Swiss left unimpressed by swine flu policy

Government calls for at-risk individuals to get vaccinated against H1N1 have fallen largely on deaf Swiss ears, with many believing the threat is exaggerated.

Swissinfo.ch

Swiss News Worldwide

A doctor in Bern told swissinfo.ch that the Federal Health Office’s policy was “catastrophic”, and at a drop-in centre for children not one parent could be found who intended to vaccinate either themselves or their children.

“Definitely not,” one mother replied. “For me the side effects of the vaccination haven’t been scrutinised and I’ve heard of people who are allergic to the egg white going into shock.”

In vaccine production, versions of the virus are injected into the embryos of chicken eggs which are then incubated for several months. The egg whites are then extracted and blended into a vaccine.

Pharmaceutical giant Novartis says it has received regulatory approval in Germany for a new swine flu vaccine made using cell cultures instead of egg-based methods. It is now pursuing registration of the vaccine in Switzerland.

“I think it’s crazy how it’s been built up by the media when there are many other diseases that are treated like taboos despite being in my opinion much worse, such as hepatitis. No one talks about them,” the mother went on.

She said she didn’t know anyone who was going to vaccinate their children – “simply because the vaccine hasn’t been thoroughly tested. We also have pregnant women here but none is going to get vaccinated because you don’t know what it could do to the baby.”

Although the government recommends it? “But the government also doesn’t know. The vaccination hasn’t been tested effectively. We don’t know how people are going to react. It’s like a manipulation for money and power whenever a new vaccine comes onto the market – and that bothers me.”

National distrust

A distrust of Big Pharma featured in all the mothers’ responses.

“A fact that stands out for me – and one that’s left a bitter taste – is that the government is working so closely with Daniel Vasella [CEO of Novartis],” said another parent.

“That for me discredits the issue of vaccinating. And I think Vasella’s bonus is high enough [last year his salary plus benefits totalled SFr40.3 million ($40 million)].”

This mother also wasn’t going to vaccinate her child. “I asked the paediatrician and she didn’t think it was necessary for healthy children. To a large extent I think it’s scaremongering.”

A third mother said she was also “fundamentally against vaccines for normal flu”.

These views reflect the national mood. A recent poll for the SonntagsBlick newspaper found that almost nine out of ten respondents didn’t want to get vaccinated. A similar number said they didn’t vaccinate themselves against seasonal flu and just under half said they got a jab when travelling to distant countries.

Almost 60 per cent thought the government had exaggerated its swine flu warning.

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Comment from Leslie

Both Switzerland and Poland have fallen away from the H1N1 ranks this week….the dominoes are beginning to fall.  The US might look pretty foolish if it keeps up the pandemic follies.

Power to the educated of the world; i.e. the people who take the time to educate themselves.

PG

Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.