Experts say H1N1 vaccine is safe

October 15, 2009 2:40:43 PM PDT
Pundits from Rush Limbaugh on the right to Bill Maher on the left have fanned public suspicion of the swine flu vaccine because it was rushed into production."Why let them be the ones to stick a disease into your arm? I'm never getting the swine flu or any vaccine. I don't trust the government especially with my health," offered Maher in a recent interview.

"I won't take it because you're telling me to," said Limbaugh referring to top health officials in the Obama administration.

"The arrogance of those in science and politics lately should give us pause," offered Glen Beck.

But NC Medical Epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore says the talking heads on TV aren't helping slow the spread of swine flu.

"Clearly, it doesn't help our efforts," he said.

Moore says the vaccine is safe and that he and his family will get it when more doses are available.

"Vaccines are not the only way to protect yourself from influenza, but it is the most effective way. We've seen already many more deaths, many more child deaths and many more adult deaths, than we normally would during a normal flu season," he said.

"But not everyone is up for it. A recent abc11.com poll shows 64 percent of people do not plan on getting vaccinated against H1N1. Some moms tell us all the hype has them on the fence.

"I don't want to get into the hysteria of H1N1 and do something rash, but at the same time I want to do the right thing," said parent Kelly Smith.

Another family whose son was seriously ill and whose daughter had a mild case told us they would get the vaccine if they could - knowing what they know now.

And as for the pundits, North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Tom Fetzer told ABC11 that he doesn't think there's any government conspiracy.

"I think if Bill Maher, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck are all in agreement, I think someone needs to check their temperature," he said. "One or more of them may be sick."

"We got to remember that you're in the news business. They are in the entertainment business. If it drives listeners and boosts ratings then that's fine, but we don't have to believe it," he continued.

And Moore says the science behind the flu shot is not new or experimental.

"There's this idea that this is an experimental vaccine - that it was rushed to production - when in fact it's the same vaccine produced by the same manufacturers using the same ingredients as seasonal flu vaccine which has been used safely for decades. The only difference now is that we include the pandemic strain," he said.

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