Safety concerns over swine flu vaccine testing - 16 Aug 2009  
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Initial swine flu vaccine safety trials have begun in Germany as part of a program involving 9,000 people in Europe, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

The British government is also considering immunization of the country’s 8.5 million schoolchildren. Meanwhile, hundreds of US citizens are signing up for vaccine test trials in eight cities.

The European Medicines Agency (EMEA), which is licensing the vaccines in Europe, announced that approval will be given to the vaccine before trial results have come in.

The United Kingdom, Greece, France and Sweden have similarly indicated that they plan to begin implementing the vaccines prior to final trial results.

However, this news has raised the concern of experts. Speaking of the potential hazards of using vaccines without sufficient testing, Head of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Influenza Program,
Dr. Keiji Fukuda, stated, “One of the things which cannot be compromised is the safety of vaccines.”

In documented swine flu cases that do not reflect the vast number of actual incidents worldwide, 227,562 persons have now been afflicted across 168 countries and territories, with 2,073 fatalities.

With nearly a three-fold increase to  156 recorded cases in just 10 days, Russia announced a plan to spend US$10.7 million to counter the flu.

Surges in new cases include Portugal, with 150 diagnosed in just a 24-hour period for a total of 884 and Lebanon, where 316 of 476 people total have fallen ill since the beginning of the month.

Death tolls have been rising across India, Queensland, Australia, and Saudi Arabia. An eight-year-old girl became the first fatality in Madagascar, and Hong Kong reported a second case resistant to the anti-viral medicine Tamiflu, which is now the seventh worldwide.

Our appreciation World Health Organization and international health officials for your ongoing efforts to respond to the pandemic. We offer heartfelt sympathies for the still-rising numbers of succumbed loved ones and pray for those trying to recover.

In these insecure times surrounding both flu and vaccine, may Heaven watch over us in looking to our own lifestyles, namely the replenishing plant-based diet, as the safest preventive step for all.