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Swine flu vaccine is a “thousandfold” safer than the infection, say experts

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b3802 (Published 16 September 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3802
  1. Oliver Ellis
  1. 1BMJ

Experts this week played down the risk of adverse effects from the forthcoming swine flu vaccine, saying that even in the worse case scenario people would be a “thousandfold better off” having the jab than the disease.

Concerns have previously been raised that the vaccine may carry a risk of causing Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune condition that attacks the peripheral nervous system, in rare cases causing permanent paralysis or death. The fears largely stem from the 1976-7 flu season in the United States, when a vaccine was withdrawn after a spike in cases of the neurological disease, but doubt …

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