A new study
revealed that the flu vaccine prevents type A or type B influenza
in only 1.5 out of every 100 vaccinated adults … but the media
is reporting this to mean “60 percent effective” the difference
is due to a semantic sleight-of-hand: confusing the meaning of
relative vs. absolute risk reduction
that the flu vaccine is 60 percent effective does not mean that
60 out of 100 people who get the flu shot will be protected against
influenza; separate research shows 100 people must be vaccinated
to prevent one case of type A or type B influenza.
immunity is temporary, which is why even though the influenza
viruses included in this season’s flu vaccine are the same viruses
that were selected for the 2010-2011 influenza vaccine, the CDC
is still recommending you get vaccinated again, even if you got
the vaccine last year. The immunity you get by recovering from
influenza naturally is qualitatively superior and longer lasting.
changes will generally be far more effective at preventing type
A or type B influenza or other types of flu-like respiratory illnesses
than the flu vaccine.
The U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu
vaccine as "the first and most important step in protecting against
applies to everyone 6 months of age and older, and the
CDC stresses that you "should get a flu vaccine as soon as [they]
With a promotion
this strong, you might assume that getting a flu shot is a "sure
thing" to protect you from all flu-like illness this year, but actually
Not even close.
Illness is NOT Influenza
"flu season," doctors and patients alike often attribute respiratory
illness to "the flu" or influenza viruses when they most of the
time flu-like symtpoms are actually associated with other types
of viruses and bacteria.
The only way
to know for sure what type of virus or bacteria is causing flu-ike
symptoms is to have it lab confirmed.
influenza vaccine only contains three strains of type A or type
B influenza, which U.S. and WHO health officials select each year
as the most likely influenza strains that will circulate around
There are many
influenza strains and most cases of flu-like illness that occur
in the U.S. during a typical flu season are not associated with
type A or type B influenza strains.
So, it is important
to remember that, when you feel like you have the "flu," you can't
automatically assume that your flu symptoms are caused by type A
or type B influenza strains included in the seasonal flu vaccine.
Also, people who do get a flu shot every year cannot automatically
assume they will not get sick with either type A or type B influenza
or another respiratory iillness that looks and feels like influenza.
Prevent the Flu in Only 1.5% of Adults
A new study
Lancet Infectious Diseases reveals that the flu vaccine prevents
lab confirmed type A or type B influenza in only 1.5 out of every
100 vaccinated adults … but the media is reporting this to mean
"60 percent effective."
It is estimated
that, annually, only about 2.7% of adults get type A or type B influenza
in the first place. The study showed that the use of flu vaccines
appear to drop this down to about 1.2%. This is a roughly 60% drop,
but that ignores the fact that the vaccine has no protective
health benefit for 97.5% of adults.
own conclusions are also somewhat more lackluster in their tone
than the media would have you believe:
vaccines can provide moderate protection against virologically confirmed
influenza, but such protection is greatly reduced or absent in some
seasons. Evidence for protection in adults aged 65 years or older
So where is
the 60% effectiveness claim coming from? This number is based on
relative risk, and it does not mean that 59 out of 100
people who get the flu shot will be protected against the flu …
allow me to explain.
Why You Need
to Understand Basic Statistics Before Getting a Flu Shot
clinical trials are only able to show a meaningful benefit because
they focus on relative risk reduction rather than absolute
risk reduction. What's the difference? You can find a very simple
explanation of relative risk vs. absolute risk at the Annie
Appleseed Project web site, but let me sum it up here.
risk reduction is calculated by dividing the absolute risk reduction
by the control event rate
risk reduction is the decrease in risk of a treatment in relation
to a control treatment
In plain English,
here's what that means: let's say you have a study of 200 women,
half of whom take a drug and half take a placebo, to examine the
effect on breast cancer risk. After five years, two women in the
drug group develop breast cancer, compared to four who took the
placebo. This data could lead to either of the following headlines,
and both would be correct:
Drug Cuts Breast Cancer Risk by 50%!"
"New Drug Results
in 2% Drop in Breast Cancer Risk!"
How can this
The Annie Appleseed
represent two different ways to express the same data. The first
headline expresses the relative risk reduction the two women
who took the drug (subjects) and developed breast cancer equal half
the number (50%) of the four women who took the placebo (controls)
and developed breast cancer.
headline expresses the absolute risk reduction 2% of the
subjects (2 out of 100) who took the drug developed breast cancer
and 4% of the controls (4 out of 100) who took the placebo developed
breast cancer an absolute difference of 2% (4% minus 2%)."
