Some Food For Thought
It's a good question and most people feel strongly one way or the other as seen following this Washington Post Blog today.
In fact, the comments provide more information and counterpoints than the article, which is strictly from a pro-vaccination point of view that ignores other pertinent information that’s surfaced from the alternative, public health, and complementary medical field, some of which is contained here.
Last year the flu shot was not a good match for the sort of influenza that ended up circulating the globe. The formulation is largely a guessing game, as the CDC will tell you.
In July, the CDC issued its best guess for the upcoming season as well as the updated advisory on immunization practices.
Flu season peaks in January or February and runs from October to May. This year a record amount, 145 million doses of the flu vaccine are available.
The CDC suggests that 261 million Americans could receive the vaccine.
Everyone agrees, the flu is far worse than a cold, and will send you to bed with a high fever and body aches for at least a week, possibly up to a month. Most who have suffered through the flu, vow they will never get it again.
The flu vaccine is made up of different viruses that are collected by health experts around the world. Using statistics and projections, the influenza vaccine is recreated every year, hoping to match the more virulent strains predicted to be on the horizon.
A virus continually mutates to survival, as survival is its purpose in life, so it’s virtually impossible that the vaccine will be a perfect match to fight the flu.
Among influenza vaccines is a live virus and a dead virus formulation. Only healthy, non pregnant people with no underlying health conditions should receive the live virus from ages 2 to 49.
Washing your hands and wearing a mask will reduce the spread of the virus.
Older Americans who have long been considered to be a vulnerable population may still get the flu even with a shot.
It’s estimated that there are 36,000 deaths from the flu every year, though those numbers are disputed, and as some say are “wildly overestimated” in that influenza-like illnesses can be confused for the flu. Also health compromised elderly people may actually die from an unrelated cause.
In an earlier study, people over the age of 65 who had the shot had the same risk of contracting pneumonia as those who did not have the flu vaccine.
A growing number of health experts say the vaccine probably does not work well in people over the age of 70 who account for three-fourths of all influenza deaths.
73 children reportedly died from the flu during the 2006-2007 flu season and there was more than five-fold increase in complications.
A government report indicates that the children who died also had staph infections, though they had been healthy before they got the flu. The flu is thought to make people more susceptible to bacterial infections such as staph.
Last October, the CDC recommended expanding the use of nasal influenza vaccine, FluMist to include healthy children ages 2 to 4. It’s recommended that children six months to 18 years receive a flu shot.
Pregnant women who get the shot, share that protection with their babies.
However, some flu shots contain the mercury based preservative, thimerosal. Ask your doctor if he/she knows whether your formulation contains it. Multi-dose vials will contain a preservative.
FluMist does not, however it carries the live virus making you an active carrier of the virus, potentially spreading it to others. Others medical professionals say it does not replicate at body temperature, but even the CDC reports that FluMist has a potential for transmission of these viruses from vaccinees to other persons.
Concerning thimerosal - you may have to ask the see the vial yourself, as many doctors only assume they know. The Institute for Vaccine Safety has the latest information on all vaccines and the amount of thimerosal they contain.
The Federal Vaccine Court protects vaccine makers and forces consumers to stand in line to have their case heard for compensation following injury.
Thimerosal is linked to autism, though not conclusively by science, but by many parents who’ve experienced direct anecdotal evidence that has convinced them there is a link between vaccines and autism.
Does the shot give you the flu?
Some people say getting a flu shot made them sick and they swear they will never get another. There are two formulations – the live virus LAIV (live attenuated influenza vaccine) and the dead virus, TIV (trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine).
The body may not be able to deal with an assault of either type of virus dumped into the blood stream. That’s may be why many people report developing flu-like symptoms after receiving the vaccine.
Also, many people report extreme pain in the arm that receives the shot, as well as a lack of mobility that continues well past what might be expected from normal inoculation pain.
Wash your hands! Constantly, often, religiously. Carry alcohol based hand wipes as an alternative, though not as good as warm water and soap.
Cover your face when you sneeze, sneeze instead into your elbow crook. Ask the same of others as well as request they wash their hands. Though most people are reluctant to speak up, you can always ask politely.
Homeopathic flu remedies are developed from recent flu strains each year, might offer an alternative. A flow chart tells you how to choose.
Interestingly, with vitamin D in the news lately as an immune booster, Dr. Joseph Mercola (who is a medical doctor) notes that influenza occurs in the season when vitamin D absorption is low.
On his web site, the largest natural health site on the web, he talks about the flu vaccine and prevention to “annihilate the flu”. The site has many footnotes. #