Anyway, this Mazoumellos character has been spreading a message written in a style quite reminiscent of the ridiculous sensationalism often found in cheap tabloids, obviously looking to make the age-old sacrifice of integrity for fame. An excerpt:
"If the regular flu kills 40 000 plus per year, and the swine flu only killed 2/3 000 – then why are governments buying it in advance, giving it to us for free, and giving drug manufacturers immunity to legal cases against them? Does that make sense? No!
The swine flu vaccine contains 2 horribly dangerous compounds – one is called thimerosol. It is made 50% of mercury. It binds to receptors in your brain, and basically causes brain damage. Is it smart to be injected with thimerosol, and get brain damage, dropping 10 IQ points and going dumb, in order to avoid getting a flu that kills 95% less people than regular flu? No!
The other horrible ingredient is called squalene. Squalene accidentally tricks your immune system into killing your own cells, which creates auto-immune diseases like asthma, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and a bunch of diseases that we don't have a name for yet (because squalene hasn't been used for that long, and we have little data on its effects) – is it smart to inject yourself with that stuff, in order to avoid a relatively mild flu, like the swine flu? No!"
Alrighty then, that's quite a lot of rubbish to fit in only 3 paragraphs, so let's get to work debunking... Note that the message cited NO sources whatsoever, which pretty much makes the entire message worthless, from the point of view of a scientist. But let's take this at face value and compare it with independent facts and see what happens, shall we?
First up, statistics. He compares 40,000 killed by "normal" flu a year against 3,000 H1N1 mortalities to date. WHO says 250,000 to 500,000 are killed a year by flu. Assuming he had a source for the 40,000 figure, when compared with the WHO figure it could only mean the 40,000 figure is for a single country, which is more than a bit dishonest to compare with the global figure for H1N1, which, by the way is just under 6,000 to date. But anyway, pointing this out reinforces his point that 6,000 H1N1 deaths don't sound like much compared to half a million. What the heck, I'm feeling generous.
Now, 6,000 killed may not sound like much, until you consider that it's a newly discovered strain, first reported in April. And the year isn't even over yet. And if you've studied epidimiology or even played a little Pandemic, you'd know that a relatively low death toll at the early stages doesn't mean it won't get monstrously virulent later. As it is, the swine flu is notably more brutal than the usual strains we're used to. It is only sensible to snuff it out NOW, while we're lucky enough to actually have a vaccine to hand that works. As for that remark about the government giving it out for free, Mr Mazoumellos betrays a woeful ignorance of one of life's inevitabilities, known to the civilized as taxes.
Second, thimerosol, aka thiomersal. Yes, it's true that it's nasty and toxic and what-have-you. So's oxygen, by the way. The fact of the matter is that there are a LOT of things we come into contact with that are hideously toxic (ever eaten an appleseed by mistake?) but we do not die from them. Why? Simply put, we're actually quite tuff and small quantities of toxic agents can often be expelled naturally. A study published online in Paediatrics laid out in great detail just how quickly thimerosol pops in and out again of the bodies of infants, with cumulative doses of up to ~160 micrograms of ethyl mercury. Now, if my maths is right, that translates to about 283 mcg of thiomersal in these babies with no ill effect. And the thiomersal content of the swine flu vaccine? 5 mcg, the last time I checked.
3rd, squalene. This one barely even deserves mention. Do you know where squalene is found? Here's a hint: ALL OVER YOU. What does the WHO have to say?
"The World Health Organization and the US Department of Defense have both published extensive reports that emphasize that squalene is a chemical naturally occurring in the human body, present even in oils of human fingerprints.
WHO goes further to explain that squalene has been present in over 22 million flu vaccines given to patients in Europe since 1997 and there have never been significant vaccine-related adverse events."
Ooh! Squalene, squalene! It's ALL OVER the place! Time to go live in a hamster ball! Pfft...
George Mazoumellos, you fail. Big time. And you should be ashamed of yourself, but somehow, I doubt that's actually the case. Anyway, to the rest of you with access to the vaccine, go get jabbed. Needles aren't that scary, really. Here's a bit more from New Scientist on the matter.
Now, if you'd rather take your chances being on the unhappy end of the swine flu, that's your own lookout. If you're responsible about it and go find yourself a nice secluded corner to die in without infecting anyone, fine, go ahead. But a virus does what a virus does and if you get infected, you are a vector for passing it on to whoever who come into contact with. You are also a possible incubator for the virus to mutate, as viruses are wont to do, to a form that can infect all your vaccinated friends. Now that's just rude. Don't be a prick. Go get vaccinated.