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H1N1 Vaccine Clinics
Causing Riots In France

There’s nothing like a good dose of reality to get people to change their minds about things. The H1N1 vaccine debate in France is a textbook example of that.

The extreme cynicism with which the French considered H1N1 vaccination just one week ago has been replaced by panic and exasperation at not being able to get vaccinated. Riot police have been deployed at certain vaccination stations.

Flesh & Stone has already reported that people have been taking the government to court for attempted mass poisoning or, as the charge sheet puts it: “Attempting to administer substances…of a nature which could result in death.” Polls taken as recently as two weeks ago showed that around 80 percent of the population wouldn’t or most probably wouldn’t, get vaccinated against H1N1, and there has been violent public reaction against government attempts to persuade people to get their children vaccinated. Figures suggest that children represent almost 75 percent of those infected.

Sections of the national media have had a lot of fun ridiculing attempts to get people to vaccinate, and one video skit showed a supposedly desperate health minister begging people to be nice to her and take “my” vaccine.

Things have changed extremely quickly. The days of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories have evaporated into thin air in the space of just one week, replaced by crowds of worried people clamouring to be vaccinated and overwhelming vaccination stations and their staff.

This situation has come about because of the sudden and dramatic rise in infection rates and, with it, the sudden and dramatic rise in the number of dead, particularly among the young.

The number of people infected in France has doubled in the last week, and hospitals are reporting a slight increase in the proportional death rate among those infected. Reports of staff being threatened are also beginning to surface.

Almost three times as many schools in France are closed today than eight days ago, and several major sporting events have been cancelled due to teams and athletes becoming infected.

And topping it all, government officials are predicting increased infections over the coming weeks. Hospitals expect to be overrun with H1N1 admissions over the next two weeks, and worry that H1N1 may be spread to hospitalized patients.

Whereas the majority of people were criticizing the government recently for doing too much to highlight the problem – to the point of being accused of propagandizing – today many are complaining that vaccination facilities are woefully inadequate.

The first signs came at the end of last week after a surge in infections in Paris. Previously empty vaccination centers were flooded with anxious families and tempers began to flare in the long waiting lines. The police were called in to calm things down in several areas of the city.

Since then the phenomena has spread to other towns and events now seem to be spiralling out of control, at least for the moment.

Below is translated information from a Lyon newspaper report today that suggests the situation is becoming serious.

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One vaccination center opened at 9:30 a.m. but had to soon close its doors due to overcrowding. Unable to control the situation, the doctors called the police who were also unable to control the panic. Finally, a detachment from the “Anti-Criminality Brigade,” which is trained in riot control, was called in and restored order.

Some people were furious. One said: “What the hell are these methods? We came to get vaccinated because we were advised to and now we have plain-clothed police pushing us violently outside!”

Lyon authorities say that the number of vaccination candidates has gone up by 400 percent in just a few days and that twice as many people are turning up as can be vaccinated in a day.

Some people are beginning to cheat to jump the queue. To get vaccinated here you must have a vaccination permission certificate, but people are turning up without them and trying to get vaccinated anyway, offering a variety of excuses for not having their authorizations. This means that priority candidates such as pregnant mothers and older people are being pushed back. As one health professional put it, “Illegal queue-jumping methods are being devised and transmitted between people. How can I refuse someone who says that a member of his family has mucoviscidose?”

At that moment a lady tries to slip through the door. She is asked to come back the next day because she is not a priority. She says she has respiratory problems and gets angry, but eventually leaves.

A doctor loses his temper because he is asked by a state ambulance service member to shorten his pre-vaccination medical interviews.

One person has another point of view on it all. “There was no one here two weeks ago! Everyone was mocking the vaccination campaign. Now that everyone is afraid there are too many people!”

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Visits to general practitioners by people with severe respiratory infections have jumped by 72 percent in one week and, although winter has not even officially begun, the level of H1N1 infection has already outstripped the highest rates of normal seasonal influenza rates over the last few years.

Another very serious problem is that 80 percent of hospital and other health personnel jumped on the anti-vaccine bandwagon by refusing to get vaccinated at the beginning of the campaign, two weeks ago. This has led to the alarming conclusion by several studies which indicate that hospital staff are now the biggest vector of hospital acquired H1N1 infection.

The situation has led authorities to appeal for volunteers from among public and private doctors, medical students and retired health workers.

The French Interior Ministry announced this morning that regional police prefects have been instructed to “adapt existing dispositions” and recommends the “presence of public security forces near vaccination centers on days when many people are present.” In Paris, certain vaccination centers are already under police protection.

“Everyone wants to get vaccinated today, whereas yesterday nobody did, added a ministry spokesperson. “This is not an easy problem to resolve."

That is the very least that can be said.

* A full list of h1n1 vaccine ingredients, alerts and warnings.


Reference Sources fleshandstone.net
November 28, 2009
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