By Dr. Mercola
The Canadian press recently broke the story that new research confirms initial findings that the flu vaccine appeared to actually increase people's risk of getting sick with H1N1, and cause more serious bouts of illness to boot.
According to the Vancouver Sun:1
"Researchers, led by Vancouver's Dr. Danuta Skowronski, an influenza expert at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, noticed in the early weeks of the [2009 H1N1] pandemic that people who got a flu shot for the 2008-09 winter seemed to be more likely to get infected with the pandemic virus than people who hadn't received a flu shot. Five studies done in several provinces showed the same unsettling results."
New Study Confirms: Flu Vaccine Really Does Increase Your Risk of Serious Pandemic Flu Illness
In March last year, ABC News reported:2
"There is renewed controversy surrounding influenza vaccines, with some studies showing people immunised against the seasonal flu might have been at greater risk during the swine flu outbreak...
'What was a bit surprising when we looked at some of the data from Canada and Hong Kong in the last year is that people who have been vaccinated in 2008 with the seasonal or ordinary vaccine seemed to have twice the risk of getting swine flu compared to the people who hadn't received that vaccine,' [Professor Collignon from the Australian National University] said.
ANU microbiologists say it is the opposite of what vaccines should do.
Professor Collignon says the findings of the study also highlight the benefits for healthy people who are exposed to some illnesses. 'Some interesting data has become available which suggests that if you get immunised with the seasonal vaccine, you get less broad protection than if you get a natural infection,' he said.
'It is particularly relevant for children because it is a condition they call original antigenic sin, which basically means if you get infected with a natural virus, that gives you not only protection against that virus but similar viruses or even in fact quite different flu viruses in the next year.'
'We may be perversely setting ourselves up that if something really new and nasty comes along, that people who have been vaccinated may in fact be more susceptible compared to getting this natural infection.'" [Emphasis mine]
Truer words are hard to find in mainstream media. This is, after all, the fundamental basics of immunity against disease. Vaccine-induced immunity to disease is trying to mimic this natural mechanism, but failing miserably in doing so...
Case in point: research published in the Journal of Virology3 in November of last year also confirmed that the seasonal flu vaccine may actually weaken children's immune systems and increase their chances of getting sick from influenza viruses not included in the vaccine. Further, when blood samples from 27 healthy, unvaccinated children and 14 children who had received an annual flu shot were compared, the former unvaccinated group naturally built up more antibodies across a wider variety of influenza strains compared to the latter vaccinated group – which is exactly what Professor Collignon referred to in the quote above.
While the initial reports of increased pandemic disease risk associated with flu vaccination were downplayed and widely dismissed as some odd Canadian phenomenon, a new study suggests this was no fluke. According to the featured article:4
"Skowronski and a group of researchers have recreated the event in ferrets. Their findings were presented... at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a major international infectious diseases conference taking place in San Francisco. Skowronski... worked with 32 ferrets, giving half the 2008 seasonal flu shot and the rest a placebo injection. The work was blinded, meaning the researchers didn't know which ferrets received which shot. Later, all the ferrets were infected with the pandemic H1N1 virus.
The ferrets in the vaccine group became significantly sicker than the other animals, though all recovered. 'The findings are consistent with the increased risk that we saw in the human studies,' Skowronski said." [Emphasis mine]
Proof Positive – Vaccine Industry Really Does Not Know What it's Doing...
According to the Canadian MetroNews5, researchers in other countries have also reported similar interactions between the 2008-09 flu vaccine and increased risk for more serious H1N1 illness. Remarkably, even though no one understands the reasons for this paradoxical effect, Dr. Skowronski "insisted the findings should not deter people from getting seasonal flu shots."6
"Two theories exist about what might have been behind the effect, said Skowronski, who favors the first. That theory relates to the fact that the 2008 vaccine protected against an H1N1 virus that was related to – but not similar enough to – the pandemic virus to generate antibodies that would neutralize it. The thinking is that might actually have facilitated infection with the pandemic virus," MetroNews reports.7
"Skowronski likened the mechanism to what happens with dengue viruses. People who have been infected with one subtype of dengue don't develop immunity to the other three. In fact, they are more at risk of developing a life-threatening form of dengue if they are infected with one of the other strains.
