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Flu Vaccines

Flu Vaccines - The Pros & Cons.

Should you have a flu vaccine and are they safe? Flu vaccines are recommended by the NHS for many people with medical problems, however, the scare of widespread flu in recent years has encouraged many people to seek out vaccination from their high street pharmacy. There is now great concern in some parts of the medical profession and complementary therapists, that flu vaccine is not only not effective, but is more worryingly not safe.

Flu Vaccine Advice From The NHS

The NHS currently recommends and annual flu vaccine for people who are at particular risk from the health complications of catching flu, such as people who -

  • are 65 years old or over
  • are pregnant
  • have a serious medical condition, such as -
    • chronic (long-term) respiratory disease, such as severe asthma, COPD or bronchitis
    • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
    • chronic kidney disease
    • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis 
    • chronic neurological disease, such as a stroke, TIA or post-polio syndrome
    • diabetes
    • a weakened immune system due to conditions such as HIV, or treatments that suppress the immune system such as chemotherapy
    • are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility (not including prisons, young offender institutions or university halls of residence)
  • are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill 
  • are a front-line health or social care worker

Flu Statistics

The ideas about flu have changed. The danger of flu has been grossly exaggerated, it isn't the killer disease it was portrayed as after all, just an unpleasant one. The statistics saying how many thousands of people die of flu each year have been quietly downgraded, as they included the frail and ill people who died from the complications of flu, such as pneumonia, which is not something that reasonably healthy people suffer from.

The Problems With Flu Vaccines

The last few years have all brought the scare of a bad winter flu outbreak or epidemic, or even worse a severe global pandemic. These predicted events have not occurred, but the medical establishments have prepared for them at enormous cost. Flu vaccination has been promoted as the way to prevent severe flu outbreaks, and this is now seen by many people as something needed to prepare for the winter, even if you are healthy, rather than just something to protect the most vulnerable. The winter of 2010-11 saw the widespread promotion of private flu vaccination promoted in many high street pharmacies, and this was blamed for a shortage of flu vaccines. Flu vaccines have become very popular, but have they prevented the predicted flu outbreaks?

One major problem with flu vaccines is that they only give resistance to the particular strains of flu virus included in the formulation. The vaccines are formulated in advance of the flu season, as they take some time to manufacture. This means that the predicted strains of virus are included in each year's formulation, so that if a new strain of virus occurred during the flu season the vaccine would not necessarily give any protection to it.

Flu vaccines aren't as effective as has been claimed. This may come as a shock to many people, but the effectiveness of flu vaccine in preventing flu has been show to be nowhere as good as previously believed. They have also been shown to be less effective in the elderly than was previously thought.

Flu vaccines only give short-term immunity. The immune response to flu vaccines is only short-lived, and so vaccination is recommended every year. This is in direct contrast to natural immunity gained by exposure to the live virus, which gives a long-lasting immunity to that strain of virus, even if you have been exposed to it and your body has fought-off the infection without developing flu symptoms.

Flu vaccines are promoted for the profit of the pharmaceutical industry rather than for health reasons. There is no doubt that the recent flu scares have resulted in vast sales of flu vaccines and large profits to the manufacturers. There have even been accusations that the pharmaceutical industry has hyped the scare stories about the immediate dangers of pandemic flu and mass deaths worldwide.

Side Effects Of Flu Vaccines

Flu vaccines can have side effects.The side-effects of flu vaccines have been more closely examined, and the risk of these has been compared with the potential benefits. Some health authorities have advised against using flu vaccines, and some countries have even come out against using newer vaccines for predicted outbreaks. Some of the reported side effects include -

  • Convulsions are an established risk, especially in children's flu vaccines. Australia withdrew all vaccines for children under 5 in 2009 due to reports of convulsions.
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), an autoimmune disease. Reports of the 1976 flu vaccination campaign in the US have linked more deaths to this side effect of the flu vaccine than the number of people who actually died of flu.

The safety of certain ingredients have been called into question, particularly mercury (nerve toxin) used in some preservatives, aluminium (nerve toxin) used as an adjuvant. Other ingredients have also caused concern. Serious, but rare, side effects of all vaccines, including flu vaccines have also been highlighted, including severe nerve damage and death, and the accumulated risk of an annual vaccination only magnifies the risk. Recently, Dr. Hugh Fudenberg, a world renowned immunogeneticist, announced that you have a ten-fold increased chance of Alzheimer's Disease after receiving five flu vaccines.

  • 2011 November - 300,000 doses of flu vaccine Preflucel withdrawn in alert over side-effects‎ - Daily Mail, Natural News

What Are The Alternatives To Flu Vaccines?

Flu is caused by a virus, and you have a natural immune system to kill viruses, either before they can infect you, or after they have infected you. An immune system that stops a virus taking hold is best, and anything you can do to improve your immune system naturally will prevent or minimise any problems from flu. Such natural health measures can also be used together with a flu vaccine is you chose to have one.

You can boost your immune system by -

Personal Reflection

I am a pharmacist who has never had flu in my life. I am now 60 years old, and have worked in retail pharmacy for all of my working life, being exposed to all the cold and flu viruses doing the rounds. I look after my health and this year as an added precaution am taking a vitamin D supplement to boost my resistance to colds and flu. I would personally not wish to have a flu vaccine, even though this is now recommended for front-line health professionals. Oh, and by the way, I have to think long and hard to remember when I last had a cold. - Colin Winstanley (SuperLiving's Pharmacist)

References

  1. Flu Vaccination Advice - NHS Choices
  2. Flu vaccination - Who should have it? - NHS Choices
  3. Flu shots often result in delayed side effects and long-term injury - Natural News
  4. UK Finally Makes Smart Decision to Protect Children… Why Doesn’t the US? - Mercola
  5. Flu Plan Scandal Ahead – An Urgent Warning - Mercola
  6. The Horrible "Immune System Mistake" Millions Will Make This Year - Mercola
  7. Flu Vaccine Damages Children’s Immune System. Is the Risk of Cancer Increased? - Gaia Health
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