pointed to BadScience.net and do so again, this time to an interesting piece on the Tamiflu product and, more generally, the anti-vaccine groups.  As he points out, the fundamental basis for many of the criticisms is incorrect -- Tamiflu is not, in fact, a vaccine -- it's an antibiotic.

She tells us of the evils of the measles vaccine (”which caused untold paralysis, damage and death”), and then she tells us how, because vaccines are only able to make your body recognise the appearance of certain strains, and the bird flu virus will change with time, so the drug will become useless: “Why flu drugs don’t work: all flu viruses change antigenically to evade recognition by the host’s immune system.” But Tamiflu, as you know, is not a vaccine.

* * *

[T]his time she has people dying from a vaccine that doesn’t actually exist: “Indeed, the flu shots are worse than useless. Japan has already reported that eight people have died - not from the virus, but from the avian flu jab itself.” Lordy. Good luck jabbing a Tamiflu capsule into your arm. Even better is where they call a virus with a 50% kill rate a pussycat: “At its worst, the avian flu has killed fewer than half the number of poultry workers who have been infected…however, if it truly is as lethal as we have been warned, it surely should have eventually killed everyone it infects.”

One might come up with interesting torts hypotheticals (or perhaps there are actual cases; I haven't checked) on parents who choose not to vaccinate their children and a disease is spread further as a result.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/tortsprof/2006/02/bird_flu_vaccin.html

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