By Dr. Mercola
The vaccine industry gives millions for conferences, grants, and medical education classes sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
The vaccine industry even helped build AAP's headquarters.
Recently, the AAP President wrote a letter to the CEO of Delta Air Lines attacking the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) for creating a flu prevention video for in-flight programming shown on Delta Air Lines during the month of November.
The AAP asked Delta to block NVIC's video from being shown to Delta travelers.
The video, which you can view above, offers sensible and proven tips for staying well during the flu season, such as:
- Washing your hands
- Covering your mouth when coughing
- Eating nutritious foods and consuming proper nutrients, such as vitamins C and D
- Getting enough sleep and lowering your stress levels
- Exercising regularly
The video also states that flu vaccine is another option, which you can discuss with your doctor.
Putting Children's Lives at Risk?
For showing this video filled with sensible, health-protective advice, a letter signed by AAP President Dr. Robert Block accused Delta (and by proxy NVIC) of "putting children's lives at risk" and alleges that:
"The [NVIC] ad urges viewers to become informed about influenza and how to stay well during the flu season without resorting to the influenza vaccine."
The AAP also had the audacity to state that the video contains "harmful messages," which is so far from the truth it's ridiculous.
So why would the AAP leadership be so angered by a video that encourages travelers to eat right, get plenty of sleep, wash their hands and cover their mouths while coughing? Because they want you to believe their drug industry-funded propaganda that the best way to stay well during the flu season is to simply get a flu shot.
The idea that a flu shot is all you need to stay healthy is totally inaccurate, as was demonstrated in a recently published scientific study that found flu shots are less than 70 percent effective in preventing influenza. Promoting this kind of misinformation about flu vaccine speaks volumes about the AAP's motives, which appear to be far more about pushing vaccine sales than disseminating truthful information that could actually keep children (and adults) healthier.
CBS News Reveals AAP's Strong Financial Ties to Vaccine Makers
The AAP's blatant attempts to censor and block public access to complete and accurate information about influenza and staying well during the flu season take on a new light when you consider where the medical trade association's funding comes from. As revealed by CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson:
"The vaccine industry gives millions to the Academy of Pediatrics … The totals are kept secret, but public documents reveal bits and pieces.
- A $342,000 payment from Wyeth, maker of the pneumococcal vaccine - which makes $2 billion a year in sales.
- A $433,000 contribution from Merck, the same year the academy endorsed Merck's HPV vaccine - which made $1.5 billion a year in sales.
- Another top donor: Sanofi Aventis, maker of 17 vaccines and a … five-in-one combo shot … added to the childhood vaccine schedule …
There's nothing illegal about the financial relationships, but to critics, they pose a serious risk for conflicts of interest. As one member of Congress put it, money from the pharmaceutical industry can shape the practices of those who hold themselves out to be "independent.""
There seems to be a pattern to the AAP's bad behavior when it comes to attacking NVIC efforts to provide the public with truthful information about health and vaccination. Earlier this year, the AAP President sent a letter to CBS containing misinformation about NVIC in an attempt to strong-arm the network into taking down our Times Square billboard, which included a 15-second public service message encouraging everyone to make informed vaccine choices.
In a nutshell, the AAP does not want you (or doctors and nurses giving vaccines) to have access to complete and accurate information about vaccination and health that might make you think critically, do your own research before getting vaccinated and even open up a discussion with your doctor! This kind of bullying and censorship of vital health information simply should not be tolerated in a "free" country such as the United States.
NVIC co-founder and president Barbara Loe Fisher responded to the AAP's latest attack:
"Without cause, the AAP has used their considerable financial resources and political influence to intimidate Delta for simply showing a video that offers accurate information about ways to stay healthy during the flu season, including talking with doctors about getting a flu shot.
Censorship and attacks on consumer advocacy groups working to institute informed consent protections in public health policies should not be tolerated in this or any society that cherishes free speech and the right to self determination."
Let Delta Know You Like NVIC's Video
Pro-forced vaccination proponents have lined up behind the AAP's attack on NVIC's flu prevention video and organized an online effort to bombard Delta Air Lines with letters criticizing NVIC. If you like NVIC's video because it informs travelers about many options for staying well during the flu season, you can send an email to Delta's CEO, Richard Anderson, at: email@example.com.
