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H1N1 Vaccine Doesn’t Cause Paralysis, Says WHO

Olivia Olarte
Filed on December 10, 2009

ABU DHABI — Health officials scotched rumours about the vaccine against H1N1, including fears it causes paralysis, during a public forum on crisis prevention and emergency conduct during a pandemic on Tuesday.

Dr Keiji Fukuda, special advisor on pandemic influenza to the Director-General of the World Health Organisation, told reporters on the sidelines of the forum in the capital that the global health body was in very close contact with the safety monitoring and regulatory agencies of countries using the vaccines and to date there are no recorded side effects, such as paralysis.

“I think there’s a confusion between the concern people are raising and what is really factual, and the fact is that a lot of people have been vaccinated and have been monitored very carefully and have not detected any Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS),” said Fukuda.

GBS is a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system causing weakness in the legs and can progress into paralysis. “After 150 million doses have been distributed, and once you get to that level of use, we have a very good chance of seeing a lot of potential side effects,” Fukura said.

“GBS typically appears four to six weeks after vaccination and the peak period probably between six to eight weeks.... (But) with the current vaccine, we have not seen it and the level of watchfulness is very high.”

He also assured the unlikelihood of the future negative impact of the vaccination. “People with some immunity against infectious diseases fare usually better than those unprotected.

“Countries and individuals have many options, including vaccination, and should base their decisions on credible, scientific and balanced information.”

With regard to the rumours that the H1N1 virus was created intentionally to spread panic, Fukuda said, “There was no scientific evidence to indicate that the virus is a non-virus or created by a laboratory.”

olivia@khaleejtimes.ae





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