Health‎ > ‎Miscellaneous‎ > ‎

The Pros and Cons of Flu Vaccination

In this article, I'll present two different views of flu vaccination. Both sides of arguments have merits and I'll let you be the final judge.


Pros


Some people including Dr. David B. Agus are big believers in flu vaccines. Dr. Agus says that[1]:

Not only does the flu come with staggering amounts of inflammation, but it leaves destructive marks in its path.


He takes the point of view that if you take the shot, you can at least prevent marked increases of inflammation. Every time your body is exposed to prolonged, intense rounds of inflammation, such as the kind that accompanies the flu, you put a lot of wear and tear on your system as it sustains a dangerous storm of molecules. This storm, which produces a flurry of chemicals called cytokines, will age your blood vessels.


His argument for flu vaccination is supported by both the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. In 2006, both organizations recommended influenza immunization as part of comprehensive secondary prevention in persons with coronary and other atherosclerotic vascular disease. This was based on evidence from studies that:

  • Annual vaccination against seasonal influenza in people with cardiovascular conditions prevents fatal heart attacks and strokes and even reduces the risk of death from any illness[27].
Finally, flu vaccination is supported by the United States Department of Health and Human Services and CDC[9]:
  • Vaccination is the best protection against influenza and can help prevent influenza-related complications, which can be particularly serious for older adults,” says Dr. Howard K. Koh
  • Lagging influenza vaccination rates among minorities in this age group (i.e., ages 65 and over) are of particular concern and we are constantly working to improve flu vaccination within these populations,” says Dr. Carolyn Bridges


Cons



However, other people like Dr. Mercola and Dr. Fuhrman[2, 10] have very different views about flu shots. First of all, a news announced on 03/08/2013 said that:


A report released last month showed that the current flu shot did not do a good job of preventing older adults from catching the flu. Adults ages 65 and over who got the shot were just as likely to visit the doctor for flu symptoms as those who weren't vaccinated.


Other arguments against flu shots include:

  • Flu vaccine appeared to actually increase people's risk of getting sick with H1N1, and cause more serious bouts of illness to boot.
    • Researchers, led by Vancouver's Dr. Danuta Skowronski[4], an influenza expert at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, noticed in the early weeks of the [2009 H1N1] pandemic that people who got a flu shot for the 2008-09 winter seemed to be more likely to get infected with the pandemic virus than people who hadn't received a flu shot.
    • "People who have been vaccinated in 2008 with the seasonal or ordinary vaccine seemed to have twice the risk of getting swine flu compared to the people who hadn't received that vaccine," said Professor Collignon[5].
  • Natural infection is more beneficial[2,5,28,33]
    • "If you get infected with a natural virus, that gives you not only protection against that virus but similar viruses or even in fact quite different flu viruses in the next year," said Professor Collignon[5].
    • When children are born, they develop natural immunity to a large variety of microorganisms that they breathe, eat, and touch. The immune responses initiated by cells lining their airways, skin and intestines are very important in creating "memory" and protection against the microorganisms they naturally come into contact with every day. That primary line of defense is a very important step in the maturation of your child's immune system – and it's bypassed when he/she gets a vaccine[2].
    • Vaccines only provide temporary immunity, versus the lifetime immunity developed if the body's immune system fights a disease on its own.[30]
  • Seasonal flu vaccine may weaken your natural immunity
    • A research confirmed that the seasonal flu vaccine may actually weaken children's immune systems and increase their chances of getting sick from influenza viruses not included in the vaccine[7].
    • "Some interesting data has become available which suggests that if you get immunised with the seasonal vaccine, you get less broad protection than if you get a natural infection," said Professor Collignon[5]
    • A double-blind, placebo-controlled animal study suggests that vaccination with seasonal influenza vaccine did, in fact, worsen symptoms after subsequent exposure to H1N1 flu, researchers found[8].
  • The flu shot covers less than 10 percent of the circulating viruses creating these illness[10].
    • Over 200 separate viruses—including the most prevalent strains of influenza A and B—cause the flu.
    • From the earlier-cited, highly respected Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, it finds weak evidence of vaccine efficacy[13].
  • Some patients developed Guillain-Barre syndrome after getting a seasonal flu shot (see the video)
    • The Cochrane review determined that the vaccine may promote an additional 1.6 cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome for each million vaccinations given[13].
  • The age-related decline of the immune system affects the body’s response to vaccination
    • Recent studies have shown that the traditional flu vaccine might not work as well for people 65 years of age and older because the weakened immune system produces fewer antibodies following vaccination to help protect against infection[9].
    • A review of influenza vaccination among adults at age 65 or older suggested that the vaccine was of questionable efficacy[14].
  • Could we vaccinate our kids too early and too much[12]?
    • It's recommended that U.S. babies receive 26 doses of vaccines within the first 12 months of life (which, incidentally, is twice as many vaccinations as are given to babies in Sweden and Japan).[34,35]
    • Some people attribute the prevalence of Autism and ADHD among our kids to the excessive vaccination[18,30].
    • The Cochrane review found that in children under the age of two, the effectiveness of the flu vaccine was similar to that of a placebo.
    • Thirty years ago, children received a total of four vaccines, but today a fully vaccinated child receives a whopping 37-50 vaccines during the early, formative years of life, when his developing immune system is most vulnerable. [33]
  • Each dose flu vaccine contains traces of formaldehyde and 25 micrograms of thimerosal (a mercury containing compound; a preservative)[10].
    • The injection of even this small amount of mercury year after year may place a person at increased risk of neurotoxicity later in life.
    • The American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Public Health Service, have issued a joint statement calling for the removal of mercury from all vaccines.
  • Aluminum is added to increase the immune response to a vaccine
    • Read [36] for the health risks of Aluminum.
    • Note that Aluminum is an adjuvant, which is used to irritate the immune system so that it will react to the mumps, measles, or other virus in the vaccine in a bigger way to make more antibodies.
    • As advised by Dr. Blum:[38] If you are on any immune-suppressing medications, you should know that vaccines don't work very well, and so the benefit might not be worth the risk of exposure to the aluminum or mercury in the vaccine.
  • There are known adverse reactions to the flu vaccine[10]:
    • Arthralgia (joint pain)
    • Lymphadenopathy (swelling of lymph nodes)
    • Itching
    • Vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels)
    • Other allergic reactions have been temporally associated with influenza vaccine:
      • Hives and anaphylaxis
      • Neurological disorders
        • Neuritis
        • Encephalitis
        • Optic neuritis
        • Guillian-Barre syndrome
      • Demyelenating disorders (such as multiple sclerosis)
    • Have been implicated as a trigger for Henoch-Schonlein purpura[15]


