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Flu Vaccine Dangers
Every year, the government actively promotes flu vaccination to reduce the incidence of the flu. Unfortunately, this vaccination drive, although successful, does not seem to reduce the number of people coming down with the flu. Independent studies and reviews from health experts reveal that flu vaccines are barely effective and may even cause harm. This article examines the efficacy of flu shots as well as the dangers of these vaccines. Read on to learn why flu shots are bestselling placebos, how they can cause more harm than good and how to stay healthy this flu season.
by Brad Chase
Influenza is a disease commonly known as the flu. It affects birds and mammals and it is caused by a family of RNA viruses known as influenza viruses.
These viruses are usually transmitted through the air when the carrier coughs or sneezes. However, they have also been known to be transmitted by contact with contaminated surfaces or the droppings of infected birds.
Common symptoms of the flu include runny nose, nasal congestion, watering eyes, chills, headache, sore throat, fever, weakness, muscle pain, abdominal pain and fatigue.
Influenza is a seasonal disease. Every year, it affects 3 – 5 million people worldwide and 10% of those affected die. In certain years, the infection rate becomes a lot higher and the resulting pandemic may claim millions of lives.
Generally, a pandemic results when a new strain of the viruses emerges. These new strains are often viruses that have crossed over from birds or other mammals. Therefore, humans become susceptible to new strains until their immune systems adapt to the new viruses.
Influenza viruses belong to the Orthomyxoviridae family. The make up 3 of the 5 genera in this family.
Vaccination is the most widely recommended intervention to prevent seasonal flu.
Although there are hundreds of influenza viruses, only a very few are targeted by flu vaccines every year.
For example, the trivalent influenza vaccine, containing inactivated antigens from only 3 strains of influenza viruses (2 strains of influenza A virus and 1 strain of influenza B virus), is the most common flu shot.
Therefore, health regulatory bodies and pharmaceutical companies simply predict a few strains they believe will be most virulent that year and then spend 6 - 9 months manufacturing vaccines to protect against those. Unfortunately, their predictions are often wrong.
Besides, the odds are not really good that you will be fully protected against the hundreds of strains of flu viruses that may predominate each year.
Every year, governments (especially of developed countries) mount campaigns to get as many of their citizens as possible to get their flu shots.
Flu vaccines are especially recommended for the young (over the age of 6 months), the elderly, people with weakened immune systems and health workers.
Generally, there are 4 categories of flu vaccines. There is the regular flu vaccine meant for the general population; there is another version for people older than 65 years (this vaccine holds a higher dose); while the first two flu shots are intramuscular injections the third kind of flu vaccine is an intradermal vaccine; then lastly, there is the flu vaccine in form of nasal spray.
Of these, the last is the only one that contains live attenuated viruses (LAIV or live attenuated influenza vaccine). The other 3 flu shots only contain antigens from influenza viruses.
Antigens are proteins produced by infective agents (such as influenza viruses) against which the immune system develops antibodies.
Flu vaccination does not offer lifelong protection. In fact, after 6 months, their potencies would have halved. Yet studies find that certain ingredients of these vaccines can persist for years. This is a rather worrying outcome considering the fact that some of the ingredients in vaccines can cause long-term damage to your health.
Take the nasal spray flu vaccine for example. Besides the “disarmed” influenza viruses it holds, it is also prepared with sugar and MSG (monosodium glutamate).
MSG is known to cross the blood-brain barrier and can damage neurons as well as disrupt the actions of neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. Delivering it so close to the blood-brain barrier is clearly highly dangerous.
In addition, most vaccines, including flu vaccines, are prepared with eggs. Therefore, they can also have residue avian proteins and avian retroviruses. It can be argued that this is likely one route by which avian strains of flu viruses cross over to humans.
In fact, safety concerns about egg proteins left over in vaccines informed the decision to exempt people with egg allergies from certain flu vaccination.
Another controversial content of flu vaccines is thiomersal. Thiomersal is a mercury compound and one of the commonest preservatives still used in vaccines.
Considering the fact that mercury is a heavy metal, it seems odd to include thiomersal (49% mercury) in flu vaccines.
Even the most hyped estimates of the efficacy and effectiveness of flu vaccines revealed that they are barely effective for stopping seasonal flu.
In a 2011 study published in the journal, The Lancet, the authors analyzed 31 past studies investigating the effectiveness of flu vaccines only to find out that these vaccines are only effective 67% of the time.
Studies also show that the elderly, who are most vulnerable to flu, benefit the least from flu vaccines.
Most independent studies agree that flu vaccines are barely effective. Strangely, the results of most clinical trials investigating their efficacies are never published or riddled with useless data. Meanwhile, discerning doctors and scientists continue to refuse getting vaccinated with flu shots even while they endorse the “party line” for everyone to get vaccinated.
Even the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) clearly states that flu vaccines are only effective if the strains they carry are the same ones in circulation in a particular year.
What are the odds of that? Let’s do the math.
To make the trivalent or even the new quadrivalent (against 4 influenza viruses) flu vaccine for the year, the CDC selects 2 – 3 strains of influenza A virus out of more than 250 identified strains and 1 – 2 stains of influenza B viruses from about 100 identified strains. Strains of Influenza C virus are not considered.
This selection (and what are the selection criteria?) means that there is a 1 in 10,000 chance that the seasonal flu shot you are receiving will provide an effective coverage for that year.
