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Mounting Research Raises Red Flag for Universal Flu Vaccine

September 10, 2013 | 213,151 views
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By Dr. Mercola

Despite powerful evidence to the contrary, the conventional view is that the best way to protect yourself against influenza is to get a seasonal flu shot. This flies in the face of a multitude of studies showing that:

  1. The flu vaccine fails to work for many people.

    Case in point: The 2012/2013 flu vaccine contained a very good match to the circulating strains, yet the reported effectiveness of the vaccine was still only slightly over 60 percent.

    According to Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota:1 "A match doesn't tell us how well a vaccine is going to work. It's almost meaningless."

  2. Vaccinating against one strain of influenza may actually increase your risk of exposure to related but different strains.

The latter point makes recent vaccine developments particularly troublesome, as vaccine researchers are hard at work developing a “universal” flu vaccine that is supposed to protect against virtually all subtypes of influenza—hypothetically, at least.

As new research shows, this may be a very dangerous hypothesis to pursue in order to promote the idea that universal use of a “universal” flu vaccine is necessary and will be a safe and effective public health policy.

Could Universal Flu Vaccine Result in Universal Poor Health?

Recent research2 on pigs, using whole, killed flu viruses, raises very important questions about the approach taken in the development of a universal flu vaccine. The study in piglets found that getting vaccinated against one strain of influenza raised the risk of severe infection with a related but different influenza strain.

It may be worth noting that the researchers are all with either the US Department of Agriculture’s Research Service or the US Food and Drug Administration, should anyone want to dismiss these findings as propaganda thought up by the vaccine safety and choice movement.

The researchers refer to this effect as “vaccine-associated enhanced respiratory disease.” Wisely enough, they recommend their findings “should be considered during the development and assessment of experimental universal flu vaccines.” According to the senior author Dr. Amy Vincent:3

“We need to ask questions and make sure the appropriate experiments and studies are done to ensure this will or will not happen in different vaccine scenarios.”

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved several new flu vaccines, including quadrivalent (four strain) vaccines using eggs for production, as well as trivalent vaccines.

These were created using either a baculovirus (army worm) expression system or MDCK (dog kidney) cells and recombinant DNA technology4 for production--the first of its kind. These new influenza vaccines using novel cell substrates may be opening the door to a whole host of potential unknown health effects, both short- and long-term.

This season you will have quite an array of flu vaccines to choose from. As recently reported in Time Magazine,5 available choices this year will include:

  1. Standard three-strain flu vaccine. This year’s version includes influenza strains H1N1 and H3N2, and an influenza B virus
  2. Quadrivalent, or four-strain vaccine, which includes two A class of viruses and two from the B class, which tends to cause illness primarily in young children
  3. Nasal spray, called FluMist. This year it will contain four strains opposed to three, matching the quadrivalent injection
  4. Egg-free vaccine (FluBlok), in which the influenza virus were grown in caterpillar cells instead of chicken eggs
  5. High-dose vaccines, promoted for seniors aged 65 and over
  6. Intradermal vaccine, promoted for those afraid of needles. The vaccine is delivered through a panel of micro-needles rather than a single needle

Will a 'Universal' Flu Vaccine Work?

Typically, most flu vaccines stimulate the production of antibodies to the main protein of the flu virus, called hemagglutinin, which is located on the outer shell of the virus. This protein gives you the “H” designation of a given strain, and it is this protein that attaches to the cell it’s trying to invade. There are 17 known hemagglutinins and the antibodies created to an H1 virus will not protect against an H3 or H5 virus, and so on.

Making matters even more complex, there are also different strains within each of these subtypes, and the artificial immunity you get from a vaccine may or may not extend to all strains of any given hemagglutinin subtype. So the vaccine industry is trying to boost vaccine acquired immunity by targeting “stalk antibodies.”

Here’s what this means, and why their efforts may end up producing the opposite effect they’re seeking: The hemagglutinin is shaped much like a lollipop, with the mutating part making up the head. Researchers have learned that the stem or stalk of the protein, on the other hand, tends to remain fairly unchanged across the various viruses. This is the discovery that has resulted in the current search for a “universal” flu vaccine. Vaccine developers believe that by removing the head portion, namely the stalk—i.e. the dominant protein portion of the virus—they might be able to induce cross-reactive antibodies capable of protecting against virtually any influenza virus, regardless of whether it’s an H1, H3, or H5, and so on.

The recent flu vaccine research in pigs raises a huge red flag calling into question the validity of this hypothesis, however. After giving piglets an H1N2 vaccine, they were then exposed to the H1N1 virus in circulation during 2009. As reported in the featured article:

“Instead of being protected, the H1N2-vaccinated pigs developed more severe disease than exposed pigs that hadn’t been pre-vaccinated. When the researchers tested the blood of the vaccinated pigs, they found high levels of antibodies that attached to the stalk of the H1N1 hemagglutinin, but not to the head of the protein.