Your Right to Informed Consent is Under Attack
If you live in the United States, there are legal exemptions that give you the right to opt out of vaccination. All 50 states allow a medical exemption to vaccination (the medical exemption can only be written by an M.D. or D.O.); 48 states allow a religious exemption to vaccination; and 18 states allow a personal, philosophical or conscientious belief exemption to vaccination.
However, vaccine exemptions are currently under attack in every state because the wealthy and powerful Pharmaceutical Industry lobby is trying to take them away. And as the largest political lobby group, they have immense power when it comes to influencing vaccine laws and public health policy.
The AAP, like other medical trade associations that receive money from vaccine manufacturers, is really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the influence and control Big Pharma has in the creation of state and federal public health policies and laws.
This is not an issue of being for or against vaccination; it's a matter of protecting your legal right to informed consent to medical risk-taking for yourself and your children, as well as protecting your right to access independent, unbiased information about vaccination and health.
Parental rights to give informed consent for their minor children to get vaccines for sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) has already been taken away in California, where Governor Jerry Brown bowed to pressure from the pharmaceutical lobby and signed AB 499 into law, which permits children to get Gardasil, hepatitis B and other STD vaccines without parents ever knowing it!
As Dawn Richardson, director of advocacy for NVIC, stated:
"Governor Brown's signing of this legislation signals a negative trend in state public health policy making. Big Pharma has been working behind the scenes in California, Washington and other states to take away parental rights and vaccine exemptions … Under federal law, parents are to help minimize risks and this new California law raises, rather than reduces, vaccine risks for children."
Pharmaceutical and medical lobbyists were heavily involved in pushing this new vaccine law through the California state legislature this year. After all, by stripping parents of their legal right to make informed decisions about medical products and procedures that could harm their children, they have a guaranteed new market for Gardasil vaccine and every STD vaccine drug companies create and sell in the future.
This new state vaccine law is not only a violation of parental rights, it is also a violation of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. In that federal law enacted by Congress 25 years ago, vaccine safety provisions were secured by the co-founders of NVIC in order to help prevent vaccine injuries and deaths. One of the safety provisions in that 1986 law is that doctors and all vaccine providers are required to inform parents about the risks of vaccination BEFORE their children are vaccinated.
Maybe the biggest reason why the AAP leadership dislikes NVIC so much is because NVIC has always been about trying to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths and lots of pediatrians these days are writing off serious vaccine reactions as a "coincidence." They are also throwing parents out of their offices if they ask too many questions about vaccination.
The new California law stripping parents of their informed consent rights is very dangerous because if parents do not know their minor children are getting vaccinated, they do know how to monitor their children for signs and symptoms of a vaccine reaction. Parents kept in the dark will not know, for example, how to be on the lookout for dangerous reactions like those that have been reported after Gardasil, which has had thousands of reported adverse effects, ranging from paralysis and blood clots to cardiac arrests and strokes, sometimes ending in permanent disability or even death.
It is the parent - not doctors or elected state officials - who will live with consequences and be legally responsible for caring for a minor child if that child is injured by a vaccine. Governor Brown bowed to pressure from the Pharma lobby and took away parents' right to know and give consent to vaccination for their children and Pharma is mounting similar attacks on informed consent rights in other states. As Barbara Loe Fisher has said, informed consent is a human right:
"The right to voluntary, informed consent to a medical intervention, including use of a pharmaceutical product such as a vaccine that can injure or kill you or your child, is a human right. While the State may have the legal authority to mandate use of vaccines, nobody has the moral authority to FORCE you to get vaccinated or vaccinate your child without your voluntary, informed consent."
What the AAP Won't Tell You About the Flu Shot
Getting back to the flu vaccine specifically, while the AAP and government health agencies tout flu shots as the "best" way to avoid seasonal influenza, what many fail to realize is that the published science available actually does NOT support this conclusion. The AAP and public health officials are, in essence, engaging in wishful thinking that is unsupported by scientific evidence.
Take the independent Cochrane Collaboration review of the medical literature, for example, which is an unbiased assessment of the strength of the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of common medical interventions. As discussed here in a recent article on GreenMedInfo.com, there are five Cochrane Database Reviews, published between 2006 and 2010, assessing the evidence for the effectiveness of influenza vaccine and those reviews completely debunk the false claim that flu shots are the most effective course of action to take to prevent influenza.
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 two. The studies involved 260,000 children, age 6 to 23 months.
