Flu shots - how useful are they?
With 6300 cases of influenza so far and a reported six flu related deaths in Colorado, US health officials say that "this could be an especially bad flu season nationwide, with some parts of the country — particularly Colorado, Texas and Nevada — hit hard a month earlier than usual", as reported by AP.
How to prepare for the eventuality of catching the bug? Or better yet - how to avoid catching it in the first place? Flu shots are the method of choice, but they appear to have a number of drawbacks. Dr. Sherry Tenpenny has put little known facts about the officially recommended preventive measure together in an interesting article.
A comment from a friend in Canada: "... According to Dr J Seal, of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: Any and all flu vaccines are capable of causing Guillane-Barre.’ In 1976 over 500 people in the US were paralysed by the disease, with thirty dying, after being injected with that year's flu vaccine."
Update 5 December 2003 - Comment from Mayday in Denmark: "If you wish / dare to be vaccinated (at all) you should definitely avoid vaccines with mercury (thiomersal). But be aware too, that if you ask for the vaccine given to children, which is without thiomersal, it still will contain formaldehyde.
... Possible (side) effects: paralysis, infection of the nerve root and cramps. Even if the serious side effects are rare, in the neurological department of the biggest hospital in Copenhagen (Rigshospitalet), they have chosen not to vaccinate the staff with the flu vaccine. Directing M.D. Peter Soeborg says: "We have seen patients with such serious nerve root infections, that we do not find it is worth the risk to vaccinate healthy people against the flu just to avoid a few days of sickness." He is of the opinion that the flu vaccine should only be given to people in the danger zone; "elderly over 65 years of age and people with a reduced immune defence."
I invite you to visit The University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine's How Mercury Causes Brain Neuron Degeneration: at this site - and see how nerves respond to being exposed to mercury. The damage is similar to the one you find in the brain tissue of patients who died of Alzhermer's.
In the last Health Trends 2002 conference in Copenhagen, the professor of chemistry, Boyd Haley, spoke about thiomersal being the most poisonous component in most vaccines, and because of synergistic toxicity, thiomersal used together with alluminium in vaccines can result in serious neurological and systemic damage.
Update 7 December 2003 - Comment from Leo Rebello, India: "FOR FLU, WHICH IS RAGING IN AMERICA, THE BEST REMEDY IS RHUS TOX OF HOMOEOPATHY. Rhus Tox 200 -- 4 pills, three to four times a day. Also take lots of fruit juices (citric - oranges, sweet lemon, etc.) in warm water. Absolutely, no need for flu vaccine. Do NOT suffer. Get well soon. DR. LEO REBELLO
... and another comment from Mayday in Denmark: Alternatives to flu shots:
Considered the best remedy against the flu (scientifically proven) is Sambucol - an active substance of the concentrated juice of elderberries.
Also recommended as prevention: as much Vitamin-C as possible. If you get sick, 1,5 - 2 grams per hour till you get better/well.
The homeopathic vaccine Influenzum 200k can be used as an alternative to the vaccine: 3 x 2 granules in November to be repeated in January (Tjarko Holtjer)
Also the homeopathic remedy Rhus Tox 200 can be used: 4 pills 3 - 4 times a day can be used as an alternative. - Leo Rebello.
Drink lots of water, vegetable juice and fruit (citric) juices (sweet lemon, grapefruits, oranges) in warm water - also if you get sick: Tea made from birch, eucalyptus, fennel, mint and onion can be recommended. Fever should be encouraged - and not supressed.
SHOULD YOU GET THE FLU SHOT?
By Dr Sherri Tenpenny
News reports have been flooding us with articles warning that the impending flu season may be the worst in years. Even though it is difficult to separate the facts from the hype, a close evaluation of the flu vaccine will reveal that serious questions must be raised about the recommendations that are routinely touted, namely high efficacy with little risk. Anyone considering a flu shot should become informed about the substances coming through that needle, and should be determined to investigate the safety and efficacy issues that are still unresolved.
The vaccine virus
Each year, a new vaccine is developed that contains three different viruses (one influenza B and two influenza A strains). CDC officials select the new viruses based on which viruses were prevalent during the flu season in China and Australia the previous year. The CDC admits that the viruses selected for the new vaccine are chosen on the basis of an educated guess.[i]
What's in a flu shot?