Vincent said she and her colleagues are still trying to figure out why this produces more severe disease. But the theory is that while the stalk antibodies can’t neutralize or kill invading viruses, they do bind to them. And that may actually help the viruses enter the cells and multiply to higher levels—the paper calls them 'fusion enhancing.'” [Emphasis mine]

Canadian Results from 2009 Pandemic May Offer Glimpse of Troubles to Come

We saw evidence of this “fusion enhancing” scenario in Canada during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. The connection between previous flu vaccination and increased risk of disease during the 2009 season was initially spotted by Dr. Danuta Skowronski, a flu expert at the Canadian B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

She noticed that people who had gotten a flu shot the previous fall were MORE likely to succumb to the novel H1N1 strain, compared to those who had not received a flu shot the previous year.6 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.

Not surprisingly, her findings were promptly dismissed by the influenza community at large. Some dubbed it “the Canadian problem,” although it’s unclear why anyone would think that such consequences would be limited within the confines of the Canadian borders... A similar trend was also noted in data from Hong Kong,7 should anyone be tempted to write off the Canadian data as being an anomaly.

Dr. Skowronski’s team tested the hypothesis on ferrets,8 and found that the ferrets in the vaccine group also became significantly sicker than the unvaccinated animals. As reported in the featured article:9

“Asked about Vincent’s study, Skowronski said she’s been watching results from that group for years, and even cited vaccine-associated enhanced respiratory disease when she was asked by skeptics to describe what might explain her unexpected results in 2009.

'I think... what they’re showing is a biological mechanism that warrants further evaluation in terms of its relevance to the use of seasonal vaccines in human...” Skowronski said. 'It’s concerning, obviously, because if this is the mechanism, then it means there needs to be a lot more... attention paid to these universal vaccine candidates that are targeting that stalk antibody.'

The big question is, are we in fact weakening our overall ability to fight viruses by getting too many vaccines? While this question can apply to any vaccine, it’s particularly pertinent with regards to influenza vaccine, which public health officials say we must get each and every year from the age of six months throughout our lives until death! An even larger question, and one which researchers have only just begun to scratch the surface of, is whether or not universal use of vaccines can have a generational effect.

Infants Born to Vaccinated Mothers May Lose Initial Immunity Sooner

One study offering a glimpse into this question was recently published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.10 As reported by Medical News Today:11

“Newborns are protected from measles, mumps, and rubella during their first few months of life by antibodies they receive from their mothers. An infant's level of immunity is based, in part, on the mother's blood antibody level. A child's first dose of MMR vaccine is usually administered at around age one. Prior to the first vaccination, however, an infant's immunity begins to wane.

Previous studies have demonstrated that mothers who received MMR vaccination tend to have a lower concentration of measles-specific antibodies compared to mothers who naturally acquired measles infection. As a result, babies born to mothers who received the MMR vaccine have a shorter duration of protection and may remain unprotected for a period of time before they receive the first vaccination.”

The study in question12 found that infants born to mothers who received the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine lose natural, passively acquired immunity from their mothers sooner than those born to mothers who’d been naturally infected with measles.

Another study13 published in the same issue of the same journal found that, on average, the duration of passive protection against measles was two months longer for infants born to unvaccinated mothers.

Sadly, the authors use these worrying facts to support recommendations to get infants vaccinated sooner, rather than address the elephant in the room, which is whether or not we’re seriously compromising natural immunity over generations. Contracting a childhood disease naturally creates a positive feedback loop of robust, longer lasting immunity that is then transferred to your baby (if you’re a woman) and kept in place during early infancy.

By mass-vaccinating against childhood diseases that are not deadly for the vast majority of children in the U.S. and other developed countries with good sanitation, nutritous food and health care, are we slowly but surely, one generation at a time, eliminating the body’s natural ability to develop a qualitatively superior immunity to infectious diseases? And if so, where does that leave us? And, more importantly, why are we trading a more robust and longer lasting natural immunity for an artificial more temporary vaccine acquired immunity?

UNICEF Monitors and Defames Health Sites for Reporting Vaccine Research

Getting back to the flu vaccine, a recent review of published research shows flu vaccines are marginally effective at best, and produce neurological complications at worst, while having no effect at all on hospitalizations or working days lost. One of the most recent examples is the devastating side effects of the 2009-2010 flu vaccine, which caused some 800+ cases of narcolepsy in Sweden and other European countries.14

Despite such evidence, vaccine-safety and choice advocates such as myself are being increasingly targeted by the vaccine industry and those associated with that very profitable industry. We’re the “bad guys,” apparently simply because we bring the scientific evidence to the attention of the public and urge that everyone make well-educated vaccine and other health care decisions..

For example, a new report15 by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reveals that the organization is tracking "the rise of online anti-vaccination sentiments in Central and Eastern Europe,” and has identified the most influential “anti-vaccine influencers” on the web. This list includes yours truly, along with other independent health websites like GreenMedInfo.com, Mothering.com and NaturalNews.com, just to name a few.

This is indeed a sad state of affairs.

