Video: Fears arise over swine flu vaccine

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    >> thank you very much.

    >>> americans fearful of the flu and fearful of the vaccine. michael shermman and dr. nancy snyderman , host of the dr. nancy program on msnbc. doc, i begin with you.

    >> sure.

    >> we've established some version of a conversation around the swine flu . walk us through the rational and irrational fears when it comes to a vaccination like this in your opinion.

    >> if swine flu popped in a couple of months earlier this would roll in as a normal vehicle seen and we wouldn't have the scare and misconceptions about it. the reason you want to get this shot it will keep you healthy. this h1n1 swine flu has not been seen by most young people because this is something that jumped species. we are seeing deaths in otherwise young healthy kids. that's why the cdc and fda and people like me saying get your kids vaccinated.

    >> michael , your thoughts and the basis on which you offer your skepticism around the vaccine in general and this one specifically.

    >> well, we at skeptic magazine track conspiracy theories and fear mongering of all kinds. what you have in a case like this is an unusual strain of the flu that may be referables the 1918 flu that killed tens of million of people. so that generates a lot of negative media attention and the internet access sent waits that.

    >> the h1n1 is not spanish flu so you can't put the two in the same -- you can't put them in the same pot.

    >> well, what i'm saying is that some conspiracy theory people do and they generate conspiracy theories how the ama and government and pharma in cahoots about this. and news disturbing about banning all kinds of vaccines or avoiding vaccines because of it is leading to autism which is not true and other such medical conditions . tracking this, it's very disturbing, because if we hit below the herd immunity in which certain communities are already close to this where you can see a comeback of a lot of communicable diseases because too many parents are not getting their kids vaccinated out of this fear-mongering.

    >> you have just crystallized crystallizedizcrystallized it into the most argument of getting vaccinated. he is absolutely right. if you want to keep the populous healthy the herd has to be immunized and we are a generation that forgot what it's like to see whooping could have and measles break down people. a conspiracy that the government has made h1n1 and urging white people to get vaccinated and they will become sterile and black government will take over the government. that is the cuckoo stuff out there.

    >> it speaks to the credibility of the establishment, whether the medical establishment -- in other words, as these theories bubble --

    >> they aren't theory. it's craziness!

    >> start to affect more people's judgment because they feel like the establishment lacks credibility in general.

    >> here is what makes me crazy. scientists have spent their lives trying to figure out how to give you a shot so you won't get ill. it, to me, is a scientific breakthrough of the last hundred, probably forever! so it makes me crazy. so hear someone really smart talk about why your immunity matters is quite refreshing.

    >> well, michael , high praise from a skeptic herself, dr. nancy snyderman . she should write for your magazine. thank you both so much. nancy, of course, every day with you at noon on msnbc. contessa?

updated 10/6/2009 10:46:30 AM ET 2009-10-06T14:46:30

Vaccine is the best tool against swine flu despite reports of a few minor side effects from the initial campaign in China, the World Health Organization said.

Four out of 39,000 people vaccinated against H1N1 in China have had side effects such as muscle cramps and headache, WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said.

"Adverse events are fully to be expected, especially these mild types," Hartl said Monday, adding that this was particularly true in cases where very large numbers of people are being vaccinated.

The vaccination campaign will soon move to Australia, the United States and parts of Europe, he said, encouraging people — especially health care workers — to be vaccinated.

"The vaccine is the single most important tool that we have against influenza," Hartl said. "For certain groups such as health care workers, it's doubly important to get vaccinated because health care workers have the ability to protect both themselves and to protect others by getting vaccinated."

The U.S. government will be tracking possible side effects when mass flu vaccinations begin this month in hopes of quickly detecting any rare problems that are actually caused by the vaccine and not pure coincidence.

U.S. health authorities hope to give swine flu vaccinations to more than half the 300 million-plus population in just a few months.

The last mass inoculations in the United States against a different swine flu, in 1976, were marred by suggestions of a link in some cases to a rare paralyzing condition, Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Scientists never could prove that the vaccine really was linked to the syndrome, an often reversible but sometimes fatal paralysis.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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