- Two years, later, in 2008, another Cochrane review again concluded that "little evidence is available" that the flu vaccine is effective for children under the age of two. Even more disturbingly, the authors stated that:
"It was surprising to find only one study of inactivated vaccine in children under two years, given current recommendations to vaccinate healthy children from six months old in the USA and Canada. If immunization in children is to be recommended as a public health policy, large-scale studies assessing important outcomes and directly comparing vaccine types are urgently required."
- Then, last year, Cochrane published the following bombshell conclusion:
"Influenza vaccines have a modest effect in reducing influenza symptoms and working days lost. There is no evidence that they affect complications, such as pneumonia, or transmission.
WARNING: This review includes 15 out of 36 trials funded by industry (four had no funding declaration). An earlier systematic review of 274 influenza vaccine studies published up to 2007 found industry funded studies were published in more prestigious journals and cited more than other studies independently from methodological quality and size. Studies funded from public sources were significantly less likely to report conclusions favorable to the vaccines.
The review showed that reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin but there is evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions and spurious notoriety of the studies. The content and conclusions of this review should be interpreted in light of this finding." [Emphasis mine.]
- Last year, Cochrane also reviewed the available evidence with regard to protecting the elderly, and the results were equally abysmal. The authors concluded that: "The available evidence is of poor quality and provides no guidance regarding the safety, efficacy or effectiveness of influenza vaccines for people aged 65 years or older."
- Cochrane also reviewed whether or not vaccinating health care workers can help protect the elderly patients with whom they work. In conclusion, the authors state that: "[T]here is no evidence that vaccinating health care workers prevents influenza in elderly residents in long-term care facilities.
Sound Strategies to Prevent Flu
I recently published a timely review of what you can do to protect yourself and your family from colds and flu this season and in years to come. I urge you to read it for my full recommendations.
Overall, your best defense against any disease is a robust immune system, which vaccines can sometimes compromise. Supporting your immune system should always be a top priority as, ultimately, it is the state of your immune system that helps determine whether or not you get sick from being exposed to viral or bacterial organisms associated with infectious diseases and, if you do get sick, whether you are more likely to heal without complications.
The key to boosting your immune system and making it a "lean, mean, disease-fighting machine" lies in your lifestyle habits -- healthy food, stress relief, exercise, sleep, and exposure to sunlight, among other things - just as NVIC stated in their Delta video!
Artificially manipulating your immune system with a vaccine to try to stay healthy is not the same thing, nor does it produce the same kind of immunity and sought-after disease-fighting result if you do experience and recover from infections like influenza. Staying well is much more dependent upon the way you live your life throughout the year in terms of taking common sense precautions and steps to stay healthy than it does on getting a flu shot every year.
By following these simple guidelines, you can keep your immune system in optimal working order so that you're far less likely to acquire a respiratory infection to begin with or, if you do get sick with influenza or another flu-like illness, you are better prepared to move through it without complications and soon return to good health.
- Optimize your vitamin D levels. As I've previously reported, 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 influenza virus itself. This is probably the single most important and least expensive action you can take. Regularly monitor your vitamin D levels to confirm your levels are within the therapeutic range of 50-70 ng/ml.
Ideally, you'll want to get all your vitamin D from sun exposure or a safe tanning bed, but as a last resort you can take an oral vitamin D3 supplement. According to the latest review by Carole Baggerly (Grassrootshealth.org), adults need about 8,000 IU's a day.
- Avoid Sugar and Processed Foods. Sugar impairs the function of your immune system almost immediately, and as you likely know, a healthy immune system is one of the most important keys to fighting off viruses and other illness. Be aware that sugar is present in foods you may not suspect, like ketchup and fruit juice.
- Get Enough Rest. Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you're tired, if your body is overly fatigued it will be harder for it to fight influenza or any kind of illness.. Be sure to check out my article Guide to a Good Night's Sleep for some great tips to help you get quality rest.
- Have Effective Tools to Address Stress . We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness. If you feel that stress is taking a toll on your health, consider using an energy psychology tool such as the Emotional Freedom Technique, which is remarkably effective in relieving stress associated with all kinds of events, from work to family to trauma.
- Exercise. When you exercise, you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of successfully meeting the challenge from a virus or bacteria before you get sick.
- Take a Good Source of Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats. Increase your intake of healthy and essential fats like the omega-3 found in krill oil, which is crucial for maintaining health. It is also vitally important to avoid damaged omega-6 oils that are trans fats and in processed foods as it will seriously damage your immune response.
