The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Taking a more conservative stance on swine flu.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:05 am on Sunday, July 26, 2009

I was reading the news today and found the Europe is fast-tracking the swine flu vaccine as to get it available sooner than normal.  PC is all for vaccinations, and if you have been a loyal reader for awhile, you know that I give thousands of shots each year.  THAT being said however, all of those shots have been properly tested prior to distribution.

Pharmacy Chick isn’t completely convinced that we need a fast-tracked vaccine for swine flu.  As it has been reported,  this flu, while rather virulent, isn’t particularily deadly. In fact, most people have recovered nicely and many of those that have perished (not to diminish that some HAVE died) have been more succeptible to illness. 

We have already seen the impact of unintended consequences of drugs that have side effects noted long after introduction: Bextra, Vioxx, Rezulin, etc.  But when we inject a vaccine, we cannot UN-inject it.  Its in there, and immediately upon injection starts doing its work.  I am firmly of the stance that properly manufactured and tested vaccines are the only ones we should be confident in distributing.  In fact,  we should never produce ANYthing fast tracked for general distribution.  If you want to run a trial on the med for diseased patients, fine. But safety should be first in all circumstances.

No short cuts,  No fast tracking. 

And, THAT is how I stand.


Comment by Mickey Blue Eyes

July 27, 2009 @ 6:10 am

On a tangential subject, I was disappointed when Vioxx was pulled from the market. It was very effective on my sciatica. One tablet eased the pain to a level that I could move around.

When it was pulled due to cardiovascular issues, I was concerned until I read that the people affected had been taking it daily for over six months. I only took it one or two days a month when I had a really bad sciatica flare-up.

I have not found anything since that worked as well as Vioxx.

Comment by Mickey Blue Eyes

July 27, 2009 @ 6:16 am

On the subject, however, fast tracking the vaccine can be a good thing, but with provisions. If the paperwork is given top priority so it doesn’t sit on someone’s desk for 6+ months before they even look at it is a good thing.

However, if by fast tracking they don’t do the necessary clinical trials, they need to do two things, IMHO:

1. Put a giant tobacco-warning-sized label on the documentation provided to the patient saying that this vaccine was not given all the proper testing that it should have.

2. Release, or at least limit, the liability of the manufacturer for damages caused by the vaccine. A government that approves a drug before it has been properly tested per their own standards should take responsibility for damages they create.

Comment by Bluegill

July 28, 2009 @ 4:24 am

My hospital is one of the few testing the virus and announced in the managers meeting that once the H1N1 vaccine is approved, it will be required to get 2 flu shots. scares me a little. more than a little.
I know that wiggs me out a bit too from a work load perspective. company has cut labor and if we get both flu vaccines in, we will be giving 3 shots to everybody who wants to be properly vaccinated, instead of 1. I’m gonna die.

Comment by chris

July 28, 2009 @ 5:08 am

I bet the government official that decided that has got no medical background and has been ‘advised’ by the drug companies. I bet the reduction in the amount of testing required wont result in a reduction in the cost of the drug.

Comment by Pattie, RN

July 29, 2009 @ 8:42 am

I share your concern. For us “older” folks who can remember 1976, the swine flu vaccine given that year was horrid, and was actually much worse than the virus itself. In fact, I stopped all ‘flu shots in 1976, until I got the seasonal ‘flu in 1998 was praying for death. Haven’t missed a shot since, but even though the vaccine is now attenuated (it was live in ’76) I do have issues with an untested vaccine–especially when it is being given to pregnant women!

Comment by Andrea

July 30, 2009 @ 7:45 am

PC, did you get a flu shot last year, and if yes, are you planning on getting one (or the series, whatever it might be) this year?
I thought they always had to decide what to put in the vaccine months ahead of flu season. It doesn’t surprise me that they would release the vaccine earlier if they already knew which specific strains they wanted to target.
And FYI, I got my shot last year, and I will get mine this year as well.
I get a flu shot every year, mainly because of the close contact I am in with thousands of sick people and also because I am an immunizer and its recommended. Its just a good idea. People often forget that they do not get vaccines solely so they do not GET the diesease, but so they do not GIVE it to somebody else…. They DO decide ahead of time what to put into the vaccine because it takes months to grow, but they are also required to do the necessary testing in order to make sure its properly made and safe. They already know the strain they want to make but they are fast tracking it more so than normal flu vaccine.

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