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Fatal 'evil design' vaccine claims are dismissed.

AN e-mail warning people against taking the swine flu vaccine, claiming it is an "evil design" of the West against Islam and could be fatal, has been dismissed as a hoax by the Health Ministry.

Communicable diseases section head Dr Muna Al Mousawi also dismissed claims in another e-mail that widely-used hand sanitizers could prove fatal to children because of their high alcohol content.

"The world has been waiting for the H1N1 swine flu vaccine with bated breath and claims that this vaccine is 'not appropriate' for Muslims and that it could cause death are the last thing we want," Dr Al Mousawi told the GDN.

"The new vaccine will carry as much risk of side effects as any other vaccine for any other disease - nothing more or less - so where is the need to worry?

"This vaccine is now the only sure bet the world has to prevent the swine flu from spreading even further.

"The only mild side effects that we can think of are soreness, redness, or itching where the shot was given; a lump where the shot was given; muscle aches or joint aches; headaches; fatigue; chills or fever and nausea - and these are also extremely rare."

She said only one severe allergic reaction has been noticed out of every 100,000 cases, which "can be true for any vaccine".

Dr Al Mousawi would not directly comment on the 'evil design' theory, but said such e-mail hoaxes were commonplace.

"We urge people not to worry about these and come for the vaccination when it is available," she said.

Bahrain is taking all measures to administer the vaccination to all its 'high risk' population and all pilgrims who intend to go on Haj in the next few months, said Dr Al Mousawi.

She said an e-mail about a "little girl being intoxicated" after licking a hand sanitizer at school was also a hoax.

"These e-mails are nothing new and keep appearing from time to time," she said.

"That e-mail is factually incorrect because it says the child had a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 85 per cent.

"No one can survive if the BAC is that high. A BAC of 40pc would be considered a lethal level."

She said hand sanitizers had an alcohol level of about 60pc, but a "sip or a 'lick' cannot get anyone intoxicated".

Dr Al Mousawi said regardless of the flavours the hand sanitizers come in, no one could be so poisoned as to be given emergency treatment.

"Even if a child licked the sanitizer, he or she would spit it out immediately as it is very pungent, bitter and unpalatable," she said.

Dr Al Mousawi said a very minute quantity that may go in cannot 'intoxicate' a child.

"However, whether it is a sanitizer or liquid soap, it is meant to be used to wash hands and not eat or lick, so it has to be used with caution.

"Children should be told how to use it and very small children have to be supervised."

Dr Al Mousawi urged people not to pay heed to such e-mails and, if they do get them, not to forward them.

"We can use technology to our benefit and not to spread terror and falsehood among the population," she said.

Copyright 2009 Gulf Daily News

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Sep 14, 2009
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