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  • Writer's pictureJoan Rothchild Hardin

Why You Should Avoid Flu Shots and What to Do Instead

In early December 2014 the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged that this season’s flu vaccine is not as effective as in years past because the viral strain circulating this influenza season has mutated. Of the 85 influenza samples, the CDC collected and analyzed between October 1 through November 22 2014, 52% of them differed from the virus strains included in this season’s vaccine. (Goldschmidt & Christensen, 2014)

Across all age groups reviewed by the CDC, the flu vaccines’ effectiveness during the 2012-2013 flu season was found to be 56% – that is, only slightly better than 50/50. The effectiveness rate of flu vaccine for seniors 65 and older in the US was found to be only 9%. (Mercola, 2013) The CDC also reports that flu activity is low this 2014-2015 season. Yet we’re being urged by our doctors and numerous media ads to get a flu shot as soon as possible. The shots are even available at drug stores, supermarkets, and workplaces. The CDC recommends yearly vaccination for everyone six months and older unless they’ve had a severe reaction to a previous version of the flu vaccine. (Goldschmidt & Christensen, 2014)

COCHRANE DATABASE OF SYSTEMATIC REVIEWS: USEFULNESS OF FLU VACCINES A MYTH Five reports issued between 2006 and 2010 by the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, considered the gold standard of independent scientific evaluation and analysis, has decimated the myth that flu vaccinations are “the most effective flu prevention method” available. (Cochrane, 2014). Cochrane reported that, in average conditions, when a flu vaccine at least partially matches the circulating virus, 100 people’s getting vaccinated prevents just ONE set of flu symptoms.

Cochrane Reviews are scientifically rigorous, systematic reviews of research in healthcare and health policy. The Cochrane Library contains high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making. FROM THE LABEL OF A FLU VACCINE USED DURING THE 2013-2014 SEASON

FDA’S FORMER CHIEF VACCINE CONTROL OFFICER: FLU VACCINES WORTHLESS The FDA’s former Chief Vaccine Control Officer, Dr. J. Anthony Morris, a Virologist, states, “There is no evidence that any influenza vaccine thus far developed is effective in preventing or mitigating any attack of influenza. The producers of these vaccines know they are worthless, but go on making them anyway.” See Public Comments From Individuals (as of January 20, 2012) – Submitted through the Federal Register Process to read Dr Morris’s and 144 other comments from health care professionals about the uselessness and dangers of routine flu vaccinations.

ALL VACCINES ARE IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPRESSIVE Doesn’t impairing your immune system’s ability to fight off pathogens seem exactly the wrong approach to avoiding a viral illness – or any other type of illness? Dr Robert Mercola states “all vaccines suppress your immune system”. This is his list of some of the ways vaccines impair and alter our immune responses (Mercola, 2011):

  • Some components in vaccines are neurotoxic and may depress your immune response or cause brain and immune dysfunction, particularly heavy metals such as mercury preservatives and aluminum adjuvants

  • The lab-altered vaccine viruses themselves may also affect your immune response in a negative way

  • Vaccines may alter your t-cell function and lead you to become chronically ill

  • Vaccines can trigger allergies or autoimmune disorders. Vaccines introduce large foreign protein molecules into your body. Your body can respond to these foreign particles in a way that causes an allergic reaction or triggers autoimmunity, especially in persons genetically or biologically vulnerable to allergy and autoimmunity

Mercola cites a study published in the Annals of Medicine that concluded: “Abnormalities in arterial function and LDL oxidation may persist for at least two weeks after a slight inflammatory reaction induced by influenza vaccination. These could explain in part the earlier reported increase in cardiovascular risk during the first weeks after an acute inflammatory disorder.”

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO TO STAY HEALTHY AND AVOID GETTING THE FLU? The flu does certainly involve some misery for those who become ill with it and can be serious for those with weakened immune systems. So what can you do to avoid getting the flu – while also avoiding catching colds, bacterial illnesses and other diseases? TAKE A HIGH QUALITY VITAMIN D3 SUPPLEMENT DAILY (Torres, 2013)

