October 1, 2008

NOTE: Numbers in parentheses (1) refer to a footnote and link at the bottom of the article.

tissueAccording to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the 2008 flu season is ramping up to be one of the worst flu seasons to date, and, “the best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year.”  In fact, they are recommending that the following groups all get vaccinated this year:

• All children 6 months to 18 years old (previous recommendation was 6 months to 5 years old)
• Anyone over age 50
• Pregnant Women
• Anyone with chronic medical conditions

The CDC has a goal to vaccinate an astonishing 261 million people this year!

Why the push?  The CDC claims that 36,000 people die each year from the flu, and that getting the vaccine will prevent you from getting the flu, therefore saving your life (1).

How much of this is true?  Do you need the vaccine?  Is it safe or effective?

Let’s take a look at the numbers first – do 36,000 people die from the flu each year?

According to the Centers for Disease Controls own Vital Statistics (the exact same website that claims that 36,000 people die from the flu each year), 1100 people died from the flu in 2004, 1812 in 2005 and 860 people died in 2006 from the flu.  This has actually spiked dramatically – deaths in 2001 were only 257.  Of those deaths attributed to the flu, very few are actually determined for sure that they are tied to influenza (2).

So why does the CDC claim that 36,000 people die from the flu each year?  Apparently researchers with the British Medical Journal wondered the same thing when they asked, “Are US flu death figures more PR than science?”  They concluded that the numbers are inflated to scare the public and sell more of the vaccine (3).

Consequently – they come up with the 36,000 based on two things – 1) a flu epidemic in Hong Kong that killed about 34,000 people, and 2) by combining flu deaths with pneumonia deaths (which is completely different from the flu and even if the flu vaccine did provide immunity against the flu it would not provide immunity against pneumonia).

Despite the outright lies about the numbers, if the flu shot is effective then you want to get the shot, right?  Let’s take a look at that question: Is the flu shot safe or effective?

If it were effective then certainly health care workers (HCWs), who are exposed to the flu and other diseases every day, would line up to get their vaccine.  According to the Journal of Internal Medicine, that isn’t the case.  The overall vaccination rate among HCWs is just 38%.  The study concluded that “The overall influenza vaccination rate among HCWs in the United States is low.  Interventions seeking to improve HCW vaccination rates may need to target these specific subgroups” (4).

Regarding the effectiveness of the shot, it is important to know how the manufacturers determine what strains of flu to put in that year.  They travel to Asia early in the year and collect data, then guess as to which three flu strains will work their way across the ocean for the beginning of the flu season.

According to the Think Twice Institute:

“Flu ‘experts’ often guess wrong. For example, in 1994 they predicted that Shangdong, Texas, and Panama strains would be prevalent that year, thus millions of people were vaccinated with a flu shot that contained these viruses. However, when winter arrived, the Johannesburg and Beijing strains of influenza circulated through society. The vaccine was ineffective. This happened again in 1996, and again in 1997. More recently, the vaccine created for the 2003-2004 flu season contained flu strains that did not circulate through society that year. Officials were once again forced to admit that millions of people were vaccinated with an ineffective vaccine (5).”

But what if they guess right for the year and the flu vaccine does contain the correct strains?  We’ll answer that with a question: Do you know what is in your flu vaccine?  You may not want one even if they do guess right, simply because of the ingredients.

Here are some of the ingredients:

• Chick embryos
• Three flu viruses that were collected in Asia in January or February
• Formaldehyde (that’s right – the stuff they embalm humans with and classified as a known cancer-causing substance by the International Agency for Research on Cancer) (6)
• Thimerosal – a mercury based preservative which can lead to brain injury, autoimmune diseases and autism
• Sodium Phosphate or Sodium Chloride
• Gelatin

Do you want to inject ANY of the above ingredients into your bloodstream???  Even if they guess right, you can count our staff out!  We don’t want any of the above things injected in us! 

For a humorous look at the ingredients put in the flu shot, go to http://www.herballegacy.com/Flu_Shot.html.

So should you get a flu shot?  At Herbal Legacy we do not give medical advice of any kind, but we feel it is your right to know all of the above information and then make an informed decision about getting a flu shot.

Next week we will discuss some simple remedies if you do come down with the flu.

Footnotes:

1. http://www.cdc.gov/Features/FLU/

2. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr56/nvsr56_16.pdf (2006 data  - page 18) http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr56/nvsr56_10.pdf (2005 date – page 33)
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr55/nvsr55_19.pdf  (2004 data - page 40)
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr53/nvsr53_05acc.pdf (2002 data – page 31)
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr52/nvsr52_03.pdf (2001 data – page 39)

3. http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/331/7529/1412 (British Medical Journal – Are US Flu Death Figures More PR than Science?)

4. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1484661 (Journal of Internal Medicine – Influenza Vaccine and Health Care Workers in the United States) 

5. http://thinktwice.com/flu_lie.htm

6. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/risk/formaldehyde