Monday, November 8, 2010

Flu Vaccine: Informed Decisions

The CDC is pouring thousands if not millions into their flu vaccination campaign this season. Mothers on TwitterMoms are offered a [rather tiny] compensation to promote flu vaccines per CDC as "the best protection against the flu for your family". Though their statement is bold, many of us still wonder if these words can be trusted. I have learned both from my own experience and extensive online research that this may not always be the case. I highly doubt it is a coincidence that most people I know who get the vaccine also get the flu every season and those that do not - don't get the flu. There is plenty of information to help you make an informed and educated decision (no, not from blog sources or conspiracy sites if you're wondering). It can be hard to find, so I did the work for you!

The following is simply a list of reasons we have found not to inject ourselves with the flu vaccine this season or any other season. For ways to protect yourself from the flu naturally, you can read our other flu prevention post.

  • According to the CDC, Fluarix swine flu vaccine manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline contains Polysorbate 80 (a.k.a. Tween 80). In a study conducted in Slovakia at the Institute of Preventive and Clinical Medicine, newborn female rats were injected with Polysorbate 80 4 and 7 days after birth. The findings concluded that the female rats had accelerated maturity, damaged vagina and womb lining, significant hormonal changes, and severe ovary deformities. Ultimately the young female rats were infertile, yes - unable to have children. Now I don't care how much of it is in a flu vaccine, the point is - I don't want this in my body.
  • In an October 2008 study published in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, the conclusion was that vaccinating young children against the flu had no impact on flu-related hospitalizations or doctor visits during two recent flu seasons. In fact they state:
"significant influenza vaccine effectiveness could not be demonstrated for any season, age, or setting"
  • A systematic review of 51 studies published in Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews showed that the flu vaccine has the same efficacy for children under two as a placebo. Plus it demonstrated that the effectiveness of the vaccine for children over two is between 33 and 36%. How is that for sound science, it isn't even 50% effective.
  • We are told by the CDC that there are 36, 000+ flu-related deaths each year. What they do not publicize is that actual flu deaths are roughly between a thousand and three thousand people. The rest die from complications such as pneumonia, most of them the elderly or those with debilitating diseases. Compare that to 616, 067 people that die from heart disease and 562,875 from cancer.
  • According to the CDC, the majority of flu vaccines contain thimerosal, some as much as 25 mcg of mercury per dose (i.e. more than 250 times the Environmental Protection Agency's safety limit for mercury). We are already exposed to enormous amount of mercury in our environments through seafood, rain, and snow - we don't need more.
"that ethyl mercury, the kind of mercury found in vaccines, not only ends up in your brain, but leaves double the amount of inorganic mercury as methyl mercury, the kind of mercury found in fish.

This work is groundbreaking because little is known about ethyl mercury, and many health authorities have asserted that the mercury found in vaccines is the "safe kind." "
"The premise of our research is that if mercury in vaccines creates risk for neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, genetic differences are likely to contribute to that risk. Earlier studies, however, did not use the form of mercury present in vaccines, known as thimerosal, and did not consider whether intramuscular, repetitive administration during early postnatal development, when the brain and immune systems are still maturing, might intensify toxicity.

Our predictions were confirmed. Using thimerosal dosages and timing that approximated the childhood immunization schedule, our model of postnatal thimerosal neurotoxicity demonstrated that the genes in mice that predict mercury-related immunotoxicity also predicted nuerodevelopmental damage. Features reminiscent of those observed in autism occurred in the mice of the genetically sensitive strain."
  • Toxicological Sciences 2003: "Thimerosal induces DNA breaks, Caspase-3 activation, membrane damage, and cell death in cultures human neurons and fibroblasts."
  • Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 2006: After analyzing VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System), researchers have reported increased odds for autism, speech disorders, mental retardation, and thinking abnormalities following vaccination with Thimerosal containing vaccines (DPT and Hib), compared to children who received a vaccine containing half the amount of thimerosal (DTPH).
  • Last but not least, why would we want to risk neurological dysfunction to potentially avoid a bout with the flu (fact: vaccines are never 100% effective)? Why are we so afraid of this? Is there rationality to making vaccines for every single ailment know to man? Are we doing our body good by injecting multiple vaccines, especially in children? I caught a virus a couple of weeks ago (fever, chills, body aches, sore throat), I stayed home, drank chamomile, ate garlic, avoided sugar, and had some Boiron Oscillococcinum. I had a peaceful nights sleep and it was all gone save some sniffles and weakness. I personally do not want to inject a virus, mercury, aluminum, ethylene glycol, nonoxynol, and betapropiolactone into my body to avoid something easily manageable. It goes against my common sense.
There are ailments we should far more be concerned about. Diseases that can't be cured overnight with some home remedies. Heart disease and cancer combined kill more than a million people in the United States every year whereas influenza deaths (not pneumonia) are roughly under three thousand. I would love to know what my readers think. Are you getting the flu vaccine? What do you base your decision on? Are we as a country overly concerned about managing symptoms and not getting to the root cause of why we are chronically sick? We spend more on healthcare than anyone else, yet we rank 37th out of 191 countries in actual health outcomes. Looks like everyone - from Chile, to Morocco, Greece, and Costa Rica are doing better than us!