Those are poor odds by any measure but it is one that is made for us every year. And every single year, reports of side effects of flu vaccination highlight the dangers of these vaccines and confirm that we are no better off without those flu shots. Indeed, we can be worse off.
The flu season that swept the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 was particularly enlightening.
First, it came close to becoming a flu pandemic. Notably, experts said it began early and was driven by an aggressive virus. In addition, the season coincided with a surge in stomach flu (a non-flu disease also driven by viruses and producing related symptoms) as well as a spike in cases of whooping cough.
The aggressive influenza virus was identified as an influenza A virus strain known as H3N2.
The CDC announced that it was the strain they predicted and were prepared for. In their own words, the vaccines manufactured for the flu season was a good match for the H3N2 virus.
So why did the flu season came close to an outbreak of flu pandemic?
Did fewer people get vaccinated? No. In fact, the data showed that that flu season recorded one of the highest rates of flu vaccination.
The truth was that those vaccines were no better than placebo. To hide the truth, Sanofi, one of the manufacturers of these vaccines, announced that they had run out of vaccines and were not planning to make more for that year.
A 2012 Cochrane Review put the flu vaccine debacle in the spotlight when it concluded that there was no way to determine that flu vaccines were effective.
Specifically, the study found out that both the regular flu vaccine and the nasal spray variant were not particularly effective at stopping flu viruses.
In addition, the reviewers identified that the advice to give children younger than 2 years these vaccines was deeply flawed. They found that young children were most at risk of developing complications from flu vaccination.
A search of medical literature reveals that flu vaccines have been linked to incidences of narcolepsy, febrile convulsions, asthma and Guiliain-Barre syndrome (a fatal neurological condition and autoimmune disorder that leads to ascending paralysis).
Some experts believe that the long-term effects of flu vaccination can also increase the risks of autism, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.
In fact, new evidences now indicate that flu vaccinations can be especially harmful to children, the elderly and pregnant women. Unfortunately, these are the group of citizens that current regulations mandate to get flu vaccines.
A study conducted by researchers from the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health highlighted the dangers of flu vaccines for pregnant women.
The study found that trivalent flu vaccines triggered significant inflammation in pregnant women and can lead to preeclampsia and preterm birth.
Another proof that flu vaccines should be avoided by pregnant women comes from Finland where the 2009/2010 H1N1 swine flu vaccine was found to be the cause of narcolepsy among children born around that time.
Unfortunately, data demonstrating the dangers of flu vaccination are usually never released. In fact, in most cases, and after years of investigation, health regulatory bodies would rather blame poor manufacturing practices rather the vaccines.
Since vaccine manufacturers are immune from liabilities resulting from the damage caused by these vaccines, there is no one to take responsibility for these dangerous and ineffective vaccines.
So, with all these identified dangers of vaccination and the knowledge that flu vaccines barely provide any protection, why are doctors actively promoting them and why are they not offering healthier alternatives? The answer to that is financial incentive.
A little investigation shows that every flu season is an opportunity for a modest windfall for doctors especially pediatricians.
Doctors do stock flu vaccines in their practices in preparation for the flu season. While this may seem altruistic at first glance, doctors do make as much as 25% profit (plus vaccine administration fee) for vaccinating you.
Why then would they want to listen to your misgivings when they are busy selling you on flu shots?
Strangely, the most popular vaccination centers are not even doctors’ offices. Surveys show that the majority of flu vaccinations occurs at pharmacies and workplaces.
In fact, in 2010, more Americans got vaccinated at drugstores and supermarket pharmacies than at their workplaces. This increase was reflected in the increasing number of pharmacists trained to vaccinate. Between 2007 and 2010, 110,000 more pharmacist learnt to vaccinate.
This trend towards routine vaccination is especially bad because it increases the odds of fatal vaccination.
Pharmacies are not equipped to deal with sudden and life-threatening emergencies that can result from vaccination. Some people cannot tolerate flu shots and they quickly develop allergic reactions ranging from seizures to breathing difficulties.
Getting flu vaccines carries its risk but getting vaccinating far from hospitals is especially dangerous.
Rather than submitting to ineffective and harmful flu shots, you can survive the flu season by making simple, healthier choices.
First, make sure to wash your hands regularly and avoid close contact with people with the flu. Avoid crowded places and especially hospitals during this period unless your being there is unavoidable.
Besides improving your hygiene, make sure to raise your vitamin D status and also improve your gut flora.
Studies show that vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for coming down with the flu. Since your body makes less vitamin D during the winter months, you are more susceptible to infections.
So, improve your immune system with more vitamin D by getting more sunshine or taking to tanning beds. Alternatively, take an oral vitamin D3 supplement and combine it with vitamin K2 for even better immune response.
Another way to stimulate your immune response is to improve your gut flora with probiotics.
The normal gut flora protects your immune system from being overwhelmed with toxins and pathogens. To protect this flora, cut down on grains, sugars and processed foods. Instead, eat more healthy foods as well as fermented foods.
Finally, get lots of rest and exercise regularly. Keep your body active even while you avoid getting stressed and fatigued.
All of these measures help protect your immune system and ensures that you do not succumb to the flu.
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Progressive Health's Seasonal Support formula may be able to strengthen your immune system and help you recover from your seasonal illness.