Conclusions


People of 65+ years old or people with heart disease[43] are at increased risk of complications from the flu.  If you are in that group, consult with your physician to make the best decision (note that each person is unique):

  • No flu shots
  • Regular flu shots
    • Note that younger generation physicians tend to recommend the flu shot.  However, older generation physicians tend not to recommend the flu shot especially if you are over 75 years old.
    • Before you take the flu shot, tell your physician if you have other infections or complications at the time.
    • Everyone is different.  
      • In the case of medical care, one size does not fit all. What works for your child (or yourself) may not work for your neighbor's but, when it comes to vaccines, they're prescribed exactly the same for every child [sadly].[46]
      • Children commonly need medical care because of influenza, especially before they turn 5 years old.[44]
  • Higher dose flu shot[9]

All medical interventions have a benefit-to-risk ratio.  Each person has to weigh the supposed benefits against the potential risks[10].  No matter what your decision is, always do:

  • Avoid contact with others who are sick
    • Avoid hospitals
    • Stay away from people with runny noses
  • Practice good hygiene
    • Wash your hands
  • Build strong immunity[2,10,28]
    • Optimize your vitamin D levels
    • Avoid Sugar, Fructose and Processed Foods[20]
    • Get Enough Rest
    • Have Effective Tools to Address Stress
    • Exercise[21]
    • Take a Good Source of High Quality Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats
    • Use Natural Antibiotics
    • Choose nutrition over medication[10-11,22]
      • People do not build health via the ingestion of medicinal substances.
        • Even natural, herbal products that have pharmacologic effects work because of their toxic properties not their nutritive content.
      • Don't abuse antibiotics and cold/flu medicines[11]
If you do get flu, Dr. Fuhrman recommends you to[10]:
  • Stay home
  • Sip water all day, as opposed to guzzling a lot all at once
  • Eat as little as possible
    • If you're hungry, stick to light food, mostly juicy fruits and salads.
    • Anorexia of infection (loss of appetite) is one way the body has of activating a more powerful immune response.
  • Know when to call the doctor
    • Watch for a sudden worsening of the overall condition, especially if worsening symptoms start to involve labored breathing, persistent fever above 103 degrees for three days, abdominal pain, changes in behavior or mental status, and persistent diarrhea or vomiting.
Photo Credit
  • Jim Wang
  • oldens-pharmacy.com