Skowronski called the second theory the infection block hypothesis. Having a bout of the flu gives the infected person antibodies that may be able, for a time, to fend off other strains; flu shots only protect against the strains they contain. So under this theory, people who didn't have flu in 2008 because they got a flu shot may have been less well armed against the pandemic virus."
It's important to realize that these are only theories, and researchers still don't know if either of them is correct. However, IF the first theory is correct, then this troubling effect is believed to be limited to pandemics in which the pandemic virus is related to a human flu virus in circulation. According to this theory, a virus with a hemagglutinin protein that humans haven't been previously exposed to would probably not trigger increased infection risk. However, as stated by Dr. Skowronski:8
"My own opinion, my own feeling would be that if you have a completely different hemagglutinin like H5 or H7... you may not see that... But who knows, frankly? The wise man knows he knows nothing when it comes to influenza, so you always have to be cautious in speculating."
That statement about sums up what the CDC and vaccine industry really know about what they are doing! Yet you're expected to just take their word, again and again, that vaccines are safe and the most effective form of disease prevention...
Flu Shots for All (Science Optional)
For the past several years, physicians in America have been insisting that every child age 6 months to 18 years must get an annual flu shot. Making matters worse, health officials have now ramped up those recommendations, telling EVERY person over the age of 6 months get a flu shot, healthy or not, low risk or high.
With all of those vaccinations, will you become more susceptible to influenza-related complications and death?
We really don't know, but if the interaction between the 2008-09 flu vaccine and H1N1 is any indication, the answer is likely to be yes. Health officials have leapt ahead with recommendations of "flu shots for all" without safety studies – so by getting a flu vaccine, you are effectively offering yourself up as a laboratory rat. In other words, YOU are the safety study!
To get a preview of the potential risks you take every time you accept a seasonal flu vaccine, listen to the following interview with a Connecticut artist and her mother, a former professor of nursing, who developed Guillain-Barre syndrome after getting a seasonal flu shot in 2008 and today is permanently disabled with total body paralysis. This family has chosen to share their heartbreaking story to help those who have had the same experience feel less alone, and to educate others about what it means to be vaccine injured. What happened to this family is a tragic reminder of just how important it is to make well-informed decisions about vaccinations.
All Vaccines Compromise Natural Immunity
The more vaccines are studied, the more apparent it becomes that safety studies are sorely lacking, as vaccine expert and pediatrician Larry Palevsky explains. For example, those that have been done compare vaccinated populations only to other vaccinated populations, and only follow vaccinated kids for 4-6 weeks.
As mentioned earlier, there are major differences between naturally-acquired immunity and vaccine-induced immunity – and science does confirm this. Those who disagree are simply ignoring the evidence and perpetuating ignorance. Unfortunately, while obtaining natural immunity has far greater benefits, this fact seems to be completely overlooked in the United States, considering it's recommended that U.S. babies receive 26 doses of vaccines within the first 12 months of life (which, incidentally, is twice as many vaccinations as are given to babies in Sweden and Japan).
When children are born, they develop natural immunity to a large variety of microorganisms that they breathe, eat, and touch. The immune responses initiated by cells lining their airways, skin and intestines are very important in creating "memory" and protection against the microorganisms they naturally come into contact with every day. That primary line of defense is a very important step in the maturation of your child's immune system – and it's bypassed when he/she gets a vaccine.
With vaccination, you are merely creating an antibody, but as the Journal of Virology study9 showed, the unvaccinated children actually built up more antibodies against a wider variety of flu virus strains than the vaccinated children!
