Saturday, November 28, 2009

Swine Flu Vaccine -- WHO do you Believe? Part 3

Most of us are sick of hearing about it, but it's time for me to resume beating the dead horse of discussing the U.S. government's handling of the swine flu "pandemic" and the promotion of the swine flu vaccine as the only way to prevent the deaths of thousands and the misery of tiny babies, helpless children, adolescents, and young adults the nation wide.




To date (November 28, 2009), Wikipedia reports that there are 2,353 swine flu deaths confirmed in the U.S. (1), still far below the average yearly number of deaths attributed to the seasonal flu -- 36,000.  The swine flu national emergency declared by President Obama in October, however, is still in full force.

In Part 1 of this series, I outlined ten reasons I would not personally partake of the swine flu vaccine.  In Part 2, I gave four criteria that would have to be met in order to justify our government's handling of the swine flu and swine flu vaccine.  I focused on the first point -- namely that we would need to see suffering and death on a massive scale -- superceding the misery caused by seasonal flu and any number of other diseases and conditions that afflict mankind.

Even looking at the swine flu stats on the high end, it is obvious that this point has (thankfully) not been met. 
Whether we "got lucky" as a people and dodged a bullet, or CDC and WHO officials are guilty of hyping the up the risks of a supposed deadly global pandemic, over 4 1/2 times more people in the United States die by falling each year (14,900 to be more precise) than have died from the swine flu in 2009. Where's the national "falling down" emergency?

In this portion of the ongoing discussion on the swine flu, I will discuss point 2.


2) Is there a vaccine available that will prevent illness and death in people who would otherwise suffer tremendously or die?

This is an interesting question to answer.  The swine flu vaccine was rushed through development and production this spring and summer, with minimal testing.  Swine flu vaccine testing took place to determine that 1) people wouldn't immediately keel over after receiving the shot, 2) people wouldn't keel over after receiving both the swine flu and seasonal flu vaccines together, and  3) people actually launched an immune response to the vaccine (3).

The studies carried out by the National Institutes of Health discovered the following:

  • "Healthy adults who received a single 15-microgram dose of 2009 H1N1 vaccine had robust immune responses 8 to 10 days following the first dose of vaccine. 
  • Healthy children older than 9 years had a robust immune response following a single 15-microgram dose of 2009 H1N1 vaccine. Children younger than 9 are likely to need two doses of vaccine to be protected.
  • In healthy adults, co-administration of the seasonal and 2009 H1N1 flu vaccines did not impair the immune response to either one.  
  • Early results from a trial in healthy pregnant women showed that one dose of 2009 H1N1 vaccine elicits a strong immune response." (emphasis added) (3)

On first glance, it may appear that the testing shows that the swine flu vaccine would save lives and days missed from school and work.  But the next question is this -- does the production of a robust or strong immune response to a vaccine in healthy individuals mean that the vaccine will be effective for those who would actually be at risk of suffering complications or death from the swine flu?  Do healthy people even need the vaccine to begin with, or is it the ones with underlying health problems who are most at risk of experiencing extreme symptoms and/or dying from something like the swine flu?

This is an important question to answer, as early data on swine flu hospitalizations and deaths showed that the majority of casualties were individuals with underlying health conditions, such as obesity, asthma, heart disease, and immune dysfunction.  In fact, data from late summer showed that 75% of those who died from the swine flu in Canada had some pre-existing condition (4).

The National Institutes of Health is running trials on the swine flu vaccine with individuals with asthma and HIV.  These trials are ongoing, and no preliminary results are posted on their website.  The results of these trials will be interesting to see when they become available.

We have very minimal data to look at to determine the real effectiveness of the swine flu vaccine.  Perhaps we might take a look at the seasonal flu vaccine through the years to get an idea of how effective the swine flu vaccine may or may not be.

This is where things start to get a bit tricky.  If you are among the millions of Americans who have believed the official line that "the single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated every year," (5) then I invite you to open your mind to consider the possibility that the actual science on the flu vaccine may not support such a blanket statement.

The public is accustomed to so-called conspiracy theorists casting doubt on the effectiveness of flu vaccines, and even accusing vaccine makers and government officials of harming the masses by promoting vaccines that contain dangerous ingredients.  It is understandable that the average citizen wouldn't jump on the anti-vaccine bandwagon when their trusted family doctor, national and international health bodies, and the mainstream news media tout their effectiveness, and aren't subtle in their urgings to go ahead -- get the flu jab and be a "flu fighter"!









