Every year, my Mom calls and asks me if I got the flu vaccine yet, and every year, I roll my eyes and tell her that unless I’m an immuno-compromised infant or geriatric, I’m not going to be rushing to the nearest clinic. Even amidst last year’s swine flu scare, I never considered giving into fear. (For the record, I haven’t gotten seriously flu-level sick since around 2005.) Turns out I may have dodged a bullet, or rather, a sleeping pill.
Breitbart reported yesterday that the World Heath Organization is investigating claims made by twelve different countries that the Pandemrix vaccine, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline (wow, get a new name please), has been linked to cases of narcolepsy in children.
Though the evidence is far from conclusive, the mere possibility of a connections highlights the risk we pose to ourselves as we attempt to combat a threat like the flu. As the speed of the virus’ mutation increases, so will the rate at which we must develop vaccines to combat it. It seems inevitable then that corners will be cut and risks to our safety may be ignored or missed entirely. I’m not advocating that people avoid vaccinations on baseless fear (like Jenny McCarthy’s absurd claim that vaccines cause autism in children), history has proven their value time and time again (polio, meningitis, rubella, mumps, measles, hepatitis… to name just a few), I’m merely urging close scrutiny of their development and distribution. Vaccines like Pandemrix are made by corporations after all, and what’s the first rule of conspiracy? That’s right kids: Corporations are evil!