Intense media coverage of this fairly innocuous condition has created unnecessary nationwide paranoia. This post is intended to help you make a rational and informed decision. I encourage you to look at this issue from both sides of the fence.
Flu vaccines have a long history of being ineffective. Thousands of people who get them still wind up catching the flu. I believe a false sense of confidence is created whenever people don’t get the flu. But the funny thing is, they might not have gotten the flu anyway, with or without the shot. It’s easy to assume it worked… But what about the millions of people who didn’t get the flu shot and also remained “healthy” that season?
These shots have a shaky reputation and an alarming history of side effects, particularly the last time the “swine flu vaccine” was introduced to the public in 1976. You should know:
- More people died from the swine flu vaccine than from swine flu itself
- The vaccine may have increased the risk of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) by 800%
- The vaccine was withdrawn after just 10-weeks when its link with GBS became more clear
According to The Daily Mail, the British Health Protection Agency sent letters to 600 neurologists on 7/29/09, warning them to be on the lookout for cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome once the swine flu vaccine campaign begins in the UK.
I had an interesting discussion this week with a St Louis area school nurse about the role she’s required to play in the H1N1 swine flu saga. When the vaccine is made available to the public, she’s been instructed to tell anyone who tests positive for Influenza-A that it’s “probably swine flu.” She explained to me that the school district wants her to advise all parents that their children should immediately get the swine flu vaccine if they test positive for Influenza-A.
I suppose this would make sense if Influenza-A was in fact the Swine Flu… but it’s not. You see, “Influenza-A” is an umbrella term… and the Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Testing (RIDT) method used by many facilities to determine if patients have the flu does not differentiate virus sub-types.
If you want to know exactly what type of flu you have, more specific testing is necessary. When you test positive for Influenza-A on the RIDT swab, they can’t tell you which type of flu it is because so many different forms are considered “Influenza-A.”
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “Commercially available RIDTs can either: i) detect and distinguish between influenza A and B viruses; ii) detect both influenza A and B but not distinguish between influenza A and B viruses; or, iii) detect only influenza A viruses. None of the currently FDA approved RIDTs can distinguish between influenza A virus subtypes (e.g. seasonal influenza A (H3N2) versus seasonal influenza A (H1N1) viruses), and RIDTs cannot provide any information about antiviral drug susceptibility.”
Remember, even if this year’s swine flu shot doesn’t work, vaccine manufacturers still get paid. No one is held accountable if these vaccines fail to protect you. So before you stand in line for the flu vaccine this season, I hope you’ll ask the right questions and strongly weigh your options before blindly doing what you’re told to do.
Here are some flu vaccine-related articles for you to consider before making your decision:
- (Full article) Donald Miller, M.D., (cardiac surgeon and professor of surgery) recommends avoiding the flu shot and taking Vitamin-D instead. He believes that “70% of doctors do not get a flu shot.”
- (Full article) Children who get the flu vaccine have 3x the risk of hospitalization for flu.
- (Full article) Health officials expect an avalanche of “adverse events” to be reported (death, illness or other health trauma) that occur within two weeks after receiving the H1N1 flu vaccine.
- Dr. Kent Holtorf (infectious disease expert) states live on Fox News: “I definitely would not take the H1N1 vaccine.”
- Dr. Roby Mitchaell (MD, PhD) retracts his advice to get the swine flu vaccine after reading the package insert: Video
- Washington Redskins cheerleader after receiving the flu shot: Video
A really good post Dr. Tanase. It’s hard to deny the efficacy of a “swine flu” vaccine when the regular flu vaccine isn’t all that great to begin with and that’s been around for a while. It worries me that the Swine flu vaccine is being made and tested so rapidly, not really a good test when results are only for months and not an entire season.
Also, I mentioned this in my newsletter last week. This is an article about how Healthcare professionals in New York state MUST get the swine flu vaccine. From what I understand their jobs depend on it. It’s also starting around the Chicago area, too.
That’s not acceptible. especially when (as in the article from Dr Miller that you have) the majority of doctors don’t get the flu shot. Somethings got to be done about it, perhaps writing our congressmen and women.
So as a 22 year old in good health, do you think I should just avoid the flu shot?
I can’t make the decision for you, Jess. What I can say is to take a look at the pro’s and con’s of each choice and do what makes the most sense to you.
My 3 kids, 11, 9 and 6, don’t usually get a flu shot. In the past when we have gotten the vaccine, we also got the flu, it seems. My 6 year old recently developed “seasonal asthma” and our pedia. suggested he get one even if the rest of us do not since his colds and flus affect his lungs. What is your opinion on this?
Our ped. is on the waiting list for the H1N1 vaccine and still hasn’t decided if they are going to offer it or not since it hasn’t really been around that long.
Only my 6 year old is scheduled to get a flu shot this year – the rest of us will not be getting a vaccine. We take extra Vit C and echinacea – seems to work for us.
In my opinion, if my 6-year-old son were in this situation, I would not proceed with a flu shot. But I want you to do what makes the most sense to you. Do as much research as you can before making this decision.
The swine flu vaccine kind of started worrying when it started being available seemingly everywhere. I personally believed that I had a mild form of the swine flu (or at least something like it) earlier this year.
It sucked, but I survived it (obviously).
I don’t know. We do all these things to try to “prevent” the flu and such, when we should really just eat right, exercize, drink plenty of water…and go outside!
Just my opinion, though.