Flu Shot and Flu Season 2007

By Darrel Crain, D.C.

“Want a flu shot with that?” The woman at the grocery checkout looks tired. “It’s flu season you know, I can give you a coupon for a shot at the pharmacy.”

“No thanks, I’m sitting out this season,” I smile.

She shrugs and hands me my receipt, “Yeah, I don’t get the flu shot either.”

Each flu season between 5 and 20 percent of the population suffer symptoms of flu-related illness. Flu seasons come and go, and occasionally the flu shot is a “good match” with laboratory-confirmed influenza. Participation in the flu shot program has grown sharply during the past thirty years, but the death rate from flu-related illness has remained virtually unchanged the whole time.

“In children under 2 years inactivated vaccines had the same field efficacy as placebo, and in healthy people under 65 vaccination did not affect hospital stay, time off work, or death from influenza and its complications,” writes Tom Jefferson, M.D. coordinator of research for the prestigious Cochrane Vaccines Field.

But bad news has never dampened the enthusiasm of Big Vaccine and Uncle Sam for their ambitious pet project, Flu Shot, Inc.

“Vaccines are a business, like any other. The only difference is that governments are co-sponsors with industry,” explains Jefferson in an interview published by the Center for Medical Consumers. “Overestimation of the threat by the target diseases [flu-like illness], suppression of data on possible adverse events, and exaggeration of effectiveness are frequent, as the case of influenza vaccines demonstrates.”

Dr. Jefferson describes the “optimistic and confident tone” of government and industry as “at odds with the evidence” showing that inactivated vaccines make no difference at all. He writes that continued support for the flu shot program is the result of “optimism bias”an unwarranted belief in the efficacy of interventions.” Jefferson points out a potent reason for the gap between scientific evidence and public health policy, “In the case of population vaccination programs, both government and industry have conflicts of interest. Beware.”

The well-financed promotions for the flu shot attempt to convince those who shun the shot (currently more than half of the public and around 60 percent of the nation’s doctors and health care workers) to change their minds and get in line.

Personally, I believe anyone who wants a flu shot should be able to get one, but I also believe the public should be given honest information about the ingredients in the shot as well as an honest appraisal of how well it may or may not work.

“CDC [Centers for Disease Control] scientists estimate that an average of 36,000 people die from influenza-related complications each year in the United States,” according to testimony from CDC Director Julie Gerberding, M.D. before a congressional committee in early 2004.

In terms of actual risk, what does 36,000 deaths from flu-related illness mean? Dartmouth Medical School faculty members Steven Woloshin, Lisa Schwartz and Glibert Welch explain that the chance of dying from flu-related illness, as with any statistic, can be stated in various ways, according to the Washington Post, October 25, 2005. Expressed alone 36,000 is a big number, but in real terms it represents a small proportion. By itself it is a numerator (number of deaths from flu-related illness) without a denominator (total number of people at risk).

Placed in context the number sounds considerably less scary, only 0.01 percent of our citizenry will die of flu-related illness this year. Put another way, 9,999 of every 10,000 U.S. citizens will not die this year. For citizens under the age of 65, the risk is even smaller, only 1 out of every 100,000 will die from flu-related illness.

But perhaps more troubling than statistical manipulation of risks and benefits by our health leaders is the relentless deposit of fearful toxic substances into the bodies of millions of people through annual flu vaccination. The body burden from exposure to chemicals and metals in industrialized society is emerging as a key contributor to the modern plague of chronic disease affecting millions of people of all ages.

The list of ingredients in antiviral vaccines includes foreign proteins, metals and chemicals. None of these substances is harmless. Foreign proteins are immunogenic, meaning they cause inflammatory immune responses and are predictive of autoimmune disorders. Metals such as aluminum and mercury are neurotoxins that attack the nervous system and depress cognition, motor and social skills. Chemicals such as formaldehyde are poisons that interrupt cellular function systemically and cause cell death.

“Exposure in utero and in children can cause mild to severe mental retardation and mild to severe motor coordination impairment,” according to Eli Lilly’s Manufacturer Safety Data Sheet regarding mercury.

It is a biological principle, not an opinion, that any exposure of neurotoxins such as mercury and aluminum to living human cells brings disorder and damage to those cells, the only question being how much damage. The answer depends on the level of exposure and an individual’s ability to clear toxins. This has been demonstrated with thousands of autistic children whose biological ability to clear metals from the body has been restored and enhanced nutritionally, resulting in significant recovery from autistic behavior as toxins are eliminated.

But back to the flu season, what causes the bulk of flu-like illness? Chances are the cause is all that extra fun and indulgence that accompanies the fall and holiday season, independent of whatever influenza virus is circulating. Most flu-like symptoms are not influenza, they are a dramatic signal from the body intended to grab one’s attention and deliver a message: stop everything, drop everything and just stay in bed and drink lots of water and sleep for 24 hours. And keep the TV unplugged.

Overindulgence in rich foods, shoveling down sugary treats and imbibing copious amounts of spirits makes the blood sluggish and confused, hampering the innate immune response. Indulgent behavior and inadequate sleep wear down normal, healthy immune responses that ordinarily dispatch environmental pathogens, often without any symptoms of infection.

The staff of flu season coaches working for Flu Shot, Inc. have been calling the same shots for many years, repeating the absurd myth that we are hapless victims of microbes who infiltrate our towns and attack us every holiday season. Perhaps the time has come to hire wellness coaches who will institute a whole new game plan that can actually make a difference. This calls for a new name that properly befits the flu season. I suggest the Know Flu Season.

Wellness coaches can help people train for a winning season by taking steps to get strong and healthy. Many nonprescription strategies are at hand to strengthen the natural immune response including the usual suspects: proper rest, proper nutrition, proper motion and exercise, pure water, love, and avoidance of toxins.

“Tis the season to feel yucky” Not necessarily. Cheers!


Dr. Darrel Crain is a Family Chiropractor and Natural Health Writer practicing in San Diego, California. He is the President of the CCA San Diego County District and can be reached at 619-445-0100

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