WHO's afraid of the bird flu vaccine

I've got a double-whammy for you today, and I think you'll get a big kick out of this one. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced that there was no need for a massive vaccination campaign against the bird flu virus because it has not been proven that the virus would develop into a pandemic.

Ha! Don't make me laugh!

Here's why I find this so hilarious: Here's a major international proponent of the oh-so- unnecessary and dangerous use of vaccinations telling the world NOT to get vaccinations for a "disease" that, I'm convinced, is not real in the first place!

As I've told you before, the infamous "bird flu" is one of those things I'm just not buying, so I find this new twist a wonderful irony. I'll say it again: The H5N1 virus, better known as the "bird flu," is only spread through bird-to-humans NOT human-to- human. So unless you work in the poultry business (or your company suddenly begins to staff your office with geese and ducks), you don't have anything to worry about.

And as I've said, much of the panic over the bird flu was helped along by the poultry industry, who wanted to perpetuate the myth that "safe" poultry only came from vast, industrialized processing plants, and that the "real" danger came from free range birds. Why? Because the growing popularity of free-range poultry is cutting in to Big Chicken's profits! It's always about money, my friend!

I suspect that the WHO made the announcement because even they know the dangers of a half-baked vaccination scheme brought on by the "danger" of a deadly pandemic. If you remember the Swine Flu scare in the U.S. back in 1976, you know what I'm talking about. Health officials feared that Swine Flu was going to be the second coming of the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918, which is thought to have killed up to 5 percent of the world's population. But here's what really happened

The cure that was worse than the sickness

The Swine Flu vaccination program was beset with a long list of problems stemming largely from the fact that it was put in motion by the red-tape-happy, bureaucracy-filled U.S. government. There were massive delays and public relations issues (as you may suspect, I was against this program). But ultimately, 24 percent of the U.S. population was vaccinated before the program was cancelled.

The result? Well, you don't hear much about it, but it's suspected that this knee-jerk nationwide vaccination program caused the death of least 500 people due to cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome - a nervous system infection that causes severe pulmonary complications. In case you're keeping score, in the end the Swine Flu vaccine killed more people than the Swine Flu itself.

Whoops.

Sorry for the history lesson, but I wanted you to have an idea of exactly why I'm so sure that the WHO has actually made the right call. Of course, they stopped short of coming out and saying that the "threat" of bird flu is intensely exaggerated.

According to Assistant Director General David Heymann, who made the announcement, "A country would have to weigh whether or not that insurance policy of getting a lower level of immunity against a virus which could cause a pandemic is as important as the side effect which might occur from the vaccine."

Which, in a nutshell, has been my problem with the entire idea of vaccinations from the get-go. While the bird flu has killed 209 of the 340 people known to have been infected, it has been passed from human-to-human only in extremely rare cases. Imagine the untold numbers of dead that could result if the side effects of a bird flu vaccine are as bad as the side effects of the Swine Flu vaccine. Add to this the fact that bird flu has come to prominence in Asia, where quality control isn't exactly top of mind (remember, this is the land of the lead-painted toys and poisoned toothpaste).

Vaccinations are dangerous enough already. But there's no need to increase the danger exponentially by having them go global in response to a virus that's not a threat to begin with.

I applaud the WHO for sending the right message. It's been a long time coming.