By Amber Gristak
Today, the St. Louis University Medical Center began the second phase of human testing for the vaccine anticipated to stop the spread of the H1N1 virus. However, after speaking with workers in the medical center’s special Vaccine Center, I learned that volunteers for the tests are getting harder to find.
I also learned that each volunteer receives two shots of the vaccine. Each shot is administered during a separate visit. The volunteer is then asked to come back for 10 separate visits. Each visit is spaced one week a part.
In regards to the volunteer shortage, the shortage falls within youngest group. The age range from this group is from 6 months to 17 years. According to a source within the hospital, the medical center needs 150 volunteers in that specific age range. As of 11:30 am on August 26, they have 30. Despite the shortage, testing began with this group, this morning, as scheduled.
This is a big drop in willingness since last week’s debut in Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Hospital. At that time, there was abundant amount of people eager to sign up. That hospital wooed in a total of 600 volunteers and had to begin turning people away.
One reason for the sudden lack of interest in this medical gamble could be the high amount of negative media attention. In the past week, many organizations and people came out to remind us that vaccines are possibly a cause of autism.
The first study ushered in countless criticism from parents whose children fall on the autistic spectrum. The notable non-profit group ICare4Autism received many emails pertaining to the testing. The Facebook page for the New York based organization received an overwhelming amount of comments of opposition.
“If there is a possible risk from the vaccine, greater than actually getting the swine flu, then it seems crazy to take the chance,” said ICare4Autism Facebook group member Jane Paterson who has an 11-year-old son with autism.
Then as the world seemed to battle it out on the web scene, the first round of testing continued. However, the low numbers in St. Louis may indicate that people refuse to gamble on their children’s health.