Vaccine Package Inserts: Not all you should be reading
January 18, 2012 7 Comments
If the AVN do make it to Canberra during this first quarter, “to lobby for changes to Federal legislation protecting the rights of Australians to choose not to vaccinate or to vaccinate selectively”, I’ll be particularly interested in the worth of item 5 on their list:
All parents to be provided with the manufacturer’s package inserts to the vaccines they are supposed to be giving their children with the ingredients, side effects and contraindications highlighted. We want this information to be provided well in advance of them having to make these decisions to allow them time to ask their healthcare providers questions about both safety and efficacy.
Of what possible use is this complex clinically relevant information to parents who need advice on vaccination? How often have we heard antivaccination lobbyists rattle off the worst of the worst as if they are guaranteed in all cases? Just who will these opportunistic “healthcare providers” be who finally chat with the wide eyed terrified parents thinking of an alternative? This particularly immoral intent of Meryl Dorey’s overall scheme to sabotage vaccination in Australia is born of connivance of such intellectual paucity as to demand it be placed in context.
Assuming Meryl will be flying to Canberra, let’s imagine for a moment, it is not vaccination but air travel that’s being targetted as dangerous and thus in need of informing passengers of all “adverse side effects” to flying. This becomes compelling when we note that deaths from MMR and attributed to DTap vaccination remain at zero. Studies examining the that myth DTap – or any vaccination – is related to SIDS found the rate of SIDS in those recently vaccinated was equal to chance.
Around 1990 Hannah Buxton was injected with contaminated MMR. 18 months later she was dead due to the contaminants not MMR, and her parents were awarded £20,000. A BMJ article (also citing Hannah) published in September 1994 notes over 100 families had won the right to seek compensation for the death and disability of their children following MMR. In the 1990’s vaccines were looking like big business for injury compensation lawyers and this BMJ article is cited as desperate “proof” of MMR fatality. Yet that’s a distortion of the truth. No fatalities have been attributed to MMR. Encephalitis from vaccination is so rare and from measles comparatively so common that to refuse MMR on these grounds is to be grossly misinformed.
Let’s imagine if an airline took this “package insert” logic seriously and chose to inform all passengers of all risks prior to flying. We’ll exclude specifics like metal fatigue and focus on injury and death. To cover “discussion” with a healthcare professional they might add descriptive accounts of what happens to passengers involved in accidents. It could be worked in to the pre flight briefing.
Here’s my proposed “report”, using entirely accurate information and statistics, of flying with such an airline. Airlines that believe in informed choice. Let’s say I’m in need of a decently priced flight, scanning the internet for a bargain…
One caught my eye. Package Insert Airlines: Where Informed Choice Matters. “Strange”, I thought. I called the number and spoke to the charming lass on the other end. Yes, they had a seat going my way at exactly the time I needed it. Good price too. Just before I hung up, I asked about the name. She explained to me that the airline had been set up by a small consortium who made their fortune printing vaccine package inserts.
“Before take off we explain everything you need to know about your safety and flying”, she gushed happily, “so you can make an informed choice about staying on board”. Wow. Sounded generous. I packed a quick bag and headed off.
After booking in I had a while to wait but before I found an uncomfortable chair, we were paged to start boarding. It didn’t take long for the airliner to fill up. A few moments later an air hostess with a name badge reading Johanna took her position as the standard safety recording started. She pointed out the exits and toilets then, keeping up with the recording, helped demonstrate the possible effects of crashing on take off.
16% of on board fatalities occur during take off, the recording informed us pleasantly. Passengers are usually burned horrifically beyond recognition in a giant fireball. The unspeakable agony felt by those not immediately toasted is at times expressed in blood curdling screams but this is hampered by inhaled high temperature air igniting throat, larynx and lung tissue, poisonous gases and melting facial tissue, particularly the nose, lips and tongue. Loved ones in the terminal are ensured an excellent view.
Johanna did her best to imitate writhing dying passengers with melting faces, finally letting out a high pitched scream and then finished with a pleasant smile. The recording continued. 14% of onboard fatalities occur during the initial climb, usually due to catastrophic systems failure. Cabin staff will wander by lying to you that everything is just fine. The pilots are trained to try to guide the highly explosive jet-fuel filled plane in for an emergency landing. You will guess something horrible is wrong and the plane will veer dramatically as we return to the tarmac. Johanna gestured pleasantly out the window, smiling all the time.
The angle of descent will be simply horrific, the recording went on. The fuselage and wings will shudder under the force of descent and you will be convinced you are about to die. Passengers must remain seated, but may pray, swear, scream and make hurried calls to loved ones not in the terminal. Due to the extreme strain placed upon the aircraft systems, small fires may well break out burning, choking and gagging you. Any fires near the fuel tanks may result in a catastrophic explosion creating quite a spectacle. Your loved ones in the terminal will have an excellent view of something like this. Johanna turned to point at a large image that had come up on the screen behind her:
Assuming we do not make it in for a safe emergency landing there is information available in small packages on the back of the seat in front of you. Please remove package insert one, instructed the recording. “Ah, Package Insert Airlines“, I mused staring at a bunch of information I couldn’t really understand. Surely this was written for scientists, or experts in this field. It was about G forces and deceleration and how much energy the cabin would absorb.
Please turn to Table One said the pleasant recording as Johanna held up an example of Table One:
Assuming we will be crash landing and not emergency landing you should familarise yourself with the pain and suffering that possibly awaits. As we observe, up to a 40G deceleration may result in nasal fracture, compression of a vertebral body (the bones of your spine), a broken lower jaw or a fracture dislocation of the top most bone of your spine – on which rests your skull – on the vertebral bone beneath. The classic “hinge fracture”. At this point any sudden or unnecessary movement as opposed to say, lying motionless, will sever your spinal cord leaving you paralysed for life. Except for your facial muscles.
Johanna beamed and highlighted her face like she was selling moisturiser. The recording continued with the Johanna doing her best to imitate horribly injured and dying passengers. “Around 50G the maxilla, or front of your face, breaks up and may pierce the skin of the face, but will certainly lacerate the upper mucosa of the lip and cheek. Bleeding will be profound. The major vessel carrying blood to and from the heart spontaneously sprouts big leaks and that can be bad.
Above 80G it just rips open and blood quickly fills your thorax or abdomen, choking you in a grotesque display of gurgling and gasping as blood forces it’s way out from the lungs to the mouth and nose. Johanna was writhing dramatically upside down over the back of a seat gagging and snotting like a trooper. Your bladder and bowel, the recording went on, if not having done so already, will empty spontaneously and dramatically. Please remain seated. I looked at Johanna expectantly but she gave a gentle shake of her head.
Above this level as we enter 100G plus, the pelvis will fracture of it’s own accord. Please refer to package insert 1A for information on how crucial the pelvis is for ambulation, spinal health, organ protection, core stability, bladder and bowel, sexual health, reproduction, sitting comfortably… on and on it went covering every tiny detail of a fractured pelvis, pain, rehabilitation and permanent disability. People had for some time been leaving in ones and twos. A mother grabbed her baby and screamed that we were all insane before sobbing her way off the plane. I was starting to forget exactly what I was doing here myself.
Vertebral body transection means the bones of your spinal column split transversely and slice front to back or back to front, with part of the vertebra slicing through the spinal cord. This can occur at multiple points. It is important to remember, the recording intoned, that these injuries are not exclusive. So a crash landing deceleration at around 200G may include a fractured nose with the front of your face crumbling off but stuck under the skin, vertebral compression and transection with almost certain quadriplegia or paraplegia, your insides filled with blood that you gurgle and splatter from your nose and mouth and a shattered pelvis, leaving you to wallow in your own waste, until you die are burned or perhaps rescued to begin your life as a permanent patient.
Johanna had been mimicking at extraordinary speed, pulling grotesque faces, shuddering with vertebral injuries, shaking her head violently back and forth working up to a grand finale in which she gasped wide eyed, spluttered and with tongue hanging out collapsed in a heap on the aisle floor, twitching and writhing. Those of us not vomiting into the sick bags broke into a round of applause. She stood up beaming, adjusting her hair. Thinking this must surely be the end of a compelling but pointless exercise a few of us settled down until, horribly, the recording started again.
13% of fatalities occur during the latter stage of the climb once flaps have been raised. Please open package insert 2 and note injuries, suffering and death are much the same as for the initial initial phase of climb. You will note on package insert 2A we have included Total Body Fragmentation which applies to both failed ascent and descent and is pretty much what it sounds like, the soothing voice continued. We shall cover this in due course but it is important to stress that you may be killed during the latter part of ascent.
Once at cruising altitude you may be comforted to know that only 16% of fatalities occur up there in the cold, cold air. Although the same quantity as take off fatalities you may feel assured that on average, 57% of flight time for a 1.5 hour flight is spent cruising. Package insert 3 covers uncontrolled decompression. For our purposes please note Explosive and Rapid cabin decompression effects upon the body which you may experience alone or in tandem with high altitude injuries and hypothermia.
Should a large hole appear in the fuselage, perhaps due to a bomb, maintenance failure, metal fatigue, cargo door failure or just really bad luck passengers may expect explosive decompression. Contrary to the urban myth your body will not “blow up” killing you instantly and painlessly. As air escapes from the cabin in about half a second it will suck all the air from your lungs rupturing pulmonary tissue whilst you find it impossible to inhale as blood flows freely from your mouth and nose.
An extraordinarily rapid heart beat will only make this worse. Try try remain calm. Oxygen masks will drop down in front of you. Of such little pressure, they are useless and serve only to distract you in your final moments of life which are excruciatingly painful and unimaginably terrifying. Please keep an eye out for flying passengers, body parts or projectiles which will hit you with the force of bomb fragments, or slice, rip and tear your body into pieces.
