Stop the Shot !Campaign Against H1N1 Vaccine Hits Federal and State Courts

Stop the Shot’ Campaign Against H1N1 Vaccine Hits Federal and State Courts
Law.com Tresa Baldas

10-14-2009

A “stop the shot” campaign has hit federal and state courts. This past Friday, a group of New York doctors and health care workers asked a federal judge in Washington, D.C., to order the federal government not to distribute the H1N1 vaccine. Specifically, they’re challenging the legality of the licensing of the swine flu vaccine, alleging it was approved too quickly without appropriate testing for safety and effectiveness.

Furthermore, the plaintiffs, who filed their suit in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, are seeking an immediate court order to halt mandated H1N1 flu shots in New York state. New York has ordered that all health care workers receive the H1N1 vaccine or risk losing their jobs.

That mandate is also facing a legal challenge in New York state trial court in Manhattan, where a lawsuit on behalf of 60,000 state health care workers has been filed against the state health commissioner to halt the required flu shots. The state has vowed a fight.

A similar lawsuit has been filed in the state of Washington, where the Washington State Nurses Association is suing a multifacility health care provider over a policy requiring nurses to get vaccinated for both the seasonal and swine flu.

“They don’t want to be forced to take it. They know that it could be flawed,” said Leslie Fourton, a New York solo practitioner who is one of several lawyers representing plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit in Washington.

Those plaintiffs include a medical doctor who believes the vaccine is harmful, a nurse who has had adverse reactions to prior flu vaccines, a pregnant nurse’s aide who fears the vaccine could harm her unborn child, and a student who has classes in health care settings and is citing religious reasons for not taking the vaccine.

The plaintiffs also fear they’ll be fired for not taking the vaccine, said Ralph Fucetola, a New Jersey lawyer working on the case. “They don’t want to risk their jobs by not taking it. But these people literally are going to lose their livelihoods if they don’t,” he said.

The Washington regulatory law firm of Swankin & Turner is also advising the New York health care plaintiffs.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials declined comment on the pending litigation. But they did defend the agency’s approval procedure for the H1N1 vaccine.

The FDA believes that this vaccine is safe and effective,” said spokeswoman Pat El-Hinnawy. “The H1N1 vaccine is the same as the seasonal flu vaccine. It’s just a strain of virus that’s been changed … and it’s been given to hundreds of thousands — if not hundreds of millions of people — over the past 20 years.”

UPDATED – Also Read:

Don’t Blame Flu Shots for All Ills, Officials Say
By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.

As soon as swine flu vaccinations start next month, some people getting them will drop dead of heart attacks or strokes, some children will have seizures and some pregnant women will miscarry.

But those events will not necessarily have anything to do with the vaccine. That poses a public relations challenge for federal officials, who remember how sensational reports of deaths and illnesses derailed the large-scale flu vaccine drive of 1976.

This time they are making plans to respond rapidly to such events and to try to reassure a nervous public — and headline-hunting journalists — that the vaccine is not responsible.

Every year, there are 1.1 million heart attacks in the United States, 795,000 strokes and 876,000 miscarriages, and 200,000 Americans have their first seizure. Inevitably, officials say, some of these will happen within hours or days of a flu shot.

READ: Flu Shot Disables Washington Redskins cheerleader Desiree Jennings

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: