Biblitz delivers advise

ASK Biblitz about Swine Flu (H1N1).

'As the wages of fear accrue to pharmaceutical companies, Americans are made into a captive market for vaccines of questionable worth.'

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Hey Leo. You're an old fart like me. Where's your money on the H1N1 flu shot? Are you lining up with the huddled masses or are you a gambler like your pal Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls?

Biblitz replies:

Old fart, indeed, you pie-faced young upstart! Keep your wind in your sails!

However, since you've asked, I shall take my chances without risking infection from the huddled masses and, even better, without enriching the pharmaceuticals that stand to profit substantially from such a transaction.


First of all, it doesn't sound like much of a risk, frankly:

Yahoo News

Experiencing the H1N1 flu: Personal tales of fatigue, fever, body aches

Canadian Press
Nov. 4/09

More about H1N1 here at home in British Columbia.

H1N1 at Wikipedia.

While thousands of Canadians line up for vaccinations seeking protection against swine flu, countless others across the country have already had their brush with the H1N1 virus. Cases have ranged from mild to so severe that a sick patient can spend weeks in the intensive-care unit of a hospital.

Here are some personal experiences:

... For weeks, Brendan Boyd thought he had a simple fall cold. The 17-year-old from Nova Scotia had just returned to high school in Cole Harbour and chalked up persistent congestion, a headache and general fatigue to the rigours of getting back to class. He didn't let the lingering symptoms slow him down too much as he continued working two jobs, going to school and hanging out with his girlfriend. But when he developed a fever and became so dizzy on Oct. 20 that he fell over at work, he and his mother decided it was time to see the doctor.

"It was pretty bad that day," he said from his home, where the whole family has been quarantined. "I had a fever of 102 and was so tired I slept for 14 hours."

Boyd was tested for H1N1 soon after he collapsed. The next day, the family doctor called to let them know the result came back positive for the virus. Boyd said he was given medications and quickly began feeling better, but was ordered by the doctor to stay at home for a week with his parents and sister, who have not become sick. The teen said the onset of severe symptoms - high temperature and intense fatigue - was surprisingly quick, but that he didn't feel too badly in the days leading up to his fever.

.. Dan Demarais, a 41-year-old nurse, appears to have contracted a mild case of the illness two weeks ago from his 25-year-old roommate Theresa, who's also a nurse. She got a confirmed case while tending other H1N1 patients at Lions Gate Hospital in West Vancouver. "She was home for seven days. I was just trying to take care of her and in the process just catching a lesser form of it - just chills and a cold that lasted about five days.

"First of all it comes on like a bad cold. You're going to have sniffles, headache and body aches, and then you start getting major temps and breaking fevers. For the first two or three days you're literally in bed just laid out; you're aching everywhere." ... (All survived).

The real reason old Biblitz won't play:

Harper's Magazine

Viral Marketing

The selling of the flu vaccine

By Peter Doshi
March, 2006

This "recipe," outlined in a PowerPoint presentation, is the U.S. government's public-relations strategy for selling Americans on flu shots. At the 2004 Summit, Glen Nowak of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) used these slides to explain how certain messages generate buzz and drive demand. Indeed, the influenza virus has spawned a national industry of late, with President Bush himself asking Congress to fund a $7.1 billion flu "preparedness plan." But in the CDC's aggressive marketing of the shots, the agency has employed dubious statistics and questionable methods, leaving Americans less equipped than ever to gauge the threat rationally. The recipe, as Nowak revealed, relies on creating "concern, anxiety, and worry" - its main ingredient, in other words, is fear. ...

Another way to "motivate behavior," the recipe notes here, is to describe a flu season as "very severe," "more severe" than previous years, and "deadly" - all terms that had been used to frame the 2003-2004 threat. Yet that winter's flu was later ruled typical and "medium in terms of overall impact." The CDC's mortality figures, also presented as fact, are similarly misleading. Although many health experts contend that flu is a significant cause of wintertime mortality, other scientists argue that its role in these deaths is minor. This uncertainty can be seen on the government's list of the leading causes of death: at seventh place, with 65,681 annual fatalities, is "influenza and pneumonia." When separated out, however, flu is credited with fewer than 750 of the total. The CDC claims that more virulent flu strains and a growing elderly population led to the recent sharp decline in flu-associated deaths, but this too is suspect. These factors did not cause a corresponding rise in recorded flu deaths, which actually fell 30 percent.

... Alan Hinman, former director of the U.S. immunization program, drew what is exactly the wrong lesson from this fiasco: "that expansion to pandemic-level vaccination of the entire population would be much easier if there was an effective, stable, ongoing [flu] vaccination program." In this season's pandemic scare, Congress has responded to Bush's call by passing a bill that allows the government to confer blanket immunity from liability on makers of vaccines. As the wages of fear accrue to pharmaceutical companies, Americans are made into a captive market for vaccines of questionable worth. (emphasis added) (-- pgs. 54-55)


'Hoy,' shouts this hard-boiled customer, 'Keep that blasted hound away from me that I may be given a man's chance to develop sufficient antibodies to fight the variety of diseases old Towser here can't keep to himself. You are familiar with the concept of zoonosis by now, I take it?' Oh, dear, dear me. Sorry, baby. Although the concept is now quite well understood, few societies in the civilized world seem to respect it, preferring instead to take a chance on the possibility of fatal illness in return for the charming society domestic pet-slaves are believed to provide.

Quite right, Adelaide. A person could develop a cold.

Pigs Have Wings

Paperback By P.G. Wodehouse

More of the book.

In her bedroom on the first floor, the second on the right - not the left - as you went along the corridor, Lady Constance, despite her nasty cold, was feeling on the whole, pretty good.
There is this to be said for a nasty cold, that when you get it, you can go to bed and cuddle up between the sheets and reflect that but for this passing indisposition you would have been downstairs, meeting your brother Galahad. After all, felt Lady Constance philosophically, kneading the hot water bottle with her toes, a couple of sniffs and a few sneezes are a small price to pay for the luxury of passing an evening away from a brother the mere sight of whom has always made you wonder if Man can really be Nature's last word. (-- p. 243)

A final word on the abuses of pharmaceuticals in the developing world:

Freedom of Expression

Overzealous Copyright Bozos and Other Enemies of Creativity

By Kembrew McLeod

Now the United States and other rich countries want strict enforcements of intellectual-property laws that ensure developing countries will remain uncompetitive within the globalized economy. Again, we wonder why much of the world hates us. Defenders of overbroad gene patents, terminator seeds, and global intellectual-property treaties argue that without technologies and legal protections that safeguard their investments, there would be no incentive to develop new, innovative products. Companies such as Monsanto (whose comforting motto is "Food - Health - Hope") insist that their motivations for doing business are grounded in a desire to prevent world hunger. By creating more efficient products, biotech, agribusiness, and pharmaceutical companies can contribute to the betterment of humnanity, they say.

However, if you buy that selfless line of reasoning, then I have a genetically altered monkey-boy I want to sell you (all sales final). (footnotes omitted) (From This Gene is Your Gene, pgs. 60-61)