In a school outbreak of pH1N1 in spring 2009, people with cough and fever were found to have received prior seasonal flu vaccination more often than those without.
Several public health agencies in Canada therefore undertook four additional studies during the summer of 2009 to investigate further. Taken together, the four studies included approximately 2,700 people with and without pH1N1.
The first of the studies found the seasonal vaccine to be associated with an increased risk of approximately 68 percent for pH1N1 disease.
The further 3 studies similarly found between 1.4 and 1.5 times increased likelihood of pH1N1 illness in people who had received the seasonal vaccine compared to those who had not.
WHO Finally Admits They Screwed up on Swine Flu
In related news, the World Health Organization (WHO) has admitted that it made mistakes in its response to H1N1 swine flu.
WHO influenza expert Keiji Fukuda conceded that the six-phase system for declaring a pandemic was confusing, and resulted in widespread panic about an illness which proved to be even less deadly than the similarly overhyped bird flu.
Critics have pointed out WHO's links to the pharmaceutical industry. Many drug companies made huge profits when governments bought enormous stockpiles of H1N1 vaccine, much of which has gone unused.
You may remember back in the spring of 2009, just when the swine flu hysteria was building, that a Canadian study revealed people who had received a regular, seasonal flu shot were twice as likely to catch swine flu.
Then again, you may not have heard this before, as it wasn’t exactly shouted from the rooftops, and the United States pretty much ignored the findings and continued to recommend that vaccinations for both seasonal and H1N1 flu go ahead as previously planned.
This, of course, occurred despite the fact that administering two types of flu shots in a single season had never been done before.
In certain Canadian provinces however, the study was compelling enough for them to suspend seasonal flu shots for anyone under 65, and further studies were recommended to find out what was really going on.
Well, several epidemiologic investigations were conducted over the summer of 2009, and the results are now in.
Seasonal flu shot DID increase the risk of catching swine flu.
Four Additional Studies All Confirm the Initial Findings
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.”
The researchers stopped short of saying that a causal relationship had been established, saying instead that there could have been unidentified factors within the groups studied that accounted for the increase. They’ve recommended further studies to determine if the shot really was responsible, for instance, if the seasonal vaccine modified people’s immune systems in such a way that made them less able to fight off H1N1.
This latter explanation makes perfect sense.
Why Getting a Vaccine for One Disease Could Make You More Likely to Catch Another
Remember that ALL vaccines are immune suppressing, meaning they lower your immune functions. The chemicals and adjuvants in the vaccines depress your immune system; the virus present depress immune function, and the foreign DNA/RNA from animal tissues depress immunity -- that is the trade-off you are risking.
The traditionally held belief is that it is acceptable to exchange a small overall immune depression for immunity to one disease. However, this trade is not at all in your favor when you consider the fact that you’re trading a TOTAL immune system depression, which is your main defense against ALL known disease -- including millions of pathogens -- for a temporary immunity against just one disease, which in most cases is a non issue for you and your family..
This may explain why people who had recently been vaccinated with the seasonal flu shot were therefore more likely to fall ill with swine flu. There are other theories circulating as well. According to Deseret News:
“One hypothesis suggests seasonal flu vaccine preoccupies the cells that would otherwise produce antibodies against H1N1.
But, according to Dr. Rubinstein, the research shows that people who received the seasonal shot during the 2007-08 flu season remained vulnerable to swine flu well into 2009, an interval that should provide most immune systems ample restoration time.”
CBC News Canada published another theory:
“Theoretically, antibodies created by the immune system after exposure to bacteria or a virus can facilitate the entry of another strain of the virus or disease. The effect has been seen for other viral vaccinations but never for influenza, said Dr. Donald Low, chief microbiologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.”
Whatever the mechanism may turn out to be, waiting for science to figure it out seems foolish given the heightened risk. Nonetheless, the World Health Organization, who has admitted many times over that they made major mistakes in their handling of the H1N1 pandemic, has gone ahead and recommended that H1N1 be included in upcoming seasonal flu vaccinations.
So please keep this article handy to share with your friends and loved ones who are ready to get their “H1N1-enhanced” flu shot come October or November.
A Brief Reminder of How You May Prevent the Flu Naturally
If you’re feeling skittish about going through flu season flu-shot-free, you should know that there are far safer, not to mention more effective, ways to possibly prevent the flu.
Most people do not realize that vitamin D, unlike flu shots, is a proven method to help keep yourself from catching an infectious disease.
According to the Irish Independent, R Edgar Hope Simpson was one of the first to discover the link between a deficiency in solar radiation and seasonal influenza. Then, in 2006, the journal Epidemiology and Infection published Dr. John Cannell’s paper Epidemic Influenza and Vitamin D, which presents the hypothesis that influenza is merely a symptom of vitamin D deficiency.
He followed this up with another study published in the Virology Journal in 2008.
His findings were again confirmed by another recent study -- the largest and most nationally representative of its kind to date -- that involved about 19,000 Americans.
It found that people with the lowest blood vitamin D levels reported having significantly more recent colds or cases of the flu. In conclusion, lead author Dr. Adit Ginde stated:
"The findings of our study support an important role for vitamin D in prevention of common respiratory infections, such as colds and the flu. Individuals with common lung diseases, such as asthma or emphysema, may be particularly susceptible to respiratory infections from vitamin D deficiency."
Add to this the fact that vitamin D has been shown to have a dramatic impact on nearly all chronic diseases, and you begin to see why optimizing your vitamin D levels may indeed be crucial for avoiding the flu in the first place, and/or avoiding serious and potentially deadly complications from the flu.
While you can use vitamin D acutely to treat the infection by using 20,000-50,000 units a day for three days, it is FAR better to have your levels optimized BEFORE you are exposed to the flu. If you have been taking relatively larger doses of vitamin D (5,000 units a day or more) then there is very little likelihood that this high dose for three days would work and it is not suggested to try it.
Only use that dose if you have not been on regular doses of oral vitamin D or had healthy sun exposure.
Optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the absolute best strategies for avoiding infections of ALL kinds, and vitamin D deficiency is likely the TRUE culprit behind the seasonality of the flu -- not the flu virus itself.
It makes much more sense to get your levels optimized than risk taking a shot that may increase your chances of coming down with another virus.