Vaccines usually do not impart long-term immunity because they don't create the kind of memory that occurs when you go through the process of a natural immune response. Natural exposure does not necessarily lead to symptoms of infection – it is possible for your immune system to respond and for you to obtain natural immunity without actually getting sick, if your immune system is functioning well. In fact, vaccines do NOT strengthen the healthy functioning of your immune system, but actually weaken it. Here are just some of the ways vaccines can impair and alter your immune response:
- Some components in vaccines are neurotoxic and may depress your immune response or cause brain and immune dysfunction, particularly heavy metals such as mercury preservatives (thimerosal) and aluminum adjuvants
- The lab altered vaccine viruses themselves may also affect your immune response in a negative way
- Vaccines may alter your t-cell function and lead you to become chronically ill
- Vaccines can trigger allergies or autoimmune disorders. Vaccines introduce large foreign protein molecules into your body. Your body can respond to these foreign particles in a way that causes an allergic reaction or triggers autoimmunty, especially in persons genetically or biologically vulnerable to allergy and autoimmunity
Getting a flu shot can affect your cardiovascular system because vaccination stimulates an acute inflammatory response in your body, which also could become chronic. One 2007 study published in the Annals of Medicine10 concluded that:
"Abnormalities in arterial function and LDL oxidation may persist for at least two weeks after a slight inflammatory reaction induced by influenza vaccination. These could explain in part the earlier reported increase in cardiovascular risk during the first weeks after an acute inflammatory disorder."
What You Need to Know about Informed Consent
Informed consent is especially important when it comes to vaccination because no one can predict whether you or your child will suffer a devastating vaccine reaction. Furthermore, doctors have been notoriously lax when it comes to providing patients with full disclosure of potential serious vaccine side effects.
All Americans should know that if your doctor does not provide the CDC Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) sheet, or directly discuss the potential symptoms of side effects of the vaccination you or your child is about to receive BEFORE vaccination takes place, it is a violation of federal law. Remember, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 requires doctors and other vaccine providers to:
- Give written vaccine benefit and risk information to the person or guardian of the person before vaccination takes place (and, ethically, a doctor should be willing to discuss and answer all questions the patient or parent has about vaccination)
- Keep a permanent record of all vaccines given and the manufacturer's name and lot number
- Enter serious health problems, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths that occur after vaccination in the patient's permanent medical record
- File an official report of all serious health problems, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths following vaccination to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS)
If a vaccine provider fails to inform, record or report, it is a violation of federal law, and I would encourage anyone who is injured from a vaccine, who did not receive the proper warnings, to use the legal system to hold the physician responsible. For more information about the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act and your rights under that law, go to the website of the nonprofit National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) at www.NVIC.org, where you also can find referenced information on diseases and vaccines to help you make well educated vaccine choices. You can also sign up to be a user of the NVIC Advocacy Portal to work to protect the legal right to make vaccine choices in your state.
How to Protect Yourself Against Influenza
So the question is, why do we continue doing something that has been proven ineffective and risky? As Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." This certainly could be said to apply to the practice of getting a flu shot every year and expecting to be protected against the flu without taking a health risk.
While the media is sure to continue hyping potential pandemic influenzas, remember that a healthy immune system is your best and primary defense against any viral threat. The following simple guidelines will help you keep your immune system in optimal working order so that you're far less likely to acquire influenza or other respiratory infections to begin with or, if you do, your immune system will deal with it without complications:
- 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. This is probably the single most important and least expensive action you can take. I would STRONGLY urge you to have your vitamin D level monitored to confirm your levels are therapeutic at 50-70 ng/ml year-round.
An inexpensive option to get your vitamin D levels checked on a regular basis is to join the GrassrootsHealth D*action Project.
- Avoid Sugar, Fructose and Processed Foods. Sugar decreases the function of your immune system almost immediately. 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 the flu. 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 finding an illness before it spreads.
- Take a Good Source of High Quality 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. Remember that antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary and cause more harm than good. Instead, identify a simple non-toxic soap that you can switch your family to.
- Use Natural Antibiotics. Examples include 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 avoiding hospitals unless you're having an emergency, as hospitals are prime breeding grounds for infections of all kinds and could be one of the likeliest places you could be exposed to any new bug. Also keep in mind that virtually all vaccinations have the potential to reduce the effective functioning of your immune system, NOT make it stronger!