You can now
see why clinical trials, especially those funded by drug companies,
will cite relative risk reductions rather than absolute risk reductions,
and as a patient you need to be aware that statistics can be easily
feature of relative risk is that it tells you nothing about the
Flu Shot Protects
Against Only Three Flu Viruses …
As stated previsously,
each year the flu shot contains three influenza viruses one
influenza A (H3N2) virus, one seasonal influenza A (H1N1) virus,
and one influenza B virus. It only has a chance of preventing you
from getting a flu-like respiratory illness during the flu season
IF you so happen to be infected with one of these three specific
In the United
States, federal health officials at the Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) are in charge of selecting which viruses to include in seasonal
flu vaccine, a process that is based on international "surveillance-based
forecasts about what viruses are most likely to cause illness in
the coming season." U.S. health officials works with World Health
Organization (WHO) health officials to come up with projectons about
which three type A or type B infuenza viruses should be included
in seasonal influenza vaccine each year.
In other words,
it's an educated guess.
As you might
suspect, getting a "good match" between the chosen vaccine virus
strains and the actual influenza viruses that do end up circulating
and causing most of the type A or type B influenza in the U.S. and
around the world is challenging.
are a number of factors that can make getting a good vaccine virus
strain for vaccine production challenging, including both scientific
issues and issues of timing. Currently, only viruses grown in eggs
can be used as vaccine virus strains. If specimens have been grown
in other cell lines, they cannot be used for vaccine strains.
more and more laboratories do not use eggs to grow influenza viruses,
making it difficult to obtain potential vaccine strains. In addition,
some influenza viruses, like H3N2 viruses, grow poorly in eggs,
making it even more difficult to obtain possible vaccine strains.
of timing, in some years certain influenza viruses may not circulate
until later in the influenza season, or a virus can change late
in the season or from one season to the next. This can make it difficult
to forecast which viruses will predominate the following season,
but it can also make it difficult to identify a vaccine virus strain
in time for the production process to begin."
When you add
to this gamble, the little-known fact that, according to the CDC,
about 20 percent of flu-like illnesses are actually caused by
influenza type A or B, you realize how limited an effect the flu
vaccine has on keeping people well during the flu season. Too many
people assume that all flu-like illness is caused by influenza viruses
when the truth is that about 80 percent of flu-like illness is NOT
caused by type A or type B influenza. Most flu-like symptoms are
actually associated with more than 200 other bugs that can make
you feel just as sick respiratory syncytial virus, bocavirus,
coronavirus, and rhinovirus, to name a few.
What this means
is that if you think you have the flu, odds are five to one that
you actually don't have the flu but a flu-like virus, against
which the flu shot is absolutely worthless!
Is the Small
Purported Flu Shot Benefit Actually due to the "Healthy User" Effect?
a physician and senior investigator with the Group Health Research
Center in Seattle, found that healthy people tend to choose flu
vaccination, while the "frail elderly" didn't or couldn't. Her research
suggested that flu
vaccine itself does not reduce mortality at all.
health-conscious) people tend to get the vaccine AND come down with
influenza less often, not because of the vaccine itself but because
they are healthier to start with.
in risk before influenza season indicate preferential receipt of
vaccine by relatively healthy seniors... the magnitude of the bias
demonstrated by the associations before the influenza season was
sufficient to account entirely for the associations observed during
Jackson's papers were turned down for publication in the leading
medical journals, even though her hypothesis makes perfect sense.
Every day you're
around viruses and bacteria and, when you're healthy, you usually
don't get sick. But even if you do get sick, most healthy adults
and children will not have serious problems moving through and recovering
from influenza or other flu-like illnesses. If you do come down
with influenza and have a good immune response, you will likely
recover quickly without serious complications, as well as obtain
natural immunity to that strain of influenza and to similar ones.
As an aside,
this is one more health benefit to achieving immunity naturally
by experiencing and recovering from normal infectious diseases,
such as influenza.
immunity is temporary, which is why even though the viruses in this
season's flu vaccine are the same viruses that were selected
for the 2010-2011 influenza vaccine, the CDC is still recommending
you get vaccinated again, even if you got the vaccine last year.
The immunity that healthy individuals get by recovering from influenza
naturally is usually much longer lasting.
