Should I get my 9-month old son a flu shot or not? Seems to be a little bit of debate on this one…
Great question, Andrew! I am not a doctor so I cannot say what you should do, but personally there are several reasons I do not vaccinate my children against the flu. (Obviously this is my perspective – I encourage you to do additional research and talk to a healthcare provider you trust. )
#1 Healthy People Need To Get Sick Once In Awhile
According to some experts, we need to stop thinking of germs as predators from the outside and start thinking of them as scavengers within. They are not attacking us, they are opportunists that live off the messes we leave in our own bodies. Gross, I know, but true.
Most of the time we live in relative peace with a host of pathogenic germs, but too much stress, or sugar, or whatever knocks our body off balance biochemically, leaving a glut of food that one germ or another prefers. When this happens germs take us up on our generous offer and have a nice old sit down dinner. Does this make us sick? Yes and no.
Germs are notorious for excreting all kinds of toxic waste after they eat, and this can make us feel tired. For the most part, though, the peak of infection is usually marked by no symptoms at all. It is only when our body begins to fight back that we get “sick,” because the fact of the matter is that fever, diarrhea and other unpleasant things are not what microbes do to us, it’s what we do to THEM. Our bodies are creating inflammation, which is the cure, not the disease.
“Inflammation, as the word implies, is like a fire in the body which burns up the waste and debris, along with the germs which feed on waste and debris, and cleanses the body. Thus it is our immune system which causes us to become sick, by creating inflammation to drive out infection and renew us.”
Here’s the kicker: The stronger our immune system, the stronger the illness. Bouts of intense illness – or “healing crisis” as they are sometimes called – indicate the presence of a thorough housekeeper [aka immune system]. Chronic symptoms of “feeling bad” and fatigue without periods of acute illness, on the other hand, are signs of low-grade toxicity in the body – the result of our housekeeper being too weak to do her job”
Vaccines: Questions All Parents Should Ask. Ted Koren p. 107
Don’t just take my word for it, though, even this doctor says fevers are a child’s friend and may actually help them recover faster! I disagree with her on pain relievers, though. See this post to find out why.
So what does this have to do with vaccines in 5 words or less? Vaccines may cripple our inflammatory response.
Okay, I’m obviously going to need more than 5 words.
#2 How Vaccines Work Explains Why They Don’t (Really) Work
According to Stephen Marini, PhD, our immune systems are actually comprised of two sub-systems. The humoral system mainly recognizes pathogens and produces antibodies which prevent them from entering cells – this is the TH1 system. (source)
The cell-mediated system “primarily destroys, digests and expels foreign antigens out of the body through the activity of its cells found in the thymus, tonsils, adenoids, spleen, lymph nodes and lymph system throughout the body” – this is the TH2 system. (source) The TH2 system is what turns up the thermostat in our bodies to clean up when things get ugly inside.
The Th1 system is most effective against viral, gram-negative bacterial and fungal infections, and tuberculosis. It is also the system which digests cancer cells within our bodies. Th2 function mainly deals with gram-positive bacterial and parasitic infections. Both are needed, but they must function together in harmony.
So what does this look like usually? In a healthy person, TH1 function is dominant. Pathogens are hunted by stealth ninja T cells, digested and escorted to the exits constantly. Vaccination turns this balance on it’s head, making the TH2 system dominant. That’s a HUGE problem, and here’s why:
“A Th2 response to a specific virus infection will specifically suppress Th1 cells from becoming activated against the same virus. With the resulting failure to generate a Th1 response, cells infected with virus cannot be destroyed.” (source, emphasis mine)
So basically, vaccines may actually cripple our ability to expel viruses. Sure, they can “help” us produce antibodies that allow fewer cells to be infected, but based on this understanding the cells that do become infected are literally paralyzed from doing anything about it. In that sense, vaccines do “work.” They keep us from experiencing the sensations we associate with illness, but there may be a cost.
According to Dr. Marini, infected cells cannot fight well when the TH2 system is dominant, so they just try to manage until they get really sick and tired of being sick and tired. Then they start trying to game the system for some relief.
“Chronically infected cells, like nerve cells, can occasionally trick the immune system into reacting to and attacking similar nerve cells resulting in autoimmune disease such as multiple sclerosis, Guillain Barré, etc. Cells chronically infected with live vaccine viruses also risk having the viruses mutate, trade genes with each other, as well as interact with the host cell DNA.¹”
In other words, vaccines may work in the short term to block the infection of some cells and reduce the incidence of acute illness, but in doing so they may very well trigger autoimmune reactions, prevent our TH1 systems from dealing effectively with the rogue cancer cells we all have, and modify the immune system in ways we can’t predict. They also negatively affect herd immunity, but that’s another post!
Vaccine makers have made attempts to stimulate TH1 responses instead of TH2, but so far they haven’t been able to. (source) Of course, they continue to maintain that current vaccines are safe and effective, but are they?
This brings me to my next point, which is that . . .