But how did the majority of Americans feel about a military invasion of Iraq after 9/11/2001?  Most of the populace (myself included) backed our government's actions at the time, only to realize later that the connection between Al Qaeda terrorists accused of downing the twin towers and Saddam Houssein's admittedly brutal regime were practically non-existent.  A crisis had been used to sell the American population on taking an extraordinarily costly action that, in fact, would do little to nothing in preventing future terrorist threats from Al Qaeda.

Similarly, it appears that we as a population have been had, once again, concerning the flu vaccine.  Recently, renowned vaccine researchers Lisa Jackson, MD and Tom Jefferson, MD have found that previous research on the flu vaccine used blatantly flawed methodology in finding any evidence that the flu shot reduces mortality due to the flu.

Past flu vaccine research has boasted that the elderly who get the flu shot in the fall are 50% less likely to die that winter.  But flu only accounts for 10% of winter deaths of the elderly.  Tom Jefferson, MD remarked: “For a vaccine to reduce mortality by 50 percent and up to 90 percent in some studies means it has to prevent deaths not just from influenza, but also from falls, fires, heart disease, strokes, and car accidents. That’s not a vaccine, that’s a miracle.”

Further, the data shows that between half to over 2/3 of flu-like illnesses each year are NOT due to influenza, but to any number of other types of viruses.  A flu vaccine would do nothing to mitigate illness and death from 2/3 of all flu-like infections!!


There is so much more in this article entitled "Does the Vaccine Matter?  The History of Flu Vaccination", that I recommend that all individuals who want to gain a better understanding of flu vaccines read it themselves.

But here are a few more note-worthy highlights:

- Past flu studies have determined that the flu vaccine reduces mortality by cohort studies -- comparing death rates of those who got the flu shot vs. those who didn't.  Again, at first glance this may seem an appropriate way to determine the effectiveness of the vaccine.  But Jackson and Jefferson show quite convincingly that this difference in mortality may be the result of the "healthy-user effect".  In other words, those individuals who get the flu shot are also more likely to take vitamin C, get their exercise, and eat their veggies.

- The very individuals who are most at risk at dying of the flu (the very young, the very old, and the sickly) have a much weaker immune response to the flu vaccine, that is, the vaccine doesn't work as well for them.  Those who are healthy and therefore may not be at a high risk of dying of the flu are the ones for whom the vaccine produces a strong immune response.  So the ones who need an effective flu vaccine the most aren't getting nearly the protection from the flu as the ones who need it the least!

- A double-blind placebo study on the flu vaccine would provide more clues as to whether or not the flu vaccine actually reduces the rates of illness and death due to the flu.  Strangely, CDC and other health officials refuse to subject the flu vaccine to such scrutiny, claiming instead that a double-blind placebo study would be "immoral".  This is incomprehensible to me -- sign me up to be part of the placebo group!!!

- Flu vaccines are made based on "best guesses" of which flu strains will circulate the following year.  If the flu vaccine really prevented deaths, one would expect spikes in flu deaths in years when those guesses were wrong, such as in 1968 and 1997.  Hard data shows that this is not the case -- no more people died of the flu in those years when the flu vaccine was a mis-match to the strains that ended up in wide circulation

Whether you are open to considering the possibility that our government's response to the swine flu is out of line with reality or not, stay tuned for the final two installments of "Swine Flu Vaccine -- WHO do you Believe?" 

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_flu_pandemic_in_the_United_States
(2) http://www.soyouwanna.com/site/toptens/accidents/accidentsfull.html
(3) http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/news/QA/vteuH1N1qa.htm
(4) http://markcrispinmiller.com/2009/08/no-underlying-medical-condition-in-40-of-swine-flu-hospitalizations/

(5) http://www.cdc.gov/Flu/protect/keyfacts.htm

(6) http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200911/brownlee-h1n1

2 comments:

  1. Julie,
    As always, I appreciate your well thought out presentation of ideas on issues that matter. Thanks!

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  2. Winter season is also a season of flu. Taking vaccine is not the only way to resist it but boosting the immune system. Taking food supplement that consists of all essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can help our body to defend viruses. Plus, eating nutritious food and taking regular workout should be part of the routine.

    ReplyDelete