The Don’t Panic Files

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

“I will not fear. Fear is the mindkiller” Frank Herbert from “Dune”

“Don’t Panic”…Douglas Adams in “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”

This one is for the “don’t panic” files. St. Francis is credited by some with the phrase “knowledge is power”. I don’t know about power, but it is certainly a remedy for fear and a preventative for panic.

Today, Yahoo News is promoting a story from Reuters about severe, tragic nerve problems in Europe following H1N1 vaccines in 2009. Children in high numbers (800 or so…a lot for this rare disorder) have developed narcolepsy. Recent research makes a connection between the spike in the disorder and a specific swine flu vaccine.

My first reflex response was “OMG! We all had a H1N1 vaccine.”

Then I read the rest of the article, got a little more information, and my reasoned, logical response was “OMG! People are going to get crazy nuts over this aren’t they?”


There is no doubt in my mind that there will be people who read the Yahoo headine and proceed to panic and rail against any and all vaccines as a result.

“Knowledge is power” remember? So before you panic, read the second half of the Yahoo! / Reuters article. The formula that is causing the problem is not allowed in the United States. The problem formula was “adjuvanted”, or in other words, it contains a booster that stimulates the immune system to better respond to the vaccine itself.

Officials in Europe are looking at the booster, along with the vaccine, as the trigger for the narcolepsy. It is called ASO3, and contains naturally occurring oils, most notoriously squalene. Squalene is also natural. It exists in many plants and animals, including humans. It is notorious because it is most often commercially produced from shark liver. The Squalene oil isn’t a vaccine booster all by itself, but is a component in some vaccine-booster formulas.


In the United States, many vaccines contain no adjuvant boosters at all. Seasonal flu vaccine is an example, especially the “live attenuated” types. In the cases where adjuvant vaccine boosters are used, only safe DECADES-proven aluminum salts are permitted. Don’t forget that aluminum is a naturally occurring element – you dig it out of the ground. The salts are naturally in food and water anyway, although I’m not familiar with the dilutions and concentrations involved.


I hope not. With the Internet and a world of knowledge at our fingertips, there is no need to panic, but there is always a need for information and knowing how to critically evaluate it.

So don’t panic, bring a towel and eat some peanuts (If you are a Douglas Adams fan that is). It pays to stay calm and arm yourself with knowledge.

And a flu vaccine.

And eat your veggies – but wash your hands first.


(all accessed 23 January 2013)