Among the information I learned today at the National Vaccine Information Center’s Fourth International Public Conference were the following:
-The majority of flu-like illnesses — 86% — are not caused by the influenza virus. The flu vaccine addresses only 14% of flu-like illnesses that are, in fact, caused by the influenza virus (as opposed to other viruses or bacteria) (from Peter Doshi’s talk)
-There have been only a small number of trials of the new H1N1 vaccine on pregnant women and on children. There has been no formal study of potential for fetal harm. Trials all had adjuvants, but the H1N1 given to people en masse will not. Thimerosal will be in the vaccine unless patients specifically request a Thimerosal-free vaccine.
-Last year there were 171 child deaths from the flu in general. So far this year there have been 48 child deaths from H1N1 out of 600 total deaths in the U.S. (3,900 worldwide in 191 countries). Predictions in August expected 90,000 deaths from H1N1. (from Vicky Debold’s talk)
-The Gardasil vaccine has an unknown duration of protection and only postpones the possibility of cervical cancer and does not prevent it (from Diane Harper’s talk).