August 16, 2009
A Google News search this morning returns no mention of the Guillain-Barré Syndrome link to the experimental H1N1 vaccine in the U.S. media.
The story has made the rounds in the British press. “The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has asked doctors to check for increases in a brain disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) once the national vaccination programme begins,” the Telegraph reports. “According to the Mail on Sunday, two letters were posted together to neurologists advising them of the concerns. The first, dated July 29, was written by Professor Elizabeth Miller, head of the HPA’s Immunization Department.”
The Times Online, Sky News, and the Daily Mail also ran stories on the warning. Alternative news sites in the United States reported on the link but the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other corporate media sources are silent as of this morning.
28,000 people in the U.S. will participate in a government trial of the experimental H1N1 vaccine. “Volunteers will be checked closely for any side effects. They’ll also be monitored for Guillain-Barre syndrome, which was reported in people who received a swine flu vaccine 33 years ago. It’s a rare syndrome usually triggered by a viral infection, and no one knows for sure if the vaccine is also a trigger,” KPBS reported on August 10.
Adult volunteers for the clinical trials will be recruited at 8 separate sites including Emory University in Atlanta, the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Group Health Cooperative in Seattle, the University Iowa in Iowa City, and St. Louis University, Deborah Shlian reported for the Examiner on July 28.
The initial tests will be of vaccines made by Sanofi-Pasteur, a European company, and CLS Biotherapies, an Australian company that has supplied seasonal flu shots in the U.S. for years. Novartis is also conducting separate trials for FDA licensing.