The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has tabulated estimates of the toll the 2009 H1N1 pandemic took in the United States. The numbers are sobering and require no additional comments. The CDC tabulated the numbers through direct observation in 62 counties covering 13 metropolitan areas of 10 states, which were then extrapolated to the entire US Population. So without further ado, here is what the 2009 H1N1 pandemic did in the US.
- Total Cases – 60,837,748 (yep, millions) which break down as such:
- 0-17 years – 19,501,004
- 18-64 years – 35,392,931
- 65+ years – 5,943,813
- Hospitalizations – 274, 304 which break down as such:
- 0-17 years – 86,813
- 18-64 years – 160,229
- 65+ years – 27,263
- Deaths – 12, 469 which break down as such:
- 0-17 years – 1,282
- 18-64 years – 9,565
- 65+ years – 1,621
So, to put this in perspective. If you’re a 30-year-old such as myself, over 9,500 of our peers have died; 1,282 of our children are dead, and 1,621 of our parents are gone, all due solely to H1N1 flu. Chances are then, there is someone out there who lost his spouse, child and one parent to this disease. Makes you think twice about not vaccinating no?
Cause of death –H1N1 (Swine Flu)
Vaccination Status – Unvaccinated
What happened – Raymond Plotkin, was a freshman at the University of New Mexico. He was studying to become an engineer. He started class in August 2009 as a freshman interested in Chemical and Nuclear Engineering. He enjoyed his roommates and living in a dorm as part of the Engineering Living Learning Community. In 2009 he had the regular flu shot, but due to shortages of the vaccine, he wasn’t able to get the H1N1 vaccine.
While Raymond had health issues growing up, he had no problems in the last couple of years, according to family members. Doctors told the family they do not believe underlying health problems contributed to his death
He died on Wednesday evening of November 11, 2009, four days after being admitted in the hospital. Said Raymond’s mother:
“It was a terrible tragedy. It could have been prevented had there been vaccine,”
“We are strongly recommending that because Raymond couldn’t take his shot last year, that this year everyone, that whether you’re a child, adult, parent, grandparent, we all take one for Raymond,”
People are getting complacent about H1N1. Please remember what happened to Raymond and get both the seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccines as soon as you can.
Raymond’s family has set up a scholarship fund in honor of Raymond’s memory. The first scholarship was awarded to Sean Chavez, a 2010 graduate of Albuquerque High School and computer engineering student at UNM.
For more information about the fund, please contact Susan Georgia, UNM School of Engineering Development Office at 505 – 277-0664; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributions can be sent to:
UNM Foundation/Raymond Plotkin Fund
ATTN: Susan Georgia, Development Office
UNM School of Engineering
Centennial Engineering Center
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131 – 0001
My deepest condolences go to Raymond’s family. I am very sorry for your loss.
Cause of death – Complications from H1N1
Vaccination Status – Unvaccinated
What happened – In November 2009, Jessica Holt’s older son, Joey Holt, was sent home from school with a 103-degree fever. He complained of a stomach ache. Two days later, she took him to see a doctor, who sent them home with a prescription for antibiotics and a recommendation for fluids and rest.
That night, Joey kept vomiting. His skin was pale and felt like an ice cube, his mother said. She called 911. En route to the hospital, Holt watched as Joey’s heart rate dropped from 150 to 50 beats a minute.
He said, “I love you, Mama. Hold my hand.”
Then, “he was gone,” Holt said.
“If I had gotten my son Joey vaccinated, maybe he’d be here right now,” Holt said. “You don’t want to walk in my shoes. I live every day with that regret: Why didn’t I do it?”
My heart goes out to Jessica and her family; I am very sorry for your loss.
The European Medicines Agency, a decentralised agency of the European Union, located in London, which is responsible for the scientific evaluation of medicines developed by pharmaceutical companies for use in the European Union, reports through a press release dated 09/23/10, that after reviewing all the available data and reports on the supposed link between the swine flu vaccine, Pandemrix, and the sleeping disorder of narcolepsy, that “the available evidence was insufficient to determine whether there is any link between Pandemrix and reports of narcolepsy, and that further studies were necessary to fully understand this issue.”
