A healthcare provider tried to force a friend of mine who is employed by the provider to take a flu vaccine. The healthcare provider receives funds from the government if they can show that all of their employees are vaccinated with the flu shot, so they apply all kinds of pressure to anyone who refuses the vaccine as she did. They requested that she write a letter explaining her reasons for not taking the flu shot. Since this sort of thing is fun for me, I wrote a letter for her:
I will not take the flu vaccine because the benefits do not outweigh the risks in my judgment. I have the right to make my own judgments about risks versus benefits – especially in regards to my personal health and foreign substances entering my body. I choose not to defer judgment on this matter to others and certainly not to the Federal Government agencies (CDC and FDA) that share revolving doors with the pharmaceutical industry. I prefer to make my own assessment based on the best publicly available information.
Is the flu vaccine “60% effective” as claimed by the CDC?
The CDC claims the flu vaccine is 60% effective, although the CDC also admits this varies widely from year to year and location to location. Many would assume this means that a vaccination increases the chances of avoiding the flu by 60%. This is not so. This claim is spun from data gathered in studies such as a 2011 study published in the Lancet. This claim of “60% effectiveness” is achieved by comparing the number of people infected in the control group with the number infected in the vaccinated group. In the control group, 2.7% of adults caught the flu. In the vaccinated group 1.2% caught the flu. So the infection rate of vaccinated subjects was 44% of the control and there was a 56% decrease in the infection rate. Throw in some data from age specific studies and round up to get the CDC’s rather obfuscated claim of “60% effectiveness”.
Looking at these same numbers, I have a 97.3% chance of avoiding the flu without the vaccine and a 98.8% chance of avoiding the flu with the vaccine. This very same data from the same study could just as easily be used to justify the much more practical and informative statement: getting a flu vaccine might increase your chances of avoiding the flu by 1.5%. So even if the industry funded studies referenced by the CDC can be believed, the potential benefits of the flu vaccine are miniscule.
A recent review of flu vaccine studies in the Cochrane Library found: “industry funded studies were published in more prestigious journals and cited more than other studies independently from methodological quality and size. Studies funded from public sources were significantly less likely to report conclusions favorable to the vaccines. The review showed that reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin but there is evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions and spurious notoriety of the studies.”
Finally, flu vaccines contain a small number of strains, and are only theoretically effective against those particular strains. Strains are constantly evolving, and the vaccine manufacturing process takes a number of months, so the vaccines will always be one step behind nature and the chances of actually being vaccinated with a strain that will be encountered in the environment are extremely low.
Whenever foreign material is injected into the bloodstream there are risks. The body creates antibodies to the foreign material causing allergic reactions whenever this material is subsequently encountered. The methods by which vaccines are mass-produced – usually on protein substrates that were once living cell material such as eggs, fetal cells, or insect cells – have inherent risks of contamination. The most infamous historical example of vaccine contamination occurred between 1955 to 1961 when an estimated 10-30 million Americans and hundreds of millions worldwide received doses of Polio vaccine contaminated with the SV-40 virus known to cause a variety of cancers including leukemia, mesothelioma, osteosarcoma, and non-hodgkin lymphoma. The Polio vaccine was grown on monkey kidney cells contaminated with SV-40.
Some multi-dose formulations of flu vaccine still contain the mercury containing preservative, Thimerosal. I do not want the neurotoxin, Mercury, injected into my bloodstream. Vaccines also contain a cocktail of other preservatives and chemicals, the most concerning of which is the adjuvant, Aluminum, which is designed to perturb the immune system. Here is what a 2011 research paper by Neural Dynamics Research Group had to say: “Aluminum is an experimentally demonstrated neurotoxin and the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant. Despite almost 90 years of widespread use of aluminum adjuvants, medical science’s understanding about their mechanisms of action is still remarkably poor. There is also a concerning scarcity of data on toxicology and pharmacokinetics of these compounds. In spite of this, the notion that aluminum in vaccines is safe appears to be widely accepted. Experimental research, however, clearly shows that aluminum adjuvants have a potential to induce serious immunological disorders in humans. In particular, aluminum in adjuvant form carries a risk for autoimmunity, long-term brain inflammation and associated neurological complications and may thus have profound and widespread adverse health consequences. In our opinion, the possibility that vaccine benefits may have been overrated and the risk of potential adverse effects underestimated, has not been rigorously evaluated in the medical and scientific community.”
The yearly rise and fall of infection rates is due to a variety of environmental factors that affect the body’s immune system. In the months when sunshine and therefore exercise, fresh air, and serum vitamin D3 levels are high, infection rates are low. Staying active, keeping Vitamin D3 levels high, eating healthy food, getting plenty of rest, and reducing stress are my chosen means of warding off the flu. I prefer these natural safer alternatives to the injection of foreign material mass-produced by unaccountable government subsidized corporations whose goal is profit rather than my personal health.