Officials said a Vanderbilt man died from the flu over the weekend, while the number of cases in Western Pennsylvania continues to increase.
Health officials said the number of flu cases is increasing even among people who were vaccinated.
“Myself and my colleagues, we observe people that were vaccinated for the flu and are coming down with symptoms. So there seems to be some variant strain circulating.” said Dr. Andrew Sahud, chairman of the infection prevention committee at Allegheny General Hospital.
The above comments provide additional anecdotal data on vaccine failures this season across the northern hemisphere. In week 6 the number of H1N1 cases in Allegheny County almost doubled from 23 to 42, representing almost half of the reported cases for the entire state. Thus, it is likely that the above cases are dominated by H1N1, so a vaccine failure would be consistent with data from the UK, where vaccine failure in 50% of vaccinated patients was reported.
Vaccine failure and immunological escape are also supported by the high number of cases being reported throughout the United States. The P&I death rate for week 6 spiked to 8.9%, just shy of the five year peak of 9.1%, providing further evidence for vaccine failure. Last season in the fall of 2009 a serological study indicate almost half of the school age population in Allegheny county had H1N1 antibodies, confirming widespread infections in the greater Pittsburgh area, but H1N1 has made a comeback this season signaling immunological escape. The repeated selection of California/7/2009 for the current season has led to the predicted escape, and the selection of the same targets for the 2011/2012 season provides additional concerns for the use of the antigenic characterization test by vaccine selection committees in the US and worldwide.
The vaccine escape in Western Pennsylvania increases concerns that the procedures used by WHO and CDC to select vaccine targets are hazardous to the world’s health.
February 21, 2011