Instead of addressing the scientific evidence showing the potential harm of vaccines, both short- and long-term (perhaps even generational), they’re spending precious time, resources and brain power on public relations schemes to convince you not to pay attention to the available science. After all, many of the referenced articles published in this newsletter and on Mercola.com highlight documented evidence published in peer-reviewed journals! The only reason they’ve tagged me as an “anti-vaccine influencer” charged with the crime of lowering vaccine uptake, is because they’d rather keep that evidence under wraps so the public remains uninformed.

As stated by Sayer Ji, owner of Greenmedinfo.com:

“UNICEF's opening reference to the 'lie' (misinformation) spread by the above-mentioned web-based organizations indicates that while the document purports to be analytical and descriptive, it has proscriptive and defamatory undertones, and only thinly conceals an agenda to discredit opposing views and voices.

UNICEF's derogatory stance is all the more surprising considering that websites such as GreenMedinfo.com aggregate, disseminate and provide open access to peer-reviewed research on vaccine adverse effects and safety concerns extracted directly from the US National Library of Medicine, much of which comes from high-impact journals.”

Flu Vaccines Fail to Work Well According to Independent Research Review

Take the independent study review from the Cochrane Collaboration, for example. As Tom Jefferson, a researcher with the Cochrane Collaboration told Northwestern.edu:16 “There is no evidence that vaccines can prevent deaths or prevent person-to-person spread of infection.”

According to these independent research reviewers:17

“At best, vaccines might be effective against only influenza A and B, which represent about 10 percent of all circulating viruses. Authors of this review assessed all trials that compared vaccinated people with unvaccinated people. The combined results of these trials showed that under ideal conditions (vaccine completely matching circulating viral configuration) 33 healthy adults need to be vaccinated to avoid one set of influenza symptoms. In average conditions (partially matching vaccine) 100 people need to be vaccinated to avoid one set of influenza symptoms.

Vaccine use did not affect the number of people hospitalized or working days lost but caused one case of Guillian-Barré syndrome (a major neurological condition leading to paralysis) for every one million vaccinations.

Fifteen of the 36 trials were funded by vaccine companies and four had no funding declaration. Our results may be an optimistic estimate because company-sponsored influenza vaccines trials tend to produce results favorable to their products and some of the evidence comes from trials carried out in ideal viral circulation and matching conditions and because the harms evidence base is limited.”

Protect Your Right to Informed Consent and Vaccine Exemptions

With all the uncertainty surrounding the safety and efficacy of vaccines, it's critical to protect your right to informed consent to vaccination and fight to protect and expand vaccine exemptions in state public health laws. The best way to do this is to get personally involved with your state legislators and the leaders in your community.

Vaccine Awareness Week

THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY.

Mass vaccination policies are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level. It is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights can have the greatest impact. It is critical for EVERYONE to get involved now in standing up for the legal right to make vaccine choices in America because those choices are being threatened by lobbyists representing drug companies, medical trade associations and public health officials, who are trying to persuade legislators to strip all vaccine exemptions from public health laws.

Signing up for the National Vaccine Information Center’s free Advocacy Portal at www.NVICAdvocacy.org gives you immediate, easy access to your own state legislators on your Smart Phone or computer so you can make your voice heard. You will be kept up-to-date on the latest state bills threatening your vaccine choices and get practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community. Also, when national vaccine issues come up, you will have the up-to-date information and call to action items you need at your fingertips.

So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.

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, please talk about it. 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 or public health officials promoting forced use of a growing list of vaccines 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 mandatory vaccination policies that put way too many people at risk for injury and death. We should be treating people like human beings instead of guinea pigs.

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 and sanctions by doctors, employers, school and health 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.

Protect Your Right to Informed Consent and Defend Vaccine Exemptions

With all the uncertainty surrounding the safety and efficacy of vaccines, it's critical to protect your right to make independent health choices and exercise voluntary informed consent to vaccination. It is urgent that everyone in America stand up and fight to protect and expand vaccine informed consent protections in state public health and employment laws. The best way to do this is to get personally involved with your state legislators and educating the leaders in your community.

THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY.

National vaccine policy recommendations are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level. It is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights can have the greatest impact. It is critical for EVERYONE to get involved now in standing up for the legal right to make voluntary vaccine choices in America because those choices are being threatened by lobbyists representing drug companies, medical trade associations and public health officials, who are trying to persuade legislators to strip all vaccine exemptions from public health laws.

Signing up for NVIC's free Advocacy Portal at www.NVICAdvocacy.org gives you immediate, easy access to your own state legislators on your Smart Phone or computer so you can make your voice heard. You will be kept up-to-date on the latest state bills threatening your vaccine choice rights and get practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community. Also, when national vaccine issues come up, you will have the up-to-date information and call to action items you need at your fingertips..

So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.

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, please talk about it. 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 or public health officials promoting forced use of a growing list of vaccines 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 mandatory 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 website of the non-profit charity, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), 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 and sanctions by doctors, employers, school and health 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.

[+] Sources and References