As the freezing air fills the cabin the relative humidity changes rapidly, causing a dense fog to form. Depending on your distance from the cause of decompression, Johanna gestured to the front and back of the plane, you may experience the effects of rapid, not explosive cabin decompression. Blood and lung tissue is less likely to splatter in your vicinity although lung tissue damage to yourself and others is still likely. The further from the cause of decompression and the better restrained the more adverse reactions that can be expected over time and the more painful your slower demise.
Should you be unfortunate enough to be seated or standing near the decompression zone you will exit the aircraft at high speed experiencing physical decompression, pulmonary damage and bleeding, retinal bleeding, hypothermia, edema, numbness, wind sheer and insomnia. As you plunge toward the earth you may reach speeds that tear clothes, hair and skin from the body.
For those still on board, hypothermia sets in within a few minutes but not before hypoxia begins to kill off brain cells and precipitate organ failure. As you lapse in and out of consciousness you may notice the frozen vomit blocking the blood and pulmonary edema discharge from escaping the oral cavity. Limbs, hands and feet begin to swell as fluid escapes the blood stream and lymph vessels to build up in the tissues. Your retinas may hemorrhage as your body temperature rises to fever levels. Cerebral edema will creep up on you the longer you find the captain is able to control the plane through an interminably long descent. This brain swelling will lead to blinding headaches and more lapses into unconsciousness as life threatening hypothermia sets in.
The recording continued on like this for a while with Johanna diving and falling and rolling about the cabin. She pleasantly gestured to where body parts are most likely to become wedged, and gave a realistic impression of someone trying unsuccessfully to breathe through the drop down oxygen masks. She sat in the seats most likely to accompany decapitation given the chosen place of decompression and managed a sterling performance as a hysterical young mother trying hopelessly to stop her toddler from being sucked out of an imaginary gaping hole in the fuselage.
I couldn’t see the point to all this convoluted intricate information. I suspected it had some legal purpose but I was 19 times less likely to die like this than in the car I drove to the airport. I couldn’t imagine the stupidity involved in thinking such highly specific and biased information had any bearing on flying whatsoever, beyond creating the illusion there was something to fear.
I tuned back in at times as this marathon of irrelevance continued to inform me that another 16% of fatalities occurred during descent and initial approach. 25% occurred during final approach and landing. Then they got onto multiple injury specifics. 45% of intact (Intact?!) fatalities had a spinal fracture. 47.6% of accident victims had a ruptured heart and 35% also had a ruptured aorta. Only 20% of fatalities don’t have limb fractures the recording pleasantly informed us adding that a sound knowledge of Total Body Fragmentation would help us make an informed choice.
Thorax injuries were the most common. Liver, spleen, diaphragm. GI tract injuries were the least common. Skull, brain and facial destruction was very common. Great I thought. Your turds survive but your brain is mash. Neck, spine, wrist, femur, humorous, tibia… then combinations… and fatalities… until I couldn’t think much beyond Total Body Fragmentation sucks man. “Flying Causes Total Body Fragmentation”, I wanted to yell. Which free speech suppressing scientists had been holding back such vital information? I needed to know this, didn’t I? I couldn’t just trust one of the most successful, safest industries in the world, could I?
Then I realised something. Total Body Fragmentation was an incredible rarity. So were aviation accidents. It was Informed Choice that really sucked, and looking around it had emptied a good deal of the plane, having filled people’s heads with nonsense.
I hoped they weren’t driving home.
So, dear reader. If you’ll pardon the foray you can appreciate just how nonsensical this obsession with package inserts is. There is however, a sinister side to this apparent “information”. As I hinted at above, using it to educate people is fatally flawed. Parents need to know about the probability of adverse events of all types, including disease affecting their children. The fact that extreme events are possible is completely irrelevant to making an informed choice.
It’s simple mum. MMR does not kill and measles is 1,000 times more likely to leave your child with irreparable brain damage. If they must, parents need to speak to a doctor about this information, not be lured into panicked confusion. Dorey’s request is just as much a statement: You are not being given safe advice. And that, is an outright lie.
Yet there’s more to consider. As I note above studies have been done on the myth of vaccine induced SIDS. This is not on package inserts, nor is Shaken Baby Syndrome. Yet Dorey insists both these causes (and others) of death are side effects of vaccination. Toxic poisoning without “prior testing on infants” is happening right now via vaccination, she claims.
In her mind extremely rare possibilities must be advertised as likely probabilities. As must a growing number of invented fictions: immune disorders, failure to thrive, leaking intestines, heavy metal build up, slow learning and almost any ailment is blamed on vaccines, water or medication. So if she is granted her wish by chance, it will only be the beginning.
Yet importantly I set out above to highlight what we take for granted. The fear of flying is considered irrational. A phobia. In short Dorey seeks to propagate a phobic fear of vaccines that will cripple critical and safe decision making.
Meryl Dorey is well aware that “informed choice” is really “Meryl’s choice”. It is not free speech, but plain deception.
Parents deserve facts, not irrational fear.