The influenza virus is grown in specific pathogen-free(SPF) eggs. Eggs are tested for a variety of agentsusually between 23 and 31to confirm the absence of those specific pathogens. Laboratories limit the number of agents that are screened due to the shear abundance of potential viruses and/or bacteria to choose from. In addition, screening for every potential agent would be cost prohibitive.[ii] If none of the tested agents are detected, the vaccine is reported as pathogen free.
However, it should be understood that there is a distinct difference between pathogen free and specific pathogen-free. In its July 1996 report, the Institute of Medicine acknowledged that although it is not possible to produce a completely uncontaminated animal, it is possible to produce an animal [or egg] certified to be free of specific pathogens.[iii] Viruses that are harmless to their animal host, however, may be potentially harmful to humans.
During the manufacturing process, antibiotics (neomycin, polymyxin B and gentamicin) are added to eliminate stray bacteria found in the mixture. The final solution can contain the following additives in any combination: Triton X-100 (a detergent); polysorbate 80 (a potential carcinogen); gelatin; formaldehyde; and residual egg proteins. In addition, many of the influenza vaccines still contain thimerosal as a preservative. Thimerosal (mercury) is being investigated for its link to brain injury and autoimmune disease.
Does the flu shot protect?
There are no guarantees that the influenza viruses selected for the vaccine will be the identical strains circulating during a given flu season. In fact, it has recently been announced that this year's flu vaccine does not include the strain that is being reported by doctors in the community called the A Fujianstrain. Outbreaks have been reported in Texas, Colorado and elsewhere[iv] that involve strains that do not match the current flu vaccine. CDC tests have confirmed that more than 80 per cent of the 55 strains of influenza virus isolated thus far are the A Fujian strain. Even so, the CDC still maintains that the current vaccine could provide cross-protection against the new variant, but the fact is, no one knows for sure.
Moreover, the majority of illnesses characterized by fever, fatigue, cough and aching muscles are not caused by the influenza virus. Non-influenza viruses (e.g., rhinoviruses respiratory syncytial virus [RSV], adenoviruses, and parainfluenza viruses) can cause symptoms referred to influenza-like illnesses (ILI). Certain bacteria, such as Legionella spp., Chlamydia pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and Streptococcus pneumoniae, have been documented as the causes of ILI.[v]
Notably, these microbes are not part of the flu vaccine. Unless an organism's antigen is contained within the vaccine, there is no protection conferred by the vaccine. It is estimated that most adults will average 1-3 episodes of ILI, and most children will average 3-6 episodes. The CDC also admits that many persons who have been vaccinated against influenza can still get the flu[vi]
Targeting the elderly
The flu vaccine is generally recommended for persons aged 65 and older, and those with medical conditions who could experience serious complications from the flu. Medical journals report broad differences in effectiveness for the elderly, ranging from 0 to 85%.
The CDC states that 90% of deaths from influenza occur among the elderly. Considering that nearly 65% of all deaths (from any cause) occur in this age group, it is nearly impossible to prove that flu shots significantly increase life expectancy in this group. The truth is that most people young and old will weather a bout of the flu without hospitalization or complications.
A serious concern: Alzheimer's Disesase
Hugh Fudenberg, MD, an immunogeneticist and biologist with nearly 850 papers published in peer review journals, has reported that if an individual had five consecutive flu shots between 1970 and 1980 (the years studied), his/her chances of getting Alzheimer's Disease is ten times higher than if they had zero, one, or two shots.[vii]
Dr. Boyd Haley, Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Kentucky, Lexington has done extensive research in the area of mercury toxicity and the brain. Haley's research has established a likely connection between mercury toxicity and Alzheimers disease. [viii] In a paper published in collaboration with researchers at University of Calgary, Haley stated that seven of the characteristic markers that we look for to distinguish Alzheimer's disease can be produced in normal brain tissues, or cultures of neurons, by the addition of extremely low levels of mercury.[ix]
Does this prove that the mercury contained in the influenza shot can be directly linked to Alzheimer's? No, absolutely not. But further research in this area is critically needed because the absence of proof is not the proof of absence.[x]
Flu vaccine now for children
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) adopted a resolution effective March 1, 2003 that expanded the use of the influenza vaccine to include children aged 6-23 months. The recommendations also included vaccinating those aged 2 to 18 years who live in households containing children younger than 2 years of age.[xi]
The flu vaccine most commonly given to children is Fluzone, a trivalent vaccine grown in chicken eggs. Harvested with formaldehyde and containing the recommended ratio of 15 ug of each of the three prototype viral strains, each dose of Fluzone> also contains 25 ug of mercury.[xii] The new CDC recommendations include giving the influenza vaccine to children beginning at six months of age and then annually, for the rest of their lives. Children less than age 9 receiving their first flu shot, two doses of vaccine are recommended, with a minimum interval of one month between the two doses. However, the CDC does not provide a direct reference to substantiate this recommendation.[xiii]
On June 17, 2003, the FDA approved an intranasal influenza vaccine for use in healthy persons aged 54 90 years. Flumist is a live-virus vaccine that can cause a litany of problems.