Why Are Vaccinated
Kids Getting the Measles?
simply cannot be taken at face value, and this applies not only
to the flu vaccine but also to other diseases, like measles. Measles
cases have greatly increased in parts of Canada and the United States
this year. Although unvaccinated children and teens are often blamed
for driving the high numbers, a recent
investigation into a measles outbreak in a high school found
that about half of the cases were in teens who had received the
recommended two doses of vaccine in childhood.
In other words,
many of the cases were among those whom health authorities would
have expected to have been protected from the measles virus. Conventional
medical wisdom states that the measles vaccine should protect against
measles infection about 99 percent of the time.
discovery that 52 of the 98 teens who caught measles were fully
vaccinated came as a shock to the researchers who conducted the
investigation ... If other groups confirm what the Quebec investigation
found, it could mean there is a lot more susceptibility to measles
in the vaccinated population than is currently being assumed."
In the United
States, the minimum age for the first dose of measles vaccine is
recommended as 12 months, but this may actually render the vaccine
ineffective. If a breastfed child is given a measles vaccine too
early, their mother's antibodies transferred to the baby via breast
milk (which also protect the baby from measles disease naturally),
canl interfere with the baby obtaining measles vaccine strain virus
induced antibodies. It was, in fact, due to a high rate of measles
vaccine failure that a second dose of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella)
vaccine was introduced in the United States in 1991.
vaccine manufacturer states that in a study of 279 children 11 months
to 7 years of age, MMR vaccine was shown to be 95 to 99 percent
effective. Protection is estimated to persist for up to 11 years.
In a measles outbreak in the U.S. in the late 1980's and early 1990's,
it was found that there were a significant number of vaccine failures
in older children, teenagers and adults, when the disease can be
more severe. The government proceeded to recommend that a second
MMR shot be given to boost immunity either before entrance to kindergarten
or before entrance to junior high school.
national outbreak of measles during the late 1980's and early 1990's,
it also became apparent that children who had been vaccinated before
15 months of age were also at risk for vaccine failure, especially
if their mothers had recovered naturally from measles disease as
vaccine manufacturer states "Infants who are less than 15 months
of age may fail to respond to the measles component of the vaccine
due to presence in the circulation of residual measles antibody
of maternal origin, the younger the infant, the lower the likelihood
of seroconversion." The manufacturer goes on to advise that infants
vaccinated at less than 12 months of age will have to be revaccinated
after 15 months of age even though "there is some evidence to suggest
that infants immunized at less than one year of age may not develop
sustained antibody levels when later immunized.""
vaccines do not confer the same type of immunity that exposure to
the actual disease does …
vaccine promoters will stress the importance of compliance with
the vaccine schedule that requires multiple doses of a vaccine in
order to create and maintain vaccine induced "herd immunity," because
a vaccine is never 100 percent effective. However, they never quite
seem to be able to explain why the majority of outbreaks occur in
areas that are thought to HAVE herd immunity status, i.e. where
the majority of people are vaccinated and "should" therefore never
get the disease.
is that there is, in fact, such a thing as natural herd
immunity. But what has happened is that public health officials
have taken this natural phenomenon and assumed that vaccine induced
herd immunity is the same as disease induced herd immunity and it
is not the same. The science clearly shows that there's a big difference
between naturally developed herd immunity and vaccine-induced herd
immunity in a population.
To learn more,
I urge you to listen to the video above, in which Barbara Loe Fisher
and I discuss the concept of herd immunity.
concept of herd immunity is that when a population experiences the
natural disease… natural immunity would be achieved – a robust,
qualitatively superior natural herd immunity within the population,
which would then protect other people from getting the disease in
other age groups. It's the way infectious diseases work…" Barbara
explains. "But the vaccinologists have adopted this idea of
vaccine induced herd immunity.
with it is that all vaccines only confer temporary protection… Pertussis
vaccine is one the best examples… Pertussis vaccines have been used
for about 50 to 60 years, and the organism has started to evolve
to become vaccine resistant. I think this is not something that's
really understood generally by the public: Vaccines do not confer
the same type of immunity that natural exposure to the disease does."
would like you to believe they are the same, but they're qualitatively
two entirely different types of immune responses.
cases natural exposure to disease would give you a longer lasting,
more robust, qualitatively superior immunity because it gives you
both cell mediated immunity and humoral immunity," Barbara
explains. "Humoral is the antibody production. The way you measure
vaccine-induced immunity is by how high the antibody titers are.