Photo: Brian Hoskins

The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient's own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.


  1. I'm so glad it isn't just me. I saw that opportunity and I couldn't do it... there was just no way I could promote something that I felt strongly against.

    We did not get flu shots last year and don't plan to get them this year either. They rarely get those mixes right anyway.

    They complain about medical people NOT getting the flu shots, but recommending to patients to get it. I have to wonder why they aren't getting it. There's a saying in marketing about eating your own dog food...

  2. Great post, thank you for providing references and links!

  3. Excellent article! The flu shot is so not worth the risk.

  4. Great info, thanks, just reminded me of all the reasons we say no to shots.

  5. It drives us CRAZY that every shop in town (walmart, cvs, etc) you can just walk in and get the flu shot. People aren't educated to know that maybe they SHOULDN'T get it so when they see a banner out front advertising and a nurse at a table inside they think they HAVE to get it. It's such propaganda!

    Love this post and your blog. I want to make a post about the flu shot too. Can I link you?

  6. Yes, Crunchy Beach Mama, I agree. The advertising everywhere makes it seem like something trivial - as if you're just buying a gallon of milk or something. You're welcome to link to me :)

  7. This article is nonsense. Only 1 flu vaccine contains thermosal - Fluvirin - so if you are concerned about mercury levels in the body then simply avoid that one.
    The dangers a pregnant woman faces from contracting swine flu are far greater than any 'possible' outcomes mentioned here. Flu is nasty at the best of times, pregnant women risk breathing, blood circulation and heart problems - all of which will directly affect the baby, and probably put you in hospital where you are likely to pick up lots of other nasty infections.... And if you're a mum of young children would you rather spend weeks in bed unable to move and look after your kids, or have a sore arm for a day or two (the only documented direct side effect of the flu jab!)?
    And as for the ridiculous bit about polysorbate 20... it is in lots of foods and medicines, it is safe in small doses (the WHO recommends no more than 25mg PER KILO BODY WEIGHT PER DAY) and the flu vaccines that use it contain a couple of microgrammes at best. It is an emulsifier made from coconuts and nothing to worry about in a one-off jab.
    One of the other benefits of getting the jab while pregnant is that your baby will be protected for the first few months of its life.
    But don't take my word for it, talk to your GP or midwife - they are there to look after you and keep you healthy, really (contrary to what the conspiracy theorists above believe!!). And if you want to do online research remember the research rules - always read the source article (the medical research published in a respected journal! Yes, the language is complicated but can be worked out with a bit of effort), then ask yourself: who did the research and what do they profit from the results? Was the sample large enough? Was there a 'control' group (people who didn't take the test medicine and were studied in the same way)? Were the subjects tested all healthy other than the illness being required for the test, if applicable? Finally, was the research reviewed and found worthy by the researcher's peers? Only then can you make a truly 'informed decision'.

  8. Thank you for your comment Carol. Unfortunately a lot of your information is incorrect, so I'll take it with a grain of salt. the H1N1 NOVARTIS FLU VACCINE INSERT ITSELF states these possible side effects:
    *Local injection site reactions (including pain, pain limiting limb movement, redness, swelling, warmth, ecchymosis, induration)
    *Hot flashes/flushes
    *Facial edema.
    *Immune system disorders
    *Hypersensitivity reactions (including throat and/or mouth edema)
    *In rare cases, hypersensitivity reactions have lead to anaphylactic shock and death
    *Cardiovascular disorders
    *Vasculitis (in rare cases with transient renal involvement)
    *Syncope shortly after vaccination
    *Digestive disorders
    *Abdominal pain.
    *Blood and lymphatic disorders
    *Local lymphadenopathy
    *Transient thrombocytopenia.
    *Metabolic and nutritional disorders
    *Loss of appetite.
    *Nervous system disorders
    *Febrile convulsions
    *Guillain-Barré Syndrome
    *Myelitis (including encephalomyelitis and transverse myelitis)
    *Neuropathy (including neuritis)
    *Paralysis (including Bell’s Palsy)
    *Respiratory disorders
    *Chest pain
    *Stevens-Johnson syndrome
    *Rash (including non-specific, maculopapular, and vesiculobulbous).
    Thank you, but I'm not interested in any of these, I would rather spend a week in bed feeling ill than risk paralysis or death. This is not something I made up, the vaccine manufacturer discloses this - otherwise they would be liable for 'not informing' the patient. Thanks for sharing your opinion!


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