Pandemrix was used in Europe during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, at which time up to 30 Millions Europeans received the vaccine. This year, up to September 17, 2010, 81 reports suggestive of a connection between the vaccine and narcolepsy were collected. The Committee maintains that so far the risk-benefit of the vaccine is still positive and no restrictions in use are necessary.
It is important to keep in mind however, that the EMA Committee is not saying that there is no connection between Pandemrix and narcolepsy, but only that the current evidence is insufficient to establish a causal relationship between the two. They caution that more research is needed to reach solid conclusions. In fact, they are continuing the analysis and review of the reports received.
The ongoing review is complex and will take some three to six months to complete. The Agency is working with experts from across the European Union to carefully scrutinise all available reports. Owing to a potential overlap of narcolepsy symptoms with several other neurological and psychiatric disorders, diagnosis is very often not confirmed until several years after symptom onset.
The number of reports of narcolepsy that occurred in children in some countries seems to be higher than expected in comparison with data from previous years. However, there are many uncertainties in the available information that need to be clarified. These include a possibility that earlier diagnoses of narcolepsy have contributed to this apparent increase. Also, the influenza pandemic itself may have contributed to a change in the rates of narcolepsy. These factors need to be assessed before firm conclusions can be drawn.
The ongoing review will require new observational (epidemiological) research in order to reach any firm conclusions on whether there is a link between Pandemrix and narcolepsy.
As part of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a report titled “Preliminary Results: Surveillance for Guillain-Barré Syndrome After Receipt of Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent Vaccine — United States, 2009–2010“. This publication reports on an analysis of preliminary data, the focus of which was to look for any signs of increased risk of GBS rates among individuals receiving the 2009 monovalent H1N1 vaccine in the United States.
Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a rare neurological disorder (affecting about 1.65 and 1.79 in 100,000) in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. On some occasions, it has been identified to be triggered by surgery or vaccination. For example, as has been widely reported, especially by the anti-vaccination crowd, the 1976 influenza A (H1N1) vaccine was associated with a statistically significant increased risk for GBS of over 10 cases per million, and it appears that some vaccines may account for a slight overall increase in GBS risk.
Given the history with the 1976 H1N1 vaccine, the CDC has been closely monitoring the 2009 H1N1 vaccines, through its Emerging Infections Program (EIP) since October 2009. Preliminary results of this analysis show an excess of 0.8 cases of GBS for 1,000,000 vaccinations, similar to the rate for seasonal influenza vaccines. If this holds up when the full review is released some time in the Fall of 2010, it would mean that the 2009 H1N1 vaccine will be associated with an 8% increase over the expected GBS rate of 1 in 100,000.
To put things in perspective, while the H1N1 vaccine may be associated with less than 1 additional case of GBS per million vaccines, the disease it protects from, H1N1 influenza has been associated with 9.7 deaths per million. According to Wikipedia, 80% of GBS patients recover fully, which means that of the 0.8 additional cases per million vaccination, only about 0.16 will have permanent effects (including paralysis and death). To put this further into perspective, if this association holds, we should expect about 16 cases of additional GBS with permanent side effects, for every 100,000,000 vaccinations. At the same time the death rate from influenza A (H1N1) would be at about 970. And if that is not enough perspective, according to this study, the mortality rate, at least for the period 2000-2004 was at 2.58 %, whereas Wikipedia estimates overall mortality rate to be at around 4%. Using the larger number, the 4% from Wikipedia, if the association holds at the same level, we would expect an additional 3.2 vaccine induced GBS deaths versus 970 influenza H1N1 deaths, per 100 million people.
Even if the H1N1 vaccine is only 50% effective in preventing H1N1 influenza, that’s still 485 saved lives vs. 3.2 additional deaths. This overwhelmingly shows that vaccinating for influenza A (H1N1) is to be highly preferred vs. not vaccinating, since the chances of any one person dying from influenza would be about 151 times higher than dying from vaccine induced GBS. To put it differently, every person that chooses not to vaccinate for H1N1 out of fear of dying of vaccine induced GBS, is effectively choosing to take a risk of dying from the disease 151 times higher than the one they are afraid of (and this is only at an assumed 50% vaccine efficacy rate)! That is kind of like preferring to jump out of the 10th floor of a building because you’re afraid you may break your leg jumping out of the first floor window.