Six bad reactions to swine flu vaccine in Canada: official (Update)

Nov 24, 2009

Six severe allergic reactions to swine flu vaccinations have been observed in Canada, health authorities said Tuesday, adding that all of the individuals are feeling better.

All of the cases of anaphylactic shock were linked to a single batch or 172,000 doses of Aprepanrix vaccines made by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) distributed starting November 2, said Caroline Grondin, a spokeswoman for Canada's health ministry.

Distribution of the batch to six provinces -- British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Prince Edward Island -- was halted, she said.

But she could not say how many doses had been used before distribution was suspended.

The health ministry believes the number of adverse reactions is abnormally high and has asked officials to investigate. One allergic reaction in 100,000 doses is the currently accepted norm.

Anaphylactic shock is a severe, rapid and sometimes fatal allergic reaction to a foreign substance such as a vaccine, shellfish or insect venom. Symptoms include difficulty breathing and a sudden drop in blood pressure.

It is a serious medical issue, said Grondin, but anyone who received the vaccines and did not have a reaction should not worry.

The A(H1N1) vaccine is safe and effective, she insisted. "The fact that we've uncovered problem with a specific batch shows that our monitoring system works," Grondin told AFP.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which first alerted health authorities of potential problems with this batch of vaccines, has not changed its recommendations regarding swine flu vaccines.

These remain, according to the WHO, the most effective way to fight the virus, which has killed some 6,750 people worldwide since it first appeared in March.

(c) 2009 AFP

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donavanbadboy
5 / 5 (2) Nov 24, 2009
So there's a 1/200,000 chance of death from the vaccine and according to an expert in the US:

"Ranney estimated that according to the number of H1N1 cases in the U.S., the chances of getting it are about one in 23,000, and the chances of dying from it are about one in 10 million."

Errr, so 1/10,000,000 chance of dying from the flu it's self and 1/200,000 chance of dying from having the vaccine? I'de rather take my chances with the flu!
Smellyhat
not rated yet Nov 24, 2009
I do not know whether the author of this wire item knew that the 'unusual number of severe reactions' in this case was 4, but one would hope that this context was not omitted on purpose. It is not at all clear yet if there was even anything wrong with the batch of vaccines; such a number is very close to being indistinguishable from noise.

@donavanbadboy:

The purpose of taking the vaccine is not to avoid dying from the H1N1 virus. The purpose of taking it is to halt the spread of the virus, and to avoid transmitting it to others whom may subsequently be sickened or die.
Velanarris
not rated yet Nov 24, 2009
H1N1 is not scary. If anything it's more tame than the seasonal flu.

I was a big fan of all the comparisons to the flu in the early 1900's. You know, back when we didn't have antibiotics, virology, or IV fluids.
cethier
5 / 5 (1) Nov 24, 2009
This story is alarmism at its worst.

I am Canadian and the reality is that 6 people had an allergic reaction from which they fully recovered.

The rate of allergic reactions is normally 1 in 100000 and for this one batch of vaccine it was 1 in 20000.

With stories spun like this, is it any wonder why people are scared to get vaccinated?