Supplementing with Vitamin D3 has been demonstrated to be more effective than both vaccines and anti-viral drugs to prevent influenza. Vitamin D dramatically increases the body’s production of broad-spectrum NATURAL antibiotics called anti-microbial peptides. A rigorous clinical trial (double-blind, randomized, and fully controlled scientifically) conducted by Japanese doctors and scientists in Tokyo showed that children who received supplementation with 1200 IUs (international units) of Vitamin D became ill with the flu half as often as children who didn’t take Vitamin D. During the first month of the study, the children taking the vitamin caught the flu as often as the ones receiving a placebo. The Vitamin D advantage became clear during the second month, when the Vitamin D levels in their blood were higher. The study’s scientists note that the anti-viral drugs zanamivir and oseltamivir reduce the risk of flu infection by only 8% in children who have been exposed to infection, compared with a 50% or higher reduction with vitamin D. Supplementing with Vitamin D is beneficial in many other ways as well: Reducing the risk of bone fractures, cancers, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s,  viral and bacterial infections in general – and a long list of chronic autoimmune diseases. Vitamin D, not actually a vitamin but a steroid hormone precursor, has profoundly positive effects on our immunity. It activates our innate immune system, triggering cell activity and disabling viruses.

Professor of Virology at Queen Mary School of Medicine, London, Dr John Oxford, says: “This is a timely study. It will be noticed by scientists. It fits in with the seasonal pattern of flu. There is an increasing background of solid science that makes the vitamin D story credible.” While the Institute of Medicine, the National Institutes of Medicine and the FDA all recommend daily dosing with 200- 500 IUs of Vitamin D, this is inadequate. The needed daily dose for adults is known to be about 5,000 IUs – or even higher. Fewer than 5% of Americans have been found to have adequate vitamin D blood levels (between 70 and 90 ng/ml). The only blood test that properly determines Vitamin D adequacy is a 25-hydroxy-vitamin D test, not the 1,25-di-hydroxy-vitamin D test many physicians order.

Metagenics is a high quality brand for daily supplementing with D3. You can purchase it on Amazon. I take 5,000 IUs in the sunny months and 10,000 IUs in the darker months * … and don’t catch the flu or colds. 4/15/2016 update: * I’ve now reduced my Vitamin D3 intake to 5,000 IUs/day year round after my blood serum level was found to be too high. And Remember:

Exposure to the flu - or any other viral or bacterial illness - doesn't mean you'll become ill with it. If your immune system is functioning properly, you won't succumb. Your immune system can protect you from all these baddies:

KEEP YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM STRONG! In addition to supplementing with Vitamin D, Dr Mercola offers some other strategies to protect yourself from the flu – in lieu of getting vaccinated (Mercola, 2013):

  • Have Effective Tools to Address Stress: If stress becomes overwhelming, then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness. If stress is taking a toll on your health, consider using an energy psychology tool such as the Emotional Freedom Technique, which is remarkably effective in relieving stress associated with all kinds of events, from work to family to trauma.

  • Get Regular Exercise: Exercising increases circulation and blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system also benefit, giving your immune system a better chance of finding an illness before it spreads. However, it would be wise to radically reduce the intensity of your workouts while you are sick.

  • Stay hydrated: Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, especially water.

  • Take a High-Quality Source of Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats: Increasing your intake of healthy and essential fatty acids, like the Omega-3 found in krill oil, is crucial for maintaining a strong immune system. It is also vitally important to avoid eating the damaging Omega-6 oils that are trans fats and found in processed foods as they will seriously damage your immune response.

  • Wash Your Hands: Washing your hands decreases your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don’t use antibacterial soap – antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary and cause far more harm than good. Instead, use a simple chemical-free soap.

  • Tried and True Hygiene Measures: In addition to washing your hands regularly, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. If possible, avoid close contact with those who are sick and, if you are sick, avoid close contact with those who are well.

  • Use Natural Immune-Boosters: Examples include oil of oregano and garlic, both of which offer effective protection against bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in your body. And unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics, they do not appear to lead to resistance.

  • Avoid Hospitals: Stay away from hospitals unless you’re having an emergency and need expert medical care, as hospitals are prime breeding grounds for infections of all kinds. The best place to get plenty of rest and recover from illness that is not life-threatening is usually in the comfort of your own home.

REFERENCES Cochrane Collaboration. (2014). See: Goldschmidt, D. &  Christensen, J. (12/10/2014). CDC: Flu shot less effective this year because current virus has mutated. See: Mercola, R. (2011). Flu Vaccination: The Hidden Risks in This Heavily Promoted Seasonal Routine. See: Mercola, R. (2013). Things to Consider Before Getting the Flu Vaccine. See:  Torres, M. (2013). Vitamin D Proven More Effective Than Both Anti-Viral Drugs and Vaccines at Preventing the Flu. See: US Government, Health & Human Services (HHS). (2012). Public Comments From Individuals (as of January 20, 2012) – Submitted through the Federal Register Process. See: © Copyright 2015 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Comments submitted prior to 8/25/2021

Please do not forget elderberry extract, especially Sambucol Original Formula….

