Pharmalert: Should You Get a Flu Vaccination?
Saturday, April 10th 2004
Out of 93 recent deaths of children from the flu in the US, 60 had been vaccinated! - CDC
Autumn is around the corner and New Zealanders will again be bombarded by commercials on TV and in newspapers extolling the benefits of flu vaccination. Many companies will be persuaded to provide free mass vaccinations for their staff and then wonder why so many are sick and off work over the next few weeks. What will happen if you get a vaccination and what if you don't?
There are no guarantees that the influenza viruses selected for the vaccine by the Ministry of Health will be the identical strains circulating during a given flu season. In fact, it has recently been announced that last year's USA flu vaccine did not include the strain that is being reported by doctors in the USA community called the A Fujian strain. Outbreaks have been reported in Texas, Colorado and elsewhere that involve strains that do not match the current flu vaccine. Centre for Disease Control (CDC) tests have confirmed that more than 80 per cent of the 55 strains of influenza virus isolated thus far are the A Fujian strain. Over 83 million doses of vaccine were made and even the CDC states that the "protection" will not be the usual 70 percent to 90 percent, and some of their experts fear it is well below 50 percent.
Moreover, the majority of illnesses characterized by fever, fatigue, cough and aching muscles are not caused by the influenza virus. Non-influenza viruses (e.g., rhinoviruses, respiratory syncytial virus [RSV], adenoviruses, and parainfluenza viruses) can cause symptoms referred to as influenza-like illnesses (ILI). Certain bacteria, such as Legionella spp., Chlamydia pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and Streptococcus pneumoniae, have been documented as the causes of ILI.
Notably, these microbes are not part of the flu vaccine. Unless an organism's antigen is contained within the vaccine, there is no protection conferred by the vaccine. It is estimated that most adults will average 1-3 episodes of ILI, and most children will average 3-6 episodes. The CDC also admits that many persons who have been vaccinated against influenza can still get the flu.
Targeting the elderly
The flu vaccine is generally recommended for persons aged 65 and older, and those with medical conditions who could experience serious complications from the flu. Medical journals report broad differences in effectiveness for the elderly, ranging from 0 to 85%.
The CDC states that 90% of deaths from influenza occur among the elderly. Considering that nearly 65% of all deaths (from any cause) occur in this age group, it is nearly impossible to prove that flu shots significantly increase life expectancy in this group. The truth is that most people young and old will weather a bout of the flu without a flu shot.
Wash your hands!
A common way people contract viral illnesses is by rubbing their nose or their eyes after their hands have been contaminated with a virus. The CDC states, the most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands.
We are so used to taking medications for prevention and treatment that it is difficult to comprehend that these modest recommendations are really the most powerful ways to minimize the likelihood of getting the flu.
Wouldn't it make more sense to also build up one's own immune system?
Reproduced unabridged from the April - June 2004 issue of Health and Herbal News, with the kind permission of Health and Herbs International Ltd.
Footnote from Ideal Health:
The following products are all useful for Vaccinations and Immunity:
Echinacea with Astragalus and Reishi
Garlicin, enteric coated Garlic
Golden Seal Root
Olive Leaf Extract
Superior Olive Leaf
Vitamin C with Hesperidin Complex
Mega Zinc Powder Raspberry
Related health information can be found here:
Related articles can be found here:
Behind the science of Sambucol - virologist developed - clinically tested
Childhood vaccination: Is there a "dark side"
Improved Colostrum provides extra health benefits
Olive Leaf Extract - For Winter Ills and Much More
The winter first aid kit in a bottle
If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.
Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.
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