( ... see this article for more information on Flumist)
If you choose not to receive the flu shot, have a discussion with your doctor regarding other options. However, some simple and possibly quite effective things you can do for yourself to prevent the flu include:
1) avoid white sugar;[xiv]
2) exercise regularly;
3) get adequate sleep;
4) eat a healthy diet, omitting trans-fats;
5) drink plenty of purified water daily and
6) wash your hands.
A common way people contract viral illnesses is by rubbing their nose or their eyes after their hands have been contaminated with a virus. The CDC states, the most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands.[xv]
We are so used to taking medications for prevention and treatment that it is difficult to comprehend that these modest recommendations are really the most powerful ways to minimize the likelihood of getting the flu.
Making the decision
You may decide to consult a physician who is schooled in alternative medicine to assess a variety of options for you and your family. What is most important, in the end, is to become as informed as possible regarding your options for keeping healthy and avoiding the flu.
[i] Sabin, Russel and Reynolds. Breakdowns Mar Flu Shot Program Production, distribution delays raise fears of nation vulnerable to epidemic. San Francisco Chronicle. Feb. 25, 2001
[ii] Charles River Laboratories, A Laboratory Animal Health Monitoring Program: Rationale and Development,' (Winter 1990);
[iii] Institute of Medicine Press Release: Federal Guidelines Needed to Ensure Safety in Animal-to-Human Organ Transplants. July 17, 1996.
[iv] CBS: The Associated Press. CDC Says Flu Season Is Going Strong in Parts of U.S., Vaccine Doesn't Match Strain
[v] MMWR. November 9, 2001 / 50(44);984-6
[vi] MMWR Nov. 9, 2001/50(44); 984-6
[vii] Hugh Fudenberg, MD, is Founder and Director of Research, Neurolmmuno Therapeutic Research Foundation. Information from Dr. Hugh Fudenberg came from transcribed notes of Dr. Fudenberg's speech at the NVIC International Vaccine Conference, Arlington, VA September, 1997. Quoted with permission.
[viii] The Relationship of Toxic Effects of Mercury to Exacerbation of the Medical Condition Classified as Alzheimers Disease by Boyd E. Haley, PhD.
[ix] NeuroReport, 12(4):733-737, 2001
[xi] MMWR. 2002;51[RR-3]:1-31
[xii] Package insert. Influenza Virus VaccineFluzoneÃ‚® 2003 2004 Formula
[xiii] MMWR. 2002: 51 [RR-3], pg. 19
[xiv] All forms of refined sugar depress white blood cells' ability to destroy bacteria. See Sanchez A, et al. Role of sugars in human neutrophilic phagocytosis. Am J Clin Nutr 1973;26:1180.
[xv] CDC Handwashing: An ounce of prevention keeps the germs away.
See also related:
"... if an individual has five consecutive flu shots his or her chances of developing Alzheimer's Disease are 10 times greater than if they had one, two or no shots..."
Index of articles regarding FLU - An impressive collection of articles on influenza and flu vaccines by Vaccination Liberation
Dr. Mercola - Time for the Flu Vaccine?
Dr. Mercola - Flu Shot Demand Rises Sharply BUT Don't Be Fooled
Chris Gupta - UPI Investigates: The vaccine conflict
Dr. Pat Rattigan - Variolae Vaccinae – the birth of the fraud
Looking back at the flu season, all that talk about how severe it was fades into the realm of hype and propaganda (March 2004):
What Ever Happened to the Flu Scare?
BBC - October 2006: Winter flu jabs evidence queried
There is not enough evidence to support the policy of immunising people against seasonal flu, an expert has claimed
Mr Jefferson, who works for the Cochrane Library - a body that determines the relative effectiveness of health interventions ... said the most reliable way to judge their effects was to use systematic reviews - impartial summaries of evidence from many different studies. But when he did this, he found flu vaccines had little or no effect on many influenza campaign objectives such as hospital stay, time off work, or death from influenza and its complications.
posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Thursday December 4 2003
updated on Tuesday December 14 2010
URL of this article:
Flu vaccine a Misty promise
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