The video purports to be a list of ingredients in the swine flu vaccine and information about these ingredients. It actually contains misinformation (suprise, surprise) and some scaremongering cartoons. The misinformation relevant to this post is the alleged link between squalene and Gulf War Syndrome (GWS).
The blog post turns out to be essentially a repost of something written by Dr Joseph Mercola, with some rather colourful blue, purple, and red text. How lovely. Again, it contains misinformation about squalene and Gulf War Syndrome. The blogger adds a note regarding the presence of ethylmercury (there have been some concerns about this ingredient, but they are based on a misinterpretation of the EPA and FDA guidelines.
The Daily Express article was written by Lucy Johnston, author of the appalling (and now deleted) Sunday Express article on HPV vaccination. It is every bit as bad as you might expect. Like the blog I link to above, it refers to the presence of ethylmercury (in thimerosal/thiomersal). It also raises the issue of Gulf War Syndrome.
Why am I so confident that squalene is not linked to Gulf War Syndrome?
The vaccines that were alleged to have contained squalene did not actually include this ingredient, which in any case, would appear to be safe. As the World Health Organisation writes of squalene and gulf war syndrome:
Squalene is a component of some adjuvants that is added to vaccines to enhance the immune response. A naturally occurring substance found in plants, animals and humans, squalene is synthesized in the liver and circulates in the human bloodstream. It is also found in a variety of foods, cosmetics, over-the-counter medications and health supplements.
They go on to point out that there is a vaccine that:
contains about 10 mg of squalene per dose. Over 22 million doses have been distributed since that time. Reported rates of adverse events and local reactogenicity are not in excess of those that would be expected with other inactivated seasonal flu vaccines, suggesting that squalene in this vaccine poses no significant risk.
And here is the passage that relates to Gulf War Syndrome:
A link between the health problems of Gulf-War veterans and possible presence of squalene in vaccines received by these soldiers has been suggested. One published report has suggested that some army veterans who received anthrax vaccines developed anti-squalene antibodies and that these antibodies caused disabilities. However, squalene was not added to the vaccines administered to these veterans, nor was it used in the manufacturing process. Various papers have been published outlining the technical deficiencies in that original report. [In all quotes, the emphasis is mine.]
It is frankly bizarre that these vaccines linked with Gulf War Syndrome on the basis of a non-existent ingedients that is, in any case, safe. I’m not sure how these myths are started or spread. I can almost forgive lone individuals writing blog posts or posting videos that contain such inaccuracies, but what are the Daily Express doing publishing articles with such untrue claims?
The Express are a newspaper, with an editorial team and (I think) an obligation to provide news. While I would define news as being, say, information about recent and important events, the Daily Express seems to have forgotten about the “information” aspect of news and are apparently happy to print untruths. Perhaps they would claim that they don’t have time for the luxury of fact-checking? I shall send them a link to this post, to save them having to expend time and energy on fact-checking prior to publishing future articles on squalene, vaccines, and Gulf War Syndrome.
I have also archived a copy of the Express article in case it disappears (as their article on HPV vaccination has done). The cached copy is here: http://backupurl.com/n2cbyv and a PDF is here: Express squalene and mercury.
EDIT, 23rd November 16.45: for completeness, here is the email I sent to the Express:
Dear Mr Marsh,
I note that this online article: http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/122228 claims that there are “Gulf War Toxins in Swine Flu Vaccine” and would like to point out that this is false. As I point out in this blog post: https://jdc325.wordpress.com/2009/11/23/swine-flu-squalene-and-gulf-war-syndrome/, there was never any squalene in the vaccines alleged to be linked to Gulf War Syndrome – the World Health Organisation website states that “squalene was not added to the vaccines administered to these veterans, nor was it used in the manufacturing process“. I do hope that you will find time to correct the headline, and the text in the article to reflect the truth. I also hope that any future articles on vaccination will avoid reprinting the untruths in your above article.
EDIT, 25th November 15.45: No response from the Express regarding their false “Gulf War syndrome toxin in swine flu” claim as yet. I shan’t hold my breath.