References

  1. The End of Illness by Dr. David B. Agus, MD
  2. Confirmed! Flu Vaccine INCREASES Risk of Serious Pandemic Flu Illness (Dr. Mercola)
  3. Flu shots keep older folks out of the hospital, study says (NBCNews.com)
  4. Vancouver Sun September 10, 2012
  5. Professor Peter Collignon (Australian National University)
  6. ABC News March 5, 2011
  7. Annual vaccination against influenza virus hampers development of virus-specific CD8⁺ T cell immunity in children. (PubMed)
  8. Ferrets Keep Flu Vaccine/H1N1 Pot Boiling (Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy)
  9. National Council on Aging Urges Older Adults to Get Their Annual Flu Shot
  10. Super Immunity by Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
  11. Are You Fever Phobic? (Travel and Health)
  12. Why I don't vaccinate my children (Google search)
  13. Jefferson T, Di Pietrantonj C, Rivveti A, et al. Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy adults.  Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008; (2): CD004879.
  14. Jefferson T, Di Pietrantonj C, Al-Ansary LA, et al.  Vaccines for preventing influenza in the elderly.  Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2010:(2):CD004876.
  15. Watanabe T. Henoch-Schonlein purpura following influenza vaccinations during the pandemic of influenza A (H1N1).  Pediatr Nephrol 2011; 26(5):795-98.
  16. Taiwan Lantern Festival (Joseph Rosendo's Travelscope)
  17. Return to Taiwan (Joseph Rosendo's Travelscope)
  18. A link between the MMR vaccine, chronic bowel disease and autism?  (Dr. Mercola)
  19. NVIC.org  (have been providing accurate and balanced vaccine information and insights to parents on the safety of vaccination for the last 30 years)
  20. The Sweet Relished and the Bitter Loathed (Travel and Health)
  21. Exercise and Its Benefits (Travel and Health)
  22. Western Diets and Western Diseases (Travel and Health)
  23. List of peer reviewed vaccine research
  24. Women Takes Flu Jab-She is Disabled For Life
  25. Can Parasites Heal the Gut? (Travel and Health)
  26. Aluminum in Vaccines
  27. Flu Shots May Lower Heart Attack Risk
  28. Natural Immuninity Plays Important Roles in Your Health (Travel to Health)
  29. Talk to your doctor first if you are allergic to eggs (Huffpost Healthy Living)
  30. The Healthy Home by Dave Wentz and Dr. Myron Wentz
    • In fact, autism was first identified as a disorder in children in 1943, just a few years after a mercury-based preservative was added to vaccines.
  31. Vaccine: The Debate in Modern America
  32. Kanner L. Autistic disturbances of affective contact. Nervous Child 2, 217-250 (1943) PDF
  33. L. Born, "Vaccinations: Parents' Informed Choice," Weston A Price Foundation (2005).
    • Thirty years ago, children received a total of four vaccines, but today a fully vaccinated child receives a whopping 37-50 vaccines during the early, formative years of life, when his developing immune system is most vulnerable. 
  34. The Swedish vaccination program
  35. Japan HealthCare Info
  36. Health Risks of Aluminum (Travel to Health)
  37. Autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants (ASIA)
  38. The Immune System Recovery Plan by Susan Blum, M.D., M.P.H.
  39. Why Debunking Myths About Vaccines Hasn’t Convinced Dubious Parents
  40. Cold remedies: What works, what doesn't, what can't hurt
  41. CBS Reporter Ben Swann Tells the Truth About CDC Vaccine Cover-Up
  42. New flu findings may threaten prospects for universal vaccine
    • Repeated vaccinations may produce diminishing returns
  43. Flu shots: Especially important if you have heart disease
  44. Children, the Flu, and the Flu Vaccine
  45. Vaccines—Calling the Shots (Nova)
    • Vaccines definitively offer many benefits with little risks from the community's perspective. 
  46. Knowledge Is the Antidote for Vaccine Orthodoxy
  47. Battling Infectious Diseases in the 20th Century: The Impact of Vaccines
Comments