Facebook group claims swine flu vaccine is 'poison'
A CONCERNED Queensland GP has alerted authorities to a Facebook group which claims the swine flu vaccine is “poison” and contains ingredients that cause brain damage and harm unborn children.
The Australians Against the Swine Flu Vaccine group, which has 2200-plus members, was created by a man who has a Bachelor of Pharmacy from the University of South Australia.
An email circulated by him says that the vaccine contains “horribly dangerous” compounds, thimerosal and squalene, and that another ingredient, neomycin, is a “positive risk to unborn children”.
However, Peter Halstead, registrar of the Pharmacy Board of South Australia, said, “[The man] is not a registered pharmacist... anywhere in Australia.”
Mr Halstead has received a stream of emails complaining about the anti-vaccine material, including ones from the Australian Defence Force because Afghanistan-bound soldiers who had read it were refusing vaccination, and from the drugs and poisons authority in Brunei.
The GP alerted the Pharmacists Board of Queensland after several of his patients refused the vaccine, citing the Facebook material.
Meanwhile the National Prescribing Service’s consumers' Medicines Line has also fielded several inquiries arising from it, spokeswoman Dr Treasure McGuire (PhD) said.
They were among a total of 150 calls about swine flu made to the NPS pharmaceutical information phone lines.
“We haven’t been swamped... but safety [of the vaccine] is clearly an issue and the biggest fear is Guillian-Barré,” she said.
GP calls to the Therapeutic Advice and Information Service (1300 138 677) included queries on possible drug interactions with the vaccine, risk of anaphylaxis, whether it should be given to people with MS, and whether people who had had a bout of swine flu needed to be vaccinated.