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Old 12-05-2002, 10:53 AM   #1
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Super scary (to me)

Article from msnbc:

http://www.msnbc.com/news/843411.asp

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Smallpox shots cause worrry

Experts startled by array of side effects

By Ceci Connolly
THE WASHINGTON POST

Dec. 5 — As physical specimens, the Baylor University students were fit and healthy, the “crème de la crème,” in the words of researcher Kathy Edwards. Yet when she inoculated them with smallpox vaccine, arms swelled, temperatures spiked and panic spread.

IT WAS the same at clinics in Iowa, Tennessee and California. Of 200 young adults who received the vaccine as part of a recent government study, one-third missed at least one day of work or school, 75 had high fevers, and several were put on antibiotics because physicians worried that their blisters signaled a bacterial infection.
Even for experts such as Edwards, the Vanderbilt University physician overseeing the study, the side effects were startling. “I can read all day about it, but seeing it is quite impressive,” she said. “The reactions we saw were really quite remarkable.”
President Bush is poised to announce plans, perhaps as early as this week, to resume vaccinating Americans against smallpox as part of a massive push to protect the nation from a biological assault. As he weighs the decision, researchers are becoming reacquainted with the unpleasant — often severe — complications of the vaccine.

The experiences in a half-dozen clinical trials offer an early look at what military personnel, hospital workers and other emergency workers will likely encounter if Bush adopts the recommendations of his top health advisers to vaccinate as many as 11 million people in the coming months. What is disconcerting, say the people participating in the clinical trials, is that when it comes to smallpox vaccination, what had once been considered ordinary is rather extraordinary by today’s standards.

TERRIBLY ITCHY
“I just wanted to go to bed for a day or two there,” said Alison Francis, a New York University graduate student who received the vaccine. Francis, 24, said she felt tired and achy after getting her shot. Her arm was heavy, warm to the touch and terribly itchy. “I thought, ‘Can you just chop off my arm?’ ”
Participating in the study was part patriotism and part selfishness, she said. “Now I’m protected.”

Once among the deadliest scourges on earth, smallpox was declared eradicated worldwide in 1981. But growing hostilities with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and others have renewed fears that the virus could be used as a potent, stealthy weapon. Vaccination is surefire protection against the disease, but it is risky. For every 1 million vaccinated, between 15 and 52 people will suffer life-threatening consequences such as brain inflammation, and one or two will die, according to historical data. Pregnant women, babies, people with eczema or weakened immune systems should not receive the vaccine.
Federal health officials have proposed resuming vaccination in stages, beginning with as many as 500,000 hospital workers most likely to see an initial case. Later, as many as 10 million police, fire and medical personnel would be offered the vaccine. The Pentagon hopes to vaccinate 500,000 soldiers.
Over the past year, federal researchers have been testing the 40-year-old vaccine for its safety and potency. None of the 1,500 volunteers has died or been seriously injured by the vaccine. But even the most mundane cases can be disturbing to doctors and patients unaccustomed to the live virus used in the vaccine and its side effects.
Unlike most modern vaccines, the smallpox vaccine is administered by 15 quick pricks that “establish an infection in your skin,” said Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. “There is the immediate discomfort of getting poked in the arm and a range of annoying reactions.”
Within three to four days, a red itchy bump develops, followed by a larger blister filled with pus. In the second week, the blister dries and turns into a scab that usually falls off in the third week. During the three weeks, many people experience flu-like symptoms — aches, fever, lethargy — and terrible itchiness.

‘PRETTY MISERABLE’
“You can’t scratch it; it’s all bandaged up; all I could do was smack it,” said Meg Gifford, a University of Maryland junior who participated in one study. For a weekend, she was “pretty miserable,” suffering from a slight fever, an arm that was hot to the touch and swollen lymph nodes in her armpit.
At the University of Rochester Medical Center, researcher John Treanor saw a wide range of reactions, from a small rash to swelling the size of a grapefruit. About 5 percent of the 170 participants had rashes that spread to other parts of the body. It took time and experience, he said, for the team to get comfortable with the natural course of the vaccine.
“The reactions we are seeing are totally out of line with today’s vaccine experience and absolutely in line with historical experience,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “In the 30 years since we had routine vaccination, the public’s tolerance level has gone way down.”
Maryland researchers have begun a second trial revaccinating older adults to see how much immunity stays in the system. Early indications are that people who have been previously inoculated do not suffer as many severe side effects. “I had a small red mark and that was about it,” said Edward Dudley, 33.
Very few of today’s physicians have administered the vaccine or treated its side effects. Even at the CDC, where health experts work with an array of germs, smallpox vaccinations were briefly halted when 10 people had serious enough reactions to begin antibiotics, said Walter Orenstein, director of the CDC’s National Immunization Program.
“The clinic physician couldn’t decide if this was a normal, primary exuberant take or a bacterial infection,” he said. He added that, in fact, the swollen, itchy, red arms were routine.
As a first-year medical student 33 years ago, Orenstein was so alarmed by the fever, swollen glands and red streak up his arm after he was vaccinated that he went to the emergency room for antibiotics. “I respect this vaccine,” he said.
If Bush moves forward with vaccination, Edwards warns doctors to expect the array of unsightly, unfamiliar complications that will come.
“You are going to have to be prepared to see these individuals and to see really bad takes,” she told state health officers. “You’ll wonder if they are bacterial infections; in some cases the rash will move up the arm and onto the chest. The vaccinee requires a lot of TLC.”

