Thursday, October 1, 2009

Re: H1N1 Virus / Swine Flu

I'm gonna post the yearbook experience I was working on tomorrow instead, since I wanted to post this extra info that was mentioned in the letter which was just read to the congregations in regards to the possibility of an outbreak of H1N1 virus. And some basic points to remember if it does have a significant effect on our local territory or members of the congregation.
First, here's the article which was recommended in the letter that everyone should read (found on pgs 7-9 of the December 22, 2005 Awake! issue):

Pandemics-What The Future Holds

In case anyone didn't get to hear the letter that was read, here's what it basically said:

-Limit contact with infected individuals
-Apply the scriptural advice found at (Philippians 2:4) "keeping an eye, not in personal interest upon just YOUR own matters, but also in personal interest upon those of the others." not putting yourself in a position to infect others in the territory or the congregation if you personally begin to feel flu-like symptoms (since many people have weaker immune systems and it could have a greater impact on them than you)
-Don't overlook common sense preventative measures of proper hygiene and cleanliness. If you are sick and begin coughing, always cover your mouth by coughing into a tissue or article of clothing to limit exposure of infectious germs being spread into the air.
-Keep up your spiritual routine. Even if you are temporarily sick, you can listen to congregation meetings my utilizing the telephone conference line, or by arranging for a member of the congregation to record the information for you. You can also continue to engage in the ministry through telephone and letter-writing territory.
-Don't overreact -'pestilence' is one of the signs that we're living in the last days and we should anticipate this.

*also just for my own curiosity I looked up some additional info in regards to vaccinations (since the possible 'enforcement' of the swine-flu vaccine seems to be worrying people) and I wanted to see if there was anything to be concerned about in regards to the blood issue. The following info is from pgs 24 & 25 of the 8/8/93 Awake! article "Should My Family Be Immunized?"

Blood in the Production of Vaccines
This raises an important point for Christians, who are concerned with the Bible’s prohibition on misuse of blood. (Acts 15:28, 29) Are any other vaccines made from blood?
As a general rule, with the exception of Heptavax-B, active immunizations are not produced from blood. This includes all baby shots, for example.
The opposite is true of passive immunization. One can assume that when one is advised to have a shot after likely exposure, such as after stepping on a rusty nail or after being bitten by a dog, the shots (unless they are just routine boosters) are hyperimmune serum and have been made using blood. This is also true of Rh immune globulin (Rhogam), which is often recommended for Rh-negative mothers who for some reason are exposed to Rh-positive blood, as at the birth of an Rh-positive baby.
Since these passive immunizations are those of concern regarding the issue of blood, what stand would be taken by the conscientious Christian? Previous articles in this journal and its companion, The Watchtower, have presented a consistent position: It would be up to the Bible-trained conscience of the individual Christian as to whether he would accept this treatment for himself and his family.

Should My Family Get Immunized?
Christians have great respect for life and sincerely desire to do the best for their family’s health. Whether you conscientiously decide to have your family immunized is your personal decision to make.—Galatians 6:5.
One expert has summarized the situation well: “Parents should be informed about each medical intervention for their child. They are more than just legal guardians of their child. They are responsible for the well-being and protection of their offspring during that period of life in which the offspring is dependent.” In this matter of immunization, as well as in all other medical matters, Jehovah’s Witnesses take that responsibility very seriously.—
Contributed by a physician

Immunizations Not Derived From Blood
Baby shots (DPT, OPV, MMR)
Hib vaccine
Flu shots

Immunizations Derived From Blood
Antivenins (for snake and spider venom)
Immune globulins (for various diseases)
Gamma globulin
Hyperimmune serum preparations (antirabies serum, for example)

*keep in mind that this article is from 1993 so I don't know if any of the vaccine info has changed since then in regards to blood being used. So it's important to do additional research since when it comes to blood 'components' and 'fractions' that remains a personal conscience matter for each Christian to prayerfully research and decide for themselves ... here's a related 'Question From Readers' in the 6/15/78 Watchtower:

Are serum injections compatible with Christian belief?
What, however, about accepting serum injections to fight against disease, such as are employed for diphtheria, tetanus, viral hepatitis, rabies, hemophilia and Rh incompatibility? This seems to fall into a ‘gray area.’ Some Christians believe that accepting a small amount of a blood derivative for such a purpose would not be a manifestation of disrespect for God’s law; their conscience would permit such. (Compare Luke 6:1-5.) Others, though, feel conscientiously obliged to refuse serums because these contain blood, though only a tiny amount. Hence, we have taken the position that this question must be resolved by each individual on a personal basis. We urge each one to strive to have a clear conscience and to be responsive to God’s guidance found in His Word.—Psalm 119:105.