Did you find it hard to make those decisions?

An electron microscope close-up image of the new swine flu virus An electron microscope close-up image of the new swine flu virus. Courtesy Center for Disease Control

Imagine you’re the director of the Center for Disease Control, the US government’s top job for handling public health concerns.

Suddenly you’re faced with a new strain of flu, and must make a series of decisions over the course of a year on how to handle the outbreak. What will you do? Test your decision-making ability to handling a possible flu crisis. See how your decisions compare with others who’ve tried this activity.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Bette Schmit's picture
Bette Schmit says:

It was difficult to make these decisions. There just wasn't enough information for me to feel confident about the choices I was asked to make. I feel for public health decision makers who must make quick decisions based on limited data and in a rapidly developing scenario. I guess serving the greater good mean accepting adverse reactions in a few. Right? That can't feel good.

posted on Tue, 05/12/2009 - 11:20am
Jewel5797's picture
Jewel5797 says:

People need to just calm down. It may kill but if you keep your hands clean you shouldn't have a problem with it.

posted on Wed, 05/13/2009 - 8:15pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Well I beilieve that keeping you hands clean is a big part of being healthy.

posted on Thu, 05/14/2009 - 11:11am
Starburst's picture
Starburst says:

Well I agree with all of these comments. People really do need to slow down and think about how to keep healthy without making rash decisions. The government was definitely in a difficult situation in 1976, but their hasty commitments to action ultimately prevented us from digging deeper into the recurring swine flu problem.

posted on Sat, 05/16/2009 - 2:22pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Most people do not realize that vaccine manufacturers are exempt from financial liability for their products. A tax is collected on every vaccine sold in the U.S., which goes into a fund ostensibly for vaccine injury victims. Unfortunately the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program awards few claimants and has become adversarial, contrary to its original intent. Journalists should be investigating whether the NVICP fund is being used by the U.S. Department of Justice to pay expert witnesses who testify against claimants. In addition, consumers should be aware of concerns about whether the increasing numbers of required and recommended vaccines are being adequately studied short- and long-term. Consumers should also read about problems caused by squalene adjuvant material, which is slated for use in the next mass-produced swine flu shot; see the book "Vaccine A" by former NBC war correspondent Gary Matsumoto.

posted on Tue, 06/23/2009 - 7:24pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

was there really negative effects from the vaccination? What was the problem? How would they change it?

posted on Sat, 07/04/2009 - 8:46am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I did find the decisions hard to make. Maybe there whould have been more options. I find the situation with the pandemic very scary. I travel a lot too.

posted on Sun, 07/05/2009 - 2:24pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

so wat is h1n1 really from

posted on Sat, 09/05/2009 - 2:56pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

The flu vaccines each year contain the preservative Thimerosol, which is over 50% mercury, the most toxic heavy metal. Over time, this mercury can accumulate in blood and brain, causing irreversible brain and nerve damage, and can even cause cancer. A baby receives over 36 new immunizations in its first 2 years of life, all containing Thimerosol. The dose it receives the day it is born is enough to poison a full grown adult. Hence, we have Autism.

posted on Wed, 10/07/2009 - 3:47pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

This is not good information. I only see one correct "fact": some flu vaccines do contain Thimerosal.

Not all flu vaccines contain Thimerosal. (Thimerosal-free versions of the shot are available, and FluMist--the nasal spray vaccine--contains not only no Thimerosal but no preservatives at all.) Thimerosal does contain mercury, but it is not "over 50% mercury."

Further, all mercury is not the same. According to the Vaccine Information Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia,

"Mercury is a naturally occurring element found in the earth's crust, air, soil and water. Since the earth's formation, volcanic eruptions, weathering of rocks and burning of coal have caused mercury to be released into the environment. Once released, certain types of bacteria in the environment can change mercury to methylmercury. Methylmercury makes its way through the food chain in fish, animals and humans. At high levels, it can be toxic to people.

Thimerosal contains a different form of mercury called ethylmercury. Studies comparing ethylmercury and methylmercury suggest that they are processed differently in the human body. Ethylmercury is broken down and excreted much more rapidly than methylmercury. Therefore, ethylmercury (the type of mercury in the influenza vaccine) is much less likely than methylmercury (the type of mercury in the environment) to accumulate in the body and cause harm."

The CDC recommended childhood vaccination schedule includes 36 immunizations in the first six years of a child's life, and that assumes that a child receives a yearly influenza vaccination, with a second dose the first year.

Further, Thimerosal has not been used in any pediatric vaccines licensed for use in the US except the influenza vaccine since 2001. So a baby does not receive "36 new immunizations in its first year of life, all containing Thimerosal."

Even before 2001, infants were supposed to receive three vaccines that contained Thimerosal. The maximum possible cumulative dose of Thimerosal contained in those three vaccines was 187.5ug by six months of age, which exceeded the EPA recommended guideline for exposure by body weight (although not the Agency for Toxic Substance Disease Registry or the Food and Drug Administration guidelines). So in 1999, in an abundance of caution, the Public Health Service agencies, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the vaccine manufacturers agreed that Thimerosal should be reduced or eliminated in vaccines. Since 2001, the preservative is no longer contained in any childhood vaccine except for the flu shot.

And, lastly, hundreds of well-designed scientific studies that looked at hundreds of thousands of children in many countries over decades have found no link whatsoever between Thimerosal in vaccines and autism. Rates of autism diagnosis have not declined since the removal of Thimerosal from childhood vaccines. Symptoms of mercury poisoning are different than the symptoms of autism. And because methylmercury is present in low levels in the environment, it's also present in food, water, and, by extension, breast milk. Again, according to the Vaccine Education Center,

"An infant who is exclusively breastfed will ingest more than twice the quantity of mercury that was ever contained in vaccines and fifteen times the quantity of mercury contained in the influenza vaccine."

posted on Thu, 10/08/2009 - 10:33am

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