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The New York Times has an article regarding the use of adjuvants in the flu vaccine. Adjuvants are additives which boost the effectiveness of a vaccine, consequently permitting the vaccine to be stretched as it were, like thinly slicing the roast to feed more people. Since more commonly now, only proteins or protein fragments are used in vaccines, where previously a weakened or dead pathogen was administered. The difference has resulted in the use of adjuvants to enhance the effectiveness of the vaccine. Alum is commonly used in tetanus and hepatitis vaccines to boost the vaccine’s effectiveness and is generally considered a weak adjuvant and safe for use. Alum is not effective in the flu vaccine. Other adjuvants used in the past include: gram-negative bacteria, cholesterol, fatty acids, paraffins and vegetable oils. Adjuvants are foreign bodies and produce an adverse reaction in the body. The purpose of the adjuvant is to produce a reaction in the body. The type of reaction it produces however cannot be guaranteed and therein lies the conundrum. It can be as simple as pain at the injection site, fatigue and swelling. There is also argument that it can trigger more substantial responses, such as autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis.  The debate, explained in the article is whether or not adjuvants should be used. The United States, at least for now, is not permitting the use of adjuvants in its vaccine for the flu.

For more information on the use of adjuvants:

What’s your opinion?



My favorite time of the year arrives today officially at 5:18 p.m. with the autumnal equinox. “Equinox” refers to the fact that the sun is directly over the equator, rendering the length of night and day across the earth to equal amounts. This occurs two times a year – spring and autumn. The other two important moments are the solstices – summer and winter – representing the longest and shortest days of the year, respectively. Essentially today, regardless of where you are in the world, the length of day and night are equal. It is the beginning of the astrological sign Libra – the scales, which represents a balance (my astrological sign so no wonder I have a partiality to this season). Autumnal equinox is commonly referred to around the world as a time of balance, equality and harmony in world. Pagan rituals adapted around the autumnal equinox revolve around the harvest and respecting and appreciating the bounties provided by Mother Earth.

Autumnal equinox is commonly called the first day of Fall here in the United States, but it is also known by the following: Cornucopia, The Feast of Avilon, Festival of Dionysus, Harvest Home, Harvest Tide, Mabon, Night of the Hunter, Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest and Witch’s Thanksgiving.

Traditionally, the full moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox is called the Harvest Moon because it was so bright that the farmers could harvest crops by the light of the moon. It is also called the Wine Moon or Wine Harvest since most wine grapes are harvested during the lunar period beginning in September.

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