Flu season is drawing near… that means it’s time for you to decide whether or not you’ll get a flu shot. I can’t tell you which choice to make, but hopefully this information will help you make an informed decision.
In health care, “immunity” describes your body’s ability to resist a particular infection or toxin. Very simply, flu vaccines are intended to help your body build immunity against the flu virus.
If you got the chicken pox 30 years ago, you could sit in a poorly ventilated room today full of sick little babies who have chicken pox, and you won’t have to worry about getting reinfected. That’s what’s so great about natural immunity – it’s permanent.
Unfortunately flu viruses behave differently than the chicken pox. Thousands of different strains of the flu virus exist, and they continuously change over time. This makes them much less predictable. You’re probably immune to several of these strains already, but there are plenty more your body has never encountered. So when September/October rolls around, Americans face an onslaught of news reports [advertisements?] encouraging you to “get your flu shot.”
Here’s what few people realize about the flu shot though… It’s made over 6-months in advance and contains just 3 different strains of flu (remember, there are thousands). An 18-member panel votes in a committee to decide which 3 strains will be included in the vaccine. Basically they get together to analyze some world data and then attempt to predict the future.
As one FDA representative put it, “Picking the best combination is a mixture of science, luck, and seat-of-the-pants instinct.”
So what happens after these researchers find out that the strains they chose are wrong? Nothing. Dr. Michael Decker, head of scientific affairs at Aventis (one of three U.S. vaccine makers) says: “By the time you know what’s the right strain, you can’t do anything about it.”
That means millions of doses were manufactured, packaged, shipped, and delivered long before researchers knew for sure which strain was active/present. But that’s okay, these manufacturers care more about your health and well-being than the hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue. They’ll probably just incinerate the vials and start over… right?
Actually, they’re publicly traded companies with a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to make money, not lose it… So no, they’re not going to just scrap their investment.
These vaccines are still pushed onto the public without telling you in advance that it’s incapable of protection against this season’s strain.
Oh, by the way, don’t be surprised if the person administering the shot is just as surprised to hear this as you are… Many healthcare professionals are oblivious to how flu vaccines are manufactured.
Personally, I’m bothered by how strongly it’s implied that if you get a flu shot, you won’t get the flu. This is simply not the case. When the strains don’t match up, the vaccine will not be effective.
But these are smart people, so this sort of thing doesn’t happen very often, does it?
Well let’s take a look over the past decade and see how their guesswork panned out:
Between 2003 and 2004, USA Today reported, “Flu shots had little effect.” The Associated Press in that same year announced, “Flu Shot unable to combat virus strain.” In 2005, Reuters reported, “Flu shots may not save lives.” After the 2007 flu season, Reuters announced again, “The CDC said it had clear indications that the flu viruses have mutated, making the current vaccine less effective.”
Yes, the researchers choosing the strains are brilliant people, but they’re not clairvoyant. They’ll defend these events by saying that the benefits outweigh the risks.
Ultimately, that’s for you to decide. Some people would rather take their chances getting the flu and lay in bed for a few days feeling miserable than risk developing Guillain-Barre Syndrome, vasculitis, or anaphylactic shock…
By exposing yourself to the preservatives and added chemicals of the flu shot, you’re taking a risk. Learn as much as you can about these risks.
For me, I’ve made a decision to not get flu shots. In fact, you couldn’t pay me to get one. But it’s your body and the choice is yours. After you’ve taken time to learn about the vaccine, how it’s made, and the potential effects it can have, you too will be able to make an informed decision.
2016 UPDATE: The CDC has announced that “the flu nasal spray vaccine doesn’t work and should not be used.”
Looking for a natural way to prevent colds and flu? According to this study, Vitamin-D is a highly effective way to avoid influenza. Here are two affordable options for Vitamin-D supplementation: