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How Journals Can Twist and Manipulate Vaccine Research

December 17, 2009 | 28,880 views

Children and the elderly are the two age groups that appear to have the most complications following an influenza infection.

Influenza has a viral origin and often results in an acute respiratory illness affecting the lower or upper parts respiratory tract, or both. Viruses are mainly of two subtypes (A or B) and spread periodically during the autumn-winter months. Many other viruses however, can also cause illness of the respiratory tract.

Public health efforts to contain the virus rely mainly on widespread vaccination. Recent policy from several internationally-recognized institutions recommends immunization of healthy children from the age of six months and up.

In their 2008 update of a review done in 2006, Cochrane authors found a marked difference between vaccine “efficacy” versus their effectiveness.

Although these two terms are oftentimes used interchangeably in daily conversation, when used in a medical context they confer two different meanings.

“Efficacy” means the extent to which a specific intervention produces a therapeutic effect, or a beneficial result under ideal conditions. The protective efficacy of a vaccine is determined on what is called “antibody titer”.

A simplified explanation is that the antibody titer is a measurement of the amount of antibodies produced in your body that recognize a particular antigen (virus).

“Effectiveness,” on the other hand, shows the intervention’s capacity for producing the intended or expected result. In the case of a flu vaccine, the intended result would be considered its capacity to prevent influenza illness.

In children over the age of 2, nasal spray vaccines made from weakened live viruses had an:

  • Efficacy of 82 percent compared with placebo or no intervention
  • Effectiveness of 33 percent

In children over the age of 2, inactivated (injectable) vaccines had an:

  • Efficacy of 59 percent compared to live vaccines
  • Effectiveness of 36 percent

In children under 2, the efficacy of inactivated vaccine was similar to placebo.

 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

 The fact is that there is plenty of scientific evidence showing that flu vaccines simply do not work, and have no real impact on reduction of disease, rates of hospitalization, or rates of absenteeism from work.

Unfortunately, the germ theory and a commitment to using vaccines to address illness is deeply ingrained in the conventional medical community and few are willing to face the reality that vaccinations may not be a suitable answer – let alone the answer.

Flu Shots’ Poor Rates of Effectiveness

Part of the confusion that makes some people believe in the effectiveness of flu vaccines is the misunderstanding of “efficacy” as opposed to “effectiveness.”

You might think they do, but these terms do NOT describe the same thing.

And, as the Cochrane authors noted, there’s a marked difference between vaccine “efficacy” versus their effectiveness.

“Efficacy” means the extent to which a specific intervention produces a therapeutic effect, or a beneficial result under ideal conditions.

The protective efficacy of a vaccine is determined on what is called “antibody titer”.

A simplified explanation is that the antibody titer is a measurement of the amount of antibodies produced in your body that recognize a particular antigen (virus).

“Effectiveness,” on the other hand, shows the intervention’s capacity for producing the intended or expected result. In the case of a flu vaccine, the intended result would be considered its capacity to prevent influenza illness.

In children over the age of 2, nasal spray vaccines made from weakened live viruses had an:

  • Efficacy of 82 percent compared with placebo or no intervention. This means that 82 percent of children over the age of two produced sufficient amounts of antibodies against a virus, compared to a those who received a placebo or nothing at all. Considering the fact that if you inject no virus whatsoever, your body has nothing to produce antibodies against, it’s still worth noting that injecting a virus only produces sufficient amounts of antibodies in 8 out of 10 children – not all.

  • Effectiveness of only 33 percent. I.e. it only prevented influenza illness in about 3 out of 10 children

In children over the age of 2, inactivated (injectable) vaccines had an:

  • Efficacy of 59 percent compared to live vaccines

  • Effectiveness of 36 percent

In children under 2, the efficacy of inactivated vaccine was similar to placebo.

This is truly incredible, since it means that whether you inject a virus or nothing at all into a child under the age of two, you will NOT see antibodies being produced! And if the efficacy is zero, it stands to reason the effectiveness is null and void as well.

So under two, you have NO efficacy (antibody production), and NO effectiveness (illness prevention), but PLENTY of potential dangers…

It really amazes me how effective drug companies’ marketing strategies have been at convincing health care professionals and the public to change the laws. They can now sell their unproven and unsafe products in pharmacies, airports, college campuses, grocery stores and countless other outlets, despite the fact that:

  • Three years ago, a study in the British Medical Journal concluded that the effectiveness of annual flu shots has been greatly exaggerated, and that in reality they have little or no effect on influenza campaign objectives, including reducing the number of hospital stays, time off work, and death from influenza and its complications.

  • Giving young children flu shots appeared to have no impact on flu-related doctor visits or hospitalizations during two recent flu seasons, according to a study published in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine last year. The researchers concluded that "significant influenza vaccine effectiveness could not be demonstrated for any season, age, or setting" examined.

  • The precursor to the 2008 study linked above, 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 children under 2. The studies involved 260,000 children, age 6 to 23 months.

  • No studies have conclusively proven that flu shots prevent flu-related deaths among the elderly.

  • A study published in the Lancet found that influenza vaccination was NOT associated with a reduced risk of pneumonia in older people. Why is this important? Because 35,000 of the 36,000 “flu” deaths the government claims happen each year are actually caused by diseases like pneumonia, and NOT the flu.

  • That Lancet study supports a similar study done in 2006, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, which concluded that vaccination against pneumonia does not reduce your risk of contracting the disease.

  • Research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine also confirms that there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza and pneumonia, despite the fact that vaccination coverage among the elderly has increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent now.

  • Another study from 2005, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine also could not find support for the use of flu vaccine to prevent deaths in the elderly. The report highlights that although immunization rates in people over 65 have increased dramatically in the past 20 years, there has not been a consequent decline in flu-related deaths.

  • In 2007, researchers with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the National Institutes of Health published this conclusion in the Lancet Infectious Diseases: “We conclude that frailty selection bias and use of non-specific endpoints such as all-cause mortality have led cohort studies to greatly exaggerate vaccine benefits.”

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to question the current paradigm.

What Works to Guard Against the Flu?

What you MUST understand is that people are dying from the flu because they are already sick and have compromised immune systems.

The ultimate treatment for the flu is proactive prevention. Eat the right foods, avoid the junk, get plenty of rest and stay emotionally balanced, and you and the flu will likely never meet.

Getting appropriate amounts of sunshine, or UV exposure through a safe tanning bed (or taking a vitamin D supplement when you can’t get healthy amounts of UVB exposure) is one of my KEY preventive strategies against the cold and flu, as it has an extraordinary strengthening effect on your immune system.

For more information on this amazing flu-preventing vitamin, as well as where to have your vitamin D levels checked and how to cure a cold or flu with mega-doses of vitamin D, please read Avoid Flu Shots With the One Vitamin That Will Stop Flu in Its Tracks.

Other important lifestyle strategies for flu prevention include:

BEWARE of Taking Tylenol with the Flu Vaccine!

That said, if you or your child DO end up getting a flu shot, please beware of emerging research that warns about using analgesics in conjunction with vaccines.

According to a two Czechoslovakian studies, published in the journal Lancet on October 17, giving your child an analgesic to prevent fever when getting a vaccine can lead to increased risk of secondary infections.

Their studies showed that after vaccination, the immune response was lower among babies who were given acetaminophen (such as Tylenol), right after they received the shot.

The vaccines used in the study were for pneumococcal disease, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, polio and rotavirus. No flu vaccines were included. However, it’s likely the effect would still be the same.

MSN.com quotes infectious disease expert Dr. Marc Siegel as saying that:

"…the conclusion that Tylenol not only suppresses fever, but also decreases immune response is plausible. After all, what is an immune response? It's an inflammatory response."

The researchers also found that although fewer infants developed a fever after getting acetaminophen, they also developed significantly fewer antibodies against the disease they were vaccinated against. They believe the acetaminophen’s anti-inflammatory activity might interfere with your body’s immune system antibody response, which could explain why the vaccine was rendered less effective.

However, what is not mentioned by either MSN, or foodconsumer.org, who also ran an article on these findings, is that a lowered immune response also means you're more susceptible to develop other infections. And, as we now know, it is secondary infections such as bacterial staph infections that turn out to be deadly -- not the flu virus in and of itself.


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