(How many antibodies you have, basically.)
problem is that cell mediated immunity is very important as well.
Most vaccines evade cell mediated immunity and go straight for the
antibodies, which is only one part of immunity. That's been the
big problem with the production of vaccines."
Are You Willing
to Accept the Risks for a 1.5% Benefit?
viruses cause influenza and influenza-like illness, which produce
the same symptoms (fever, headache, aches and pains, cough and runny
noses). Without laboratory tests, doctors cannot tell the two illnesses
apart. Both last for days and rarely lead to death or serious illness.
At best, vaccines might be effective against only influenza
A and B, which represent about 10 percent of all circulating viruses.
Each year, the World Health Organization recommends which viral
strains should be included in vaccinations for the forthcoming season.
of this review assessed all trials that compared vaccinated people
with unvaccinated people. The combined results of these trials showed
that under ideal conditions (vaccine completely matching circulating
viral configuration) 33 healthy adults need to be vaccinated to
avoid one set of influenza symptoms.
average conditions (partially matching vaccine) 100 people need
to be vaccinated to avoid one set of influenza symptoms.
use did not affect the number of people hospitalized or working
days lost but caused one case of Guillian-Barré syndrome [GBS] (a
major neurological condition leading to paralysis) for every one
Is it really
worth risking the health and well-being of 100 people in order to
prevent ONE case of the flu, which may or may not result in serious
illness or death in that one individual to begin with?
and young children are at greatest risk, no one is exempt from the
potential serious complications of vaccination, one of which is
In the video
profile of vaccine injury above, Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder
and president of NVIC, interviews a Connecticut artist and her mother,
a former professor of nursing, who developed Guillaine-Barre syndrome
after getting a seasonal flu shot in 2008 and today is permanently
disabled with total body paralysis. This family has chosen to share
their heartbreaking story to help those who have had the same experience
feel less alone, and to educate others about what it means to be
to this family is a potent reminder of just how important it is
to make well-informed decisions about vaccinations.
The Best Way
to Prevent the Flu Has Little to do With a Vaccine
and flu-like illness during the flu season or any season doesn't
require a flu vaccine. By following the simple guidelines below,
you can help keep your immune system in optimal working order so
that you're far less likely to get sick or, if you do get sick,
you are better prepared to move through it without complications
and soon return to good health.
you'll want to get all your vitamin D from sun exposure or a safe
tanning bed, but as a last resort you can take an oral vitamin
D3 supplement. According to the latest review by Carole Baggerly
(Grassrootshealth.org), adults need about 8,000 IU's a day.
Sugar, Fructose and Processed Foods.
Sugar impairs the function of your immune system almost immediately,
and as you likely know, a healthy immune system is one of the
most important keys to fighting off viruses and other illness.
Be aware that sugar is present in foods you may not suspect, like
ketchup and fruit juice.
Enough Rest. Just like it becomes harder for you
to get your daily tasks done if you're tired, if your body is
overly fatigued it will be harder for it to fight the flu. Be
sure to check out my article Guide
to a Good Night's Sleep for some great tips to help you get
Effective Tools to Address Stress . We all face some
stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your
body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness.
If you feel that 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.
When you exercise, you increase your circulation and your blood
flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system
are also better circulated, which means your immune system has
a better chance of finding an illness before it spreads.
a Good Source of Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats. Increase
your intake of healthy and essential fats like the omega-3 found
in krill oil, which is crucial for maintaining health. It is also
crucial to avoid excessive and/or oxidized omega-6 fatty acids,
as well as trans fatty acids commonly found in processed foods,
as they will seriously damage your immune response.
Your Hands. Washing your hands will decrease your
likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people.
Be sure you don't use antibacterial soap for this antibacterial
soaps are completely unnecessary, and they cause far more harm
than good. Instead, identify a simple chemical-free soap that
you can switch your family to.
Natural Antibiotics. Examples include colloidal
silver, oil of oregano, and garlic.
These work like broad-spectrum antibiotics against bacteria, viruses,
and protozoa in your body. And unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics,
they do not appear to lead to resistance.
Hospitals. I'd recommend you stay away from hospitals
unless you're having an emergency and need expert medical care,
as hospitals are prime breeding grounds for infectious microorganisms
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.