#3 The Flu Shot May Be More Dangerous Than The Flu
The 2012-2013 vaccine has been formulated with three strains: Influenza A (H3N2), Influenza B and Influenza A (H1N1). (UPDATE: The 2013-2014 vaccine has four strains: H1N1 and H3N2, and two influenza B strains.)
In 2012, a study linked the H1N1 vaccine with a tenfold increase in miscarriages over previous flu vaccines.
Additionally, according to this article “Dr. Hugh Fudenberg, a world-leading immunogeneticist, has extensively studied the effects of the flu vaccine on neurological health. The results of his research indicate that an individual has a 10-time greater chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease after receiving five flu shots in the course of their life compared to individuals who have had zero to one shot in their lifetime.
Dr. Fudenberg and other researchers believe the increased risk of Alzheimer’s is a result of the combination of mercury and aluminum within the flu vaccine.” (emphasis mine)
Others have drawn the same conclusion, including Dr. Bernard Windham, who has testified before the FDA regarding his findings. According to Windham, mercury toxicity blocks sulfate oxidation which allows cysteine levels to build up in the brain and CNS to neurotoxic levels. He cites numerous studies which have found elevated cysteine levels – about 500% higher than controls – in patients with Alzheimer’s, ALS, Parkinson’s, Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and autism. (source)
Mercury exposure can also cause memory loss, depression, ADD, oral health problems, digestive imbalances, respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases and many more serious health problems. (source) Note: Single use flu vaccine vials may not contain mercury. The inhaled vaccine never does. (source) Single use vials with a pink syringe plunger rod in the pre-filled syringe contain only “trace” amounts of mercury – these are the made for children from 6-36 month old. They are made in limited quantities so children often receive the mercury-containing vaccines.
So, it often contains mercury AND it’s risky for pregnant women, despite the fact that this is one of the “vulnerable” populations targeted for vaccination? Interesting.
#4 Oh, And It May Double Your Risk Of Getting The Flu!
What happens when an individual compromises their TH1 immune function to be “protected” from the 3 strains of flu that came in this year’s vaccine? They’re vulnerable to the hundreds of other strains that will circulate this year, of course!
Back in the spring of 2009, just when the swine flu hysteria was building, a Canadian study revealed that people, who had received a regular, seasonal flu shot, were twice as likely to catch swine flu. This was initially passed off as unproven but, lo and behold, in 2010 the results of several epidemiologic investigations revealed that seasonal flu shot DID increase the risk of catching swine flu.
The four studies, which were conducted by public health agencies in Canada, involved about 2,700 people in all, and each one had the same result: if you got the seasonal flu shot, you were more likely to get the swine flu. The researchers wrote in PLoS Medicine:
” … Estimates from all four studies (which included about 1,200 laboratory-confirmed pH1N1 cases and 1,500 controls) showed that prior recipients of the 2008–09 TIV [seasonal flu shot] had approximately 1.4–2.5 times increased chances of developing pH1N1 illness that needed medical attention during the spring–summer of 2009 compared to people who had not received the TIV.”
#5 There Is Evidence Of Widespread Manipulation Of Flu Vaccine Data
In an analysis of 50 published studies conducted by the well-respected, independent Cochrane Review, researchers found that only studies funded by pharmaceutical companies found a benefit. Their analysis revealed a far different conclusion:
- “reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin”
- “there is evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions”
- there is no evidence that vaccination prevents viral transmission in adults (so much for getting the vaccine to protect herd immunity!)
#6 There Are Safer Ways To Boost Immune Function
According to this article, supplementing Vitamin D is actually MORE effective at preventing the flu than the vaccine. You can find more tips for preventing colds and flu’s naturally here and here. I recommend using the acerola powder mentioned in the second article over a traditional Vitamin C, supplement, which is likely to be synthetic.
Oh, And Did I Mention They Don’t Work?
A “large-scale, systematic review of 51 studies, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2006, found no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo in preventing influenza in children under two. The studies involved 260,000 children, age 6 to 23 months.” (source)
Another Cochrane Review found that vaccinating nursing-home workers did not reduce the number of confirmed flu cases among residents. (source)
Here’s an excerpt from the study’s conclusion:
“No effect was shown for specific outcomes: laboratory-proven influenza, pneumonia, and death from pneumonia. An effect was shown for the nonspecific outcomes of influenza-like illness, primary care consultations for influenza-like illness, and all-cause mortality in patients 60 years and older. These nonspecific outcomes are difficult to interpret because influenza-like illness includes many pathogens, and winter influenza contributes less than 10 percent to all-cause mortality in patients 60 years and older. The key interest is preventing laboratory-proven influenza in patients 60 years and older, pneumonia, and deaths from pneumonia, and we cannot draw such conclusions. The identified studies are at high risk of bias.”
Do you vaccinate for the flu? Why or why not?
Disclaimer: Obviously this is my perspective – I encourage you to do additional research and talk to a healthcare provider you trust. See my full disclaimer here.
Sources:¹ Urnovitz H., Archiving of Live Viral Vaccines. From Proceedings of the First International Public Conference on Vaccination. September 13-15, 1997.
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