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The Bonvie Blog: Flu Vaccination

The flu vaccination: a shot in the dark that misses by a mile

By LINDA BONVIE

By now the flu-shot propaganda machine is in full swing.

The truth is we can’t go anywhere after summer folds its tent without being bombarded with a pitch to get one of these jabs.

So, should you?

Will that needle poke be the extra insurance you need to stay flu-free throughout the holiday season and the winter months ahead?

Before you run out for that shot, however, there are some things you should know – a bit of flu vaccine history that you won’t be hearing from the CDC, the CVS, your local health department and most especially Big Pharma.

To listen to CDC experts talk about it, skipping your yearly influenza vaccine is as risky as crossing the Grand Canyon on a tightrope. And if you’re pregnant, or a bit on the older side, it’s even more dangerous to go flu-shot-free!

But where, exactly, is the “proof” that this mass campaign to get everyone inoculated is keeping us healthy? That’s what a pair of professors – pro-vaccine pediatricians, no less – at the University of Rochester wanted to find out.

Drs. Eric Biondi, and Andrew Aligne (who is also the Director of the Hoekelman Center at the University), took a good long look at the record of flu vaccines over the past century. And what they found is more than enough to give you reason to pause before you roll up your sleeve.

The proof goes ‘poof’

You wouldn’t know it by the big flu-shot push that revs up every year, but the fact that there’s no real proof to support this extensive (and expensive) campaign is out there in peer-reviewed and published data… much of it straight from the CDC itself.

As Drs. Biondi and Aligne relate the facts, in 1960, for the very first time, annual flu shots were recommended by federal health authorities. That was despite having over a decade (starting in the late 1940s) of experience that hadn’t produced a shred of evidence showing that vaccinating the general public for the flu was keeping people healthy or saving lives.

That ‘flu shots for all’ mandate came on the heels of the 1957 Asian flu pandemic, in which millions of doses of vaccines were given in the U.S. – later found to have “no appreciable effect” in stemming the tide of illness or death. The theory back then was that the immunization campaign’s failure was simply a case of “too little, too late.” If more people were vaccinated in a timely way, the idea went, then the shot would surely work better.

But that plan also turned out to be a dud.flu

In 1964 the head epidemiologist at the CDC published a paper in which he “reluctantly concluded that there is little progress to be reported.” Should widespread influenza shots “be continued without better evidence” to justify the cost, he asked?

A few years later in 1968 CDC officials decided to look at the effectiveness of flu vaccines with a gold-standard, randomized double-blind trial. The goal was to find out if all these vaccines now being given out to Americans were indeed saving lives. And, as they wrote, “despite extensive use…” that promise “has never been demonstrated.”

But it was the 1976 “Swine Flu Fiasco” (as it was dubbed by The New York Times), that should have been the swan song for the widespread public acceptance of a yearly flu jab.

Not only didn’t a pandemic materialize, but the shot to prevent it appeared to trigger an epidemic of the paralyzing vaccine side effect known as Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), in which the body attacks its own nerves. (Interestingly, before Pharma would release any vials of flu vaccine that year it demanded that the feds protect drug makers against any claims of adverse reactions from the shots – what’s known today as the Office of Special Masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (a.k.a. the “vaccine injury court”).

Another big analysis by the CDC a year later determined that flu-outbreak control had been “generally ineffective.” And in 1995 the FDA took a stab at validating all the hoopla over influenza vaccination. It concluded that there is a “paucity of randomized trials,” and of the existing research, the agency found “serious methodological flaws in many existing flu-vaccine studies.”

Okay, so that was then – the dark ages of medical knowledge. In the more recent past scientists learned how to make a better flu shot, right?

Well, apparently not.

A CDC placebo-controlled trial in 2000 couldn’t find a benefit “in most years” for a shot versus good old placebo. In 2005 the authors of a 33-season study discovered that despite the fact that shots given to seniors had quadrupled, the estimated death rate was “probably very close to what would have occurred had no vaccine been available.”

But it’s obvious that, proof or no proof, not only is this yearly ritual firmly entrenched in mainstream healthcare practices, but any professional who dares to question it is taking a big chance.

Last year, for example, Dr. Daniel Neides, then medical director and chief operating officer of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute was accused of “fear mongering” and spreading “dangerous information” when he mentioned in his blog that some flu vaccines contain mercury and formaldehyde, which can add up to a “constant toxic burden.”

Needless to say, Dr. Neides is no longer with that organization.

Of course, you could argue that even a smidgen of protection is worthwhile, but that’s another flu-shot theory that doesn’t hold water considering the risks involved, which range from agonizing shoulder pain known as SIRVA (shoulder injuries related to vaccine administration), to allergic reactions, headache, fever and nausea (the last three considered “common side effects” by the CDC).

And along with the “toxic burden” Dr. Neides referred to, you should know that there are more settlements out of the vaccine injury court for flu shots than any other inoculation, with the most reported one being for GBS.

Certainly having the flu is no walk in the park, and yes, it can result in serious, even deadly, complications in some people.

All of which is why keeping your body well-equipped to fight it with proper sleeping habits, a daily dose of vitamin D – along with other immune-boosting supplements, nutrient-dense foods, and frequent hand washing – will do more to keep you flu-free than anything Big Pharma has yet to offer up.


Linda and Bill Bonvie are regular bloggers for Citizens for Health and the co-authors of Badditives: The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet – and How to Avoid Them.

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