- Wash Your Hands. Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don't use antibacterial soap for this -- antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary, and they cause far more harm than good because they can lead to resistant bacteria. Instead, identify a simple non-toxic soap that you can switch your family to.
- Use Natural Antibiotics. Examples include colloidal silver, oil of oregano, and garlic. These work like broad-spectrum antibiotics against bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in your body. And unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics, they do not appear to lead to resistance.
- Avoid Hospitals. I'd recommend you stay away from hospitals unless you're having an emergency and need expert medical care, as hospitals are prime breeding grounds for infections of all kinds. The best place to get plenty of rest and recover from ordinary illness that is not life threatening is usually in the comfort of your own home.
What You Can Do to Make a Difference
While it seems "old-fashioned," the only truly effective actions you can take to protect parental rights and your right to exercise voluntary, informed consent to vaccination, is to get personally involved with your state legislators and the leaders in your community.
THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY.
Mass vaccination policies are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level, and it is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights can have the greatest impact.
Signing up for NVIC's free Advocacy Portal at www.NVICAdvocacy.org not only gives you access to practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community, but when national vaccine issues come up, you will have the up-to-date information and call to action items you need at your fingertips to make sure your voice is heard.
So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.
Contact Your Elected Officials
NVIC will help you learn how to effectively write or email your elected state representatives and share your concerns. You might want to call them, or better yet, make an appointment to visit them in person in their office. Don't let them forget you!
It is so important for you to reach out and make sure your concerns get on the radar screen of the leaders and opinion makers in your community, especially the politicians you elect and are directly involved in making vaccine laws in your state. These are your elected representatives, so you have a right and a responsibility to let them know what's really happening in your life and the lives of people you know when it comes to vaccine mandates. Be sure to share the "real life" experiences that you or people you know have had with vaccination.
Share Your Story with the Media and People You Know
If you or a family member has suffered a serious vaccine reaction, injury or death, consider sharing your experience with others. If we don't share information and experiences with each other, everybody feels alone and afraid to speak up.
Write a letter to the editor if you have a different perspective on a vaccine story that appears in your local newspaper. Make a call in to a radio talk show that is only presenting one side of the vaccine story.
I must be frank with you - you have to be brave because you might be strongly criticized for daring to talk about the "other side" of the vaccine story. Be prepared for it and have the courage to not back down. Only by sharing our perspective and what we know to be true about vaccination will the public conversation about vaccination open up so people are not afraid to talk about it.
We cannot allow the drug companies and medical trade associations funded by drug companies, like the AAP, to dominate the conversation about vaccination. The vaccine injured cannot be swept under the carpet and treated like nothing more than "statistically acceptable collateral damage" of national one-size-fits-all mass vaccination policies that put way too many people at risk for injury and death. We shouldn't be treating people like guinea pigs instead of human beings.
Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More
I encourage you to visit the following web pages on the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) website at www.NVIC.org:
- NVIC Memorial for Vaccine Victims: View descriptions and photos of children and adults, who have suffered vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths. If you or your child experiences an adverse vaccine event, please consider posting and sharing your story here.
- If You Vaccinate, Ask 8 Questions: Learn how to recognize vaccine reaction symptoms and prevent vaccine injuries.
- Vaccine Freedom Wall: View or post descriptions of harassment by doctors or government officials for making independent vaccine choices.
Connect with Your Doctor or Find a New One that Will Listen and Care
If your pediatrician or doctor refuses to provide medical care to you or your child unless you agree to get vaccines you don't want, I strongly encourage you to have the courage to find another doctor. Harassment, intimidation, and refusal of medical care is becoming the modus operandi of the medical establishment in an effort to stop the change in attitude of many parents about vaccinations after they become truly educated about health and vaccination.
However, there is hope.
At least 15 percent of young doctors recently polled admit that they're starting to adopt a more individualized approach to vaccinations in direct response to the vaccine safety concerns of parents. It is good news that there is a growing number of smart young doctors, who prefer to work as partners with parents in making personalized vaccine decisions for children, including delaying vaccinations or giving children fewer vaccines on the same day or continuing to provide medical care for those families, who decline use of one or more vaccines.
So take the time to locate a doctor, who treats you with compassion and respect and is willing to work with you to do what is right for your child.