David Miller

Well, I tend to disagree. First off, what are the supposed toxic metals/preservatives in today’s flu vaccines? Much of this has been debunked and what was not ,was changed many years ago. Moreover, while totally agree that it is essential to keeps one’s own immune system in top shape, getting the vaccine is not only about avoiding becoming sick but also about avoiding becoming a vector for transmitting it to others for whom it may be dangerous. If I get sick, it will make me miserable for a few days (if my body won’t nip it in the bid to begin with) and that will be it. But being exposed to the flu –and the more of us are not vaccinated the more of us serve as carrier and incubators for the virus — also makes one a transmitter if it, whether one gets sick or not. I work with vulnerable population, young children, newborns,

families with moms who just gave birth and children with respiratory and other congenital issues that make their ability to fight the flu less good. I see kids who have siblings with cancer and who have a suppressed immune system from treatments. Many of the are under immense stress, be it by trauma or other developmental and medical issues. I will not be okay with being the one to carry the flu to them.

If getting a vaccine may prevent one of them from being sick because there will be less people to carry it about, then it is good enough for me. I know children who died from the flu, and they got it from people who did not die… Or who wee not even sick. Getting vaccinated is not 100% effective, no. But my being vaccinated helps one of the kids I work with not get sick–and children die from it, literally and too many already died from this years flu — then getting a vaccine is more than worth it. It is why we vaccinate children against measles, mumps, rubella, tuberculosis, polio, diphtheria, whooping cough. These illnesses killed children in the tens of thousands every year before there were vaccines, and the rates of death are rising again now that there are (misguided) parents who do not vaccinate.

Their children–whether they become sick themselves or not– become vectors and incubators for the viruses. They give it to vulnerable children (and adults) who then can die from them.

The flu kills.

Actually there are more children killed by this years flu than in previous year and it has already reached epidemic numbers in some states. Would it be best if the whole population was generally healthier and there were less vulnerable people and immunosuppressed people (genetically, from cancer treatments, or from bad habits)? Sure. But in the meanwhile, the reality is that while we should keep ourselves as healthy as possible, many of us who work with vulnerable populations know all too well how dangerous it is to cart the flu about.

I will take 56% effectiveness if it means that there is a 50/50 chance I won’t give it to someone who might die from it, thank you very much. My view.

Naama Yyehuda

Apropos the claim above that this flu season is supposedly low this year… The facts state differently on many factors: This from medscape today: (Reuters) – Flu is widespread in 43 U.S. states, up from 36 states in the prior week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Monday. Six children died from the flu during the last full week in December, bringing the total flu deaths to 21 this season, the report showed. Last week the CDC reported for the first time that deaths from flu and pneumonia reached an epidemic level, comprising 6.8 percent of all deaths. That figure slipped slightly below the epidemic level in this week’s report, the CDC said.

“Last week was the first week that this particular number exceeded the epidemic threshold, but we’ve been in a flu epidemic for weeks now,” said Dr. Michael Jhung, medical officer in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Influenza Division. The statistic is just one of many clues the CDC uses to gauge the severity of flu in the United States, which has a widespread outbreak – or an epidemic – every year. Jhung reviews several factors when determining whether the flu season has started, suggesting the nation is in a period of epidemic. Initially, he considers the percentage of positive flu tests. When that exceeds 10 percent for 2 weeks, the season is starting. That happened around mid-November this season. He also looks at the proportion of patients seeking care for influenza-related illnesses. When that exceeds 2 percent of visits, it is another sign of a flu epidemic. This season, flu watchers are keenly focusing on hospital admissions because the current vaccine may not be a good match for the most common seasonal flu strain circulating in the United States known as influenza A (H3N2) virus. Flu seasons dominated by H3N2 tend to have higher overall hospitalization rates and more flu-related deaths, especially among older people and very young children compared with flu seasons dominated by the H1N1 virus or influenza B viruses.

In the latest CDC report, flu hospitalizations, a key measure of severity, have reached 12.6 per 100,000 for all ages. Last season, the rate was 5.8 per 100,000 and in 2012, the most recent season dominated by H2N3, the rate was 8.1 percent. “We are above that now,” Jhung said, suggesting this flu season “is at least as severe as 2012 was.” (Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Richard Chang)

Naama Yehuda

In reply to Na'ama

Thanks, Na’ama. My information was from the CDC’s FLU VIEW (A weekly Influenza Surveillance Report Prepared by the Influenza Division)for the week ending December 27 2014, when reported flu activity across the country was low. It has apparently picked up in the 11 days since then.

Joan Hardin


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