Flu Vaccine for Pregnant Moms

By Darrel Crain, D.C.

How is it possible that the wealthiest nation on the planet has an infant mortality rate higher than just about every other industrialized country? Help is finally on the way for solving this dilemma, or so I thought when I first noticed the headlines announcing new recommendations for pregnant moms from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“The truth will set you free,” said Mal Pancoast, “but first it will piss you off.” This is a variation of the old adage to which I subscribe, “If you aren’t outraged, you are not paying attention.”

Before reading the newspaper article, I leaned back in my chair and began making a mental checklist of possible ways to help moms birth healthier babies.

I thought of the requirement by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) a decade ago to add folic acid, a B vitamin, to food. This simple step has achieved an impressive reduction in the number of babies born with spina bifida and other nerve system defects.

Could it be that the CDC would be offering more advice about nutrition? The impact could be huge if America’s pregnant moms ate a more balanced and healthy diet! Poor diet is associated with low birth weight and premature delivery, both of which are linked to a higher infant death rate.

I thought about the importance of exercise during pregnancy. Had the CDC embraced this low-tech, non-toxic intervention to increase the chances for full term deliveries and therefore healthier babies?

I thought about the fact that using antibiotics and over-the-counter pain medication during pregnancy causes a much greater risk that the baby will develop asthma. Was the CDC putting out a warning about that?

Wait a minute, was it possible that someone in the CDC had been talking to the midwives about intrauterine constraint during pregnancy and how it restricts babies in breech or posterior positions? Was the CDC going to announce that this can often be easily resolved with a bit of spinal corrective care?

I was feeling giddy with thoughts of all these possibilities. Holy cow, sharing these ideas with all the pregnant moms could make a major contribution to healthier babies in America! That’s when the cat jumped up on my lap and startled me from my daydream.

I looked down at the newspaper to find out just what the CDC had in store for pregnant women. Through its committee called the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP), the CDC had just recommended flu shots in all three trimesters of pregnancy.

Flu shots. That’s all, flu shots. This was puzzling news indeed. Weren’t pregnant women until recently told to avoid vaccination out of concern for harm to the mother and/or the baby? And now they are suddenly the targets of aggressive campaigns by public health authorities, HMOs and doctors to get their flu shots?

I looked in vain for evidence the CDC had completed a new study showing that flu shots are safe for pregnant women and their babies, particularly because of the neurotoxic effect of the mercury in the shots. Was there new evidence that the vaccines were effective and represent an important contribution for reducing infant mortality? No mention of it.

I had no recollection that getting the flu had ever even appeared on a list of risk factors during pregnancy for mom or baby. The CDC’s own records show that in 2001, the most recent year for which we have statistics, there were only 257 documented deaths from the flu across the entire country, mostly in the elderly! (One must simply marvel at the magic number of annual flu deaths and its ability to accelerate from 257 all the way to 36,000 in the time it takes to say “flu season press conference.”)

Suddenly, the words of power jumped out of the newspaper and into my face, “The Benefits Outweigh the Risks.” The words are so powerful they trump every conceivable objection and silence the mightiest opposition. These five words carry the full and terrible weight of unquestionable and unimpeachable medical authority.

I am reminded of the point made by Joseph Joubers, “Words, like eyeglasses, blur everything they do not make clear.”

What are the benefits? I wondered. What are the risks? I sought answers to these questions in the only non pharmaceutical industry-funded research I could find, an article in the 2006 summer issue of the Journal of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, authored by F. Edward Yazbak, M.D. and David Ayoub, M.D.

First, the benefits: “There is no convincing evidence of the effectiveness of influenza vaccination during this critical period.”

Okay then, how about the risks? “No studies have adequately assessed the risk of influenza vaccination during pregnancy and animal safety testing is lacking.”

What about the mercury in the shot? “Thimerosal, a mercury based preservative present in most inactivated formulations of the vaccine has been implicated in human neurodevelopmental disorders…including autism, and a broad range of animal and experimental reproductive toxicities including teratogenicity, mutagenicity and fetal death.”

Teratogenicity means, “The development of abnormal structures in an embryo resulting in a severely deformed fetus,” according to Dorland’s Medical Dictionary. The meaning of Mutagenicity is, “causes mutation.”

At the conclusion of the article the doctors stated, “The ACIP policy recommendation of routinely administering influenza vaccine during pregnancy is ill advised, unsupported by current scientific literature and should be withdrawn. Use of thimerosal during pregnancy should be contraindicated.”

Contraindicated is a word that means “really bad idea.”

I am aware that many people become unhappy whenever they read a challenge to unbridled medical authority such as this. But, as Oliver Wendell Holmes noted, “Every real thought on every real subject knocks the wind out of somebody or other.”

For my part, I have absolute faith that people can draw sensible conclusions about their own health, but only if they are given all the facts. My efforts are dedicated to preserving medical freedom and creating true informed consent.

I have never presumed to know what is best for anyone to do regarding their own health. However, I do like to point out one option to consider, and that is to avoid medical intervention whenever possible. I only mention this because medical error is a major killer, right up there with heart disease, cancer and stroke, only far more preventable.

At that moment the cat jumped out of my lap, taking an interest in a bird outside the window. I was reminded of the wisdom of our trusty old friend Anonymous who noted, “If there were any justice in the world, people would be able to fly over pigeons for a change.”

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© Darrel Crain, 2006 All rights reserved.
Comments? Questions? Opinions? Rants? Call Darrel Crain at 619-445-0100

Dr. Darrel Crain
Family Chiropractor
Natural Health Writer
President, CCA San Diego County District

planetc1.com-news @ 3:04 pm | Article ID: 1153962264