© 2002 The Washington Post Company

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I've gotten alot of vaccines in my life, gotten flu shots, rabies series etc - I'm really not a baby about it. But reading this made my skin crawl and I feel sick to my stomach
I know the disease would be much worse than this, but this is one vax I really really really do not want to get
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Old 12-05-2002, 02:49 PM   #2
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This is no secret. At the site of the vaccine, there is a mini infection, which lasts 21 days. Hence, why everyone with smallpox vaccines has a very distinctive scar!

This is media hysteria at its worst.



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Old 12-05-2002, 03:06 PM   #3
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I had to do a speech on this recently and it scared me seeing all of the photos of what would happen if we dont have the vaccine!!
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Old 12-05-2002, 03:19 PM   #4
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BLSlave,
adamswildhoney,



Quote:
This is media hysteria at its worst.
Please don't be Super scared, or even a little bit ascared.

Melon is right.

I am twenty years your senior and have had many vaccinations. My diminished capacity has nothing to do with vaccinations.

Fear seems to be the "new cottage industry" sweeping the nation.

Go see "Bowling for Columbine" have a laugh, and let go of fear.

It is sad to see nice young people like you being affected by all this hype.
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Old 12-05-2002, 11:40 PM   #5
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Bring on fever and a rash I say.
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Old 12-05-2002, 11:51 PM   #6
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Really?

Quote:
Originally posted by deep

I am twenty years your senior and have had many vaccinations. My diminished capacity has nothing to do with vaccinations.
Are you sure? I thought you were about 50 years older (at least according to your profile.......)
BTW your profile pic cracks me up too


Still don't wanna think about it
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Old 12-06-2002, 12:04 AM   #7
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My clothes are 87 years old.

I am glad my pic cracks you up. Is it my hat?
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Old 12-06-2002, 05:29 AM   #8
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It makes sense....the vaccine is just a small dose of the virus itself so the body fights it off and become immune.

It's pretty gross, but it better than getting the actual virus and getting sicker.
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Old 12-06-2002, 09:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by deep


Go see "Bowling for Columbine"


That was my first thought when I read this article too.
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Old 12-07-2002, 11:01 PM   #10
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methinks this is good advice.


Off I go!
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Old 12-11-2002, 11:12 PM   #11
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60 Minutes II is having a segment on this now.

Very interesting.

It is scaring me a little.






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Old 12-12-2002, 07:59 AM   #12
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*sneaks a peek at Deeps profile*


I would prefer the injection than the disease just dont think about it

I have had so many injections and they really dont bother me not even at the dentist
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Old 12-12-2002, 11:11 AM   #13
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I already had the small pox vaccination (goodness, I’m that old) and my arm still works. Who else has received one?
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Old 12-12-2002, 01:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
I already had the small pox vaccination (goodness, I’m that old) and my arm still works. Who else has received one?
I see I'm in good company with you and deep.

But I have to say, alternative/natural health freak that I am, I would never have a vaccination today, or a flu shot. I believe there are safer, healthier, more effective alternatives, although I'd have to do a lot of research to tell you what they are. I haven't even touched prescription meds or antibiotics in 15 years. BUT, I am also just incredibly interested in alternative health (having observed one of my closest friends put his MS into remission using only nutrition, herbs, supplements, etc.) so for me, exploring other avenues than allopathic medicine is a natural and exciting approach while for others it would be a giant pain in the ass. If so, they should just get a shot. It didn't hurt most of us, although I can't help but look back at my childhood and wonder how those early vaccinations and standard medical treatments for various things might be at the root of some mild but pesky health issues today.
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Old 12-12-2002, 01:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by joyfulgirl
But I have to say, alternative/natural health freak that I am, I would never have a vaccination today, or a flu shot.
Even I enjoy alternative/natural medicine, but I would never tempt fate by not getting my vaccinations. I have never received a reaction to any of the vaccines I have received (I've even gotten the meningitis vaccine), and, as long as I feel healthy at the moment in time, I would not fear the smallpox vaccine either. I sincerely doubt that alternative medicine would ever go up against a smallpox infection and win, nor would I ever be daring enough to test the theory.

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