LETTER: Study shows H1N1 stronger trigger for narcolepsy

In “Reader appalled by factual ignorance” (Picton Gazette Thursday December 12, 2020), Karen Selick makes a number of statements which, ironically, are either wrong or intentionally misleading.

For example. she alleges a link between the 2009 H1N1 swine flu vaccine and narcolepsy. This link has been studied extensively. In one study, the National Institutes of Health states: “The recent study’s findings mean that H1N1 infection, as well as vaccination, can cause narcolepsy. Ahmed explained that the infection causes a greater immune response, and is a stronger trigger for narcolepsy, than the vaccine.” The letter condemns the protection against lawsuits provided to vaccine developers. The US established its vaccine compensation program “after lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers and healthcare providers threatened to cause vaccine shortages and reduce vaccination rates. ”

Presumably, Congress determined that the public interest was best served by the development of vaccines. Complementing this liability protection is the requirement that any new vaccine undergo a rigorous testing program and regulatory review. The letter also claims that the US Health Resources & Services Administration hadn’t “consented to publish statistics” on its vaccine injury compensation program since 2018 (implying that HRSA is hiding something) . HRSA posted the 2020 report on its web site on Dec. 1, 2020 (before Selick’s letter).

The web site also states: “Being awarded compensation for a petition does not necessarily mean that the vaccine caused the alleged injury. In fact: approximately 70 per cent of all compensation awarded by the VICP comes as result of a negotiated settlement between the parties in which HHS has not concluded, based upon review of the evidence, that the alleged vaccine(s) caused the alleged injury.” HRSA reports that compensation is awarded to one in 1,000,000 vaccinations. The Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act does briefly (not “in great detail”) list five conditions that must be reported if they appear following an immunization.

It recognizes that some people may have an adverse reaction to a vaccine and requires that these be reported as a good public health measure.

With the death rate of 406 per million in Canada and climbing every day, what does Selick propose to halt this appalling disease?

David Sutherland

Picton