Bradfield Resident

Information. Issues. Insight. Investigation.

Fri 31 Jul 09 | To: Fay Gardner (DoH) | Questions about Pandemic H1N1 2009 influenza

Posted by bradfieldresident on 31 July 2009

From: Bradfield NSW <>
Date: Friday 31 July 2009 09:46 (+10)
Subject: Questions about Pandemic H1N1 2009 influenza
To: Ms Fay Gardner <>

Ms Gardner,

I have addressed this message to you as Assistant Secretary of the Health Protection Policy Branch of the Department of Health and Ageing after noting the “Pandemic Preparedness” section at

Please acknowledge receipt of this email and, as appropriate, answer my questions or refer my message on to the relevant person/department with a copy to this address ( I am aware that there are a lot of questions, and as such would like a brief initial response to let me know that the questions have been received with some indication of how long a detailed answer might be to follow.

A copy is also addressed to the NSW Health Department for reference, in case there is anything that is particular to NSW regulation that is different to the federal story, and I would of course be interested to hear of differences to other states and territories, if any. Please coordinate/delegate as appropriate.


To the Australian Government,

Returning to Sydney in June from an extended stay abroad, I was moderately alarmed to learn, only shortly before landing, that the H1N1 swine flu outbreak was considered a “pandemic”, thinking this meant there were large numbers of deaths and illness (and general pandemonium). Of course, after arriving I found that not to be the case, and it appears that the H1N1 2009 influenza is mainly mild.

It has since come to my attention that the definition of “pandemic”, at least so far as used by the World Health Organisation, has changed, removing conditions of severity, and that, more generally, there hasn’t typically been a consistent definition for the term.

Does the Australian government use WHO terminology or some other terminology? How and where is this information presented to the public? Has the Australian terminology, whatever it is based on, changed in recent times, and if so, what is the change?

Are there any government-level legal ramifications arising from the declaration or not of “pandemic” or any other medical threat level, such as might be found in the United States where “pandemic” conditions allow the government additional powers, such as forced vaccinations, quarantine restrictions and so on, and if so, what are they?

Similar to the possibility of augmented governmental powers, are there different regulations applying to the manufacture, testing, administration and so on of drugs, medications, vaccines etc, such as in the United States where manufacturers are not liable for damages, and proper testing does not have to occur before human trials (or indeed widespread use) of experimental or otherwise unproven vaccines issued under “pandemic” (or other specified medical level) conditions? If so, what are they?

I have also learned that the Australian government purchased around 20 million doses of a flu vaccine in the past month or so. Where has this vaccine come from, how was it made and what does it contain? Does it contain a “live” virus? Does it contain MF-59, aluminium salts or any other adjuvant(s)? Does it contain mercury in the form of Thimerosal or any other form? Does it contain Gentamycin or any other antibiotic? Does it contain Polysorbate 80? Does it contain formaldehyde? Does it contain Triton X100 or any other detergent(s)? Does it contain gelatin or egg proteins? Does it contain any virus, dead, disabled or otherwise, other than the “desired” H1N1 virus? What other known harmful ingredients does it contain? What sort of testing, if any, has it undergone, and how is that testing (or lack thereof) different to what would ordinarily be required for a medicine or vaccine (under normal, non-pandemic circumstances)?

The huge quantity suggests an intention for the entire Australian population to be vaccinated. Following I cite some examples where it is sugested flu vaccinations are NOT effective. Given this information, how does the Australian government justify the use of flu vaccines at all, let alone consider them for every man woman and child? What scientifically justifiable evidence is there that a vaccine would be effective on a broad application across the population? Is there an intention for mass innoculations? Under what circumstances would this occur? Would it be voluntary? What sort of information would be provided to the public (especially regarding the issues I have raised)?

Where questions can be answered by existing online published material, please feel free to simply reference that material with current URLs if you do not wish to repeat that information directly in an email. Of course, for information regarding the government’s reasoning or justification of various matters, scientific (and other external) references are of course expected where appropriate.

If you are unable or unwilling to answer any of these questions, please detail the reason(s) for such inability or unwillingness, and if any reasons are legal reasons please cite whatever law(s), statue(s), act(s) or whatever they are with specific reference to the relevant section(s), etc.

Bradfield Resident, NSW
Friday 31 July 2009

Not in babies

In a review of more than 51 studies involving more than 294,000 children it was found there was “no evidence that injecting children 6-24 months of age with a flu shotwas any more effective than placebo. In children over 2 yrs, it was only effective 33% of the time in preventing the flu.

Reference: “Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy children.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2 (2008).

Not in children with asthma

A study 800 children with asthma, where one half were vaccinated and the other half did not receive the influenza vaccine. The two groups were compared with respect to clinic visits, emergency department (ED) visits, and hospitalizations for asthma. CONCLUSION: This study failed to provide evidence that the influenza vaccine prevents pediatric asthma exacerbations.

Reference: “Effectiveness of influenza vaccine for the prevention of asthma exacerbations.” Christly, C. et al. Arch Dis Child. 2004 Aug;89(8):734-5.

Not in children with asthma (2)

“The inactivated flu vaccine, Flumist, does not prevent influenza-related hospitalizations in children, especially the ones with asthma…In fact, children who get the flu vaccine are more at risk for hospitalization than children who do not get the vaccine.”

Reference: The American Thoracic Society’s 105th International Conference, May 15-20, 2009, San Diego.

Not in adults

In a review of 48 reports including more than 66,000 adults, “Vaccination of healthy adults only reduced risk of influenza by 6% and reduced the number of missed work days by less than one day (0.16) days. It did not change the number of people needing to go to hospital or take time off work.”

Reference: “Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy adults.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 1 (2006).

Not in the Elderly

In a review of 64 studies in 98 flu seasons, For elderly living in nursing homes, flu shots were non-significant for preventing the flu. For elderly living in the community, vaccines were not (significantly) effective against influenza, ILI or pneumonia.

Reference: “Vaccines for preventing influenza in the elderly.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 3(2006).


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