Americans reeled into a state of panic after hearing one of the United States' only flu vaccine suppliers, Chiron, could provide a mere half of the 100 million promised flu doses for the 2004 season. Now, according to a 2003 report given to Congress, that same British plant sent improperly made vaccine, by mistake, to U.S. consumers just three years ago.
Moreover, whether that vaccine stayed potent and sterile through its expiration date is in question--why? Because the plant:
First strayed from approved manufacturing methods (including everything from having proven procedures to strong quality control, testing and record-keeping)
Then failed to document whether that would adversely affect the vaccine's quality over time
Not only do these findings cast a negative light on the British plant, but it also raises dubious eyebrows regarding the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) clear oversight of the plant and vaccine industry. It wasn't until more than a year after millions of people were given a dose of the "mishap vaccine" (for the 2001-2002 season) when the FDA discovered the mistake during a plant inspection in mid-2003. Further, after a close examination, it appears many unreported details about the plant's vaccine--most of which was for the U.S. market--were revealed.
Skeletons in the Closet
Four out of five batches of tested vaccine made for the 2001-2002 flu season lost potency prematurely
In light of potency concerns, the plant's managers considered, though decided against, recalling the flu vaccine in 2002
Required quality-control tests before 2003 were simply overlooked and others weren't done on time
Prior to 2004, the plant sent the FDA test vaccine samples labeled as one kind, though they were actually another
Another strike against the FDA: Despite the plant's obvious imperfections, the FDA largely accepted the company's word that it would rectify its shortcomings. It is suspected this lax on the FDA's part stems from the fact Chiron is a crucial vaccine supplier, as it is one of only two plants fully licensed to provide the United States with doses. The FDA is working to approve additional flu vaccine suppliers.
Chiron is striving to upgrade the plant and hopes to supply the United States with flu shots this fall.
USA Today February 10, 2005
Doesn't it just give you a major sense of peace and relief to find out that Chiron is striving to correct all these shortcomings so that this fall we can have their new improved flu shots?
How can anyone trust this company with a history as theirs? From my perspective it is mind boggling that they are still in business.
If you're a regular reader, you may have seen an article I ran about the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) recent announcement that encourages anybody and everybody to get a flu shot. Conversely, the details revealed in the government report go a long way toward explaining why you will always want to question the source of such reports for the safety of you and your family.
Why Nobody Really Needs a Flu Shot
Flu shots are loaded with neurotoxic substances like mercury and aluminum. I find it almost incomprehensible that thimerosal, the well-documented, toxic preservative that also contains mercury, is still in most flu vaccines--years after federal agencies have mandated that it be removed.
Therefore, before you even consider vaccinating yourself or your family, I suggest you seriously evaluate the risks and side effects of the flu vaccine.
In most people the flu shot does not prevent illness, but actually does just the opposite--it weakens your immune system and makes you more predisposed to the illness. And the significant number of deaths associated with the flu are outrageously exaggerated! In fact, one critic determined to expose the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and vaccine manufacturers for falsely instilling fear in people, has found the truth behind the "statistics." According to the CDC's most recent death statistics located on their Web site, influenza and pneumonia killed 62,034 people in 2001. That means, in light of the current statistic, that just over half of those deaths resulted from the flu. This however is far from true.
Upon further investigation of the Web site, the actual number of deaths caused by the flu came to 257, with pneumonia accounting for the remaining number of deaths.
I have compiled a list of seven guidelines to help you prevent and fight the flu safely and naturally. I suggest printing this list off and posting it somewhere in your home where you and your family will see it on a daily basis. By doing so, everyone in your family will be aware of the healthy alternatives and preventatives to the flu.
Dr. Mercola's Guidelines to Help You Prevent the Flu
Avoid Sugar. Sugar decreases the function of your immune system almost immediately, and as you likely know, a strong immune system is key to fighting off viruses and other illness, including the flu. It is especially imperative to avoid sugar if you feel you are coming down with something, but keeping sugar out of your diet for the long haul will do wonders for your health and make your body stronger, which will make it harder for the flu to bother you.
Be aware that sugar is present in foods you may not suspect like ketchup and fruit juice. For all the steps to building your immune system to its peak levels, which is by far the most effective way to avoid the flu (and chronic disease), consider my Total Health Program, which presents my entire dietary and health program that took twenty years to develop and has helped tens of thousands of patients at my clinic overcome illness and disease.
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. Regular rest will keep you strong and ensure that your body has the strength to fight off any potential invaders. Be sure to check out my article Guide to a Good Night's Sleep for some great tips to help you get quality rest.
Eat Garlic Regularly. Garlic is a triple-whammy: it's antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal. Garlic is one food that you should be eating every day.
It is important to note that the garlic must be fresh to give you optimal health benefits. The active ingredient is destroyed within one hour of smashing the garlic, so garlic pills are virtually worthless and should not be used. When you use the garlic, compress it with a spoon prior to swallowing it, or put it through your juicer to add to your vegetable juice. If you swallow the clove intact you will not convert the active ingredient, allicin, to its active form.
Don't Let Stress Become Overwhelming. We all face some stress everyday, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness. It has been estimated that up to 90 percent of illness and disease is stress-related. If you feel that stress is taking a toll on your health, consider using my energy psychology tool: Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).
EFT is remarkably effective in relieving stress associated with all kinds of events, from work to family to trauma. You can check out my free, 25-page EFT manual for some guidelines on how to perform EFT. Beyond that you can try my EFT Series on DVD or VHS, which provides in-depth instruction on EFT.
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 has a chance to spread. In a sense, exercising helps your immune system to be more efficient in weeding out and acting upon viruses and diseases. You can review my exercise guidelines for some great tips to get started.
Take Krill OIL. That means stop with the junk foods, fast foods, sugary foods, processed grains and the trans-fats. It also means increase the healthy and essential fats like the omega-3 found in krill oil, the good carbohydrates like those in vegetables and the healthy proteins like those in clean, naturally raised meats (i.e., NOT the kind you typically find in grocery stores).
Wash Your Hands. Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. If your immune system is strong, it should be able to fight off the virus if it does enter your body, but washing your hands provides a bit of extra protection.
Be sure you don't use antibacterial soap for this--antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary, and they cause far more harm than good. You can read my recent article on hygiene mistakes for more information. Instead of antibacterial soap, identify a simple, toxin-free soap that you can switch your family to. Local health food stores typically carry a variety of natural soaps.
I highly recommend the simple five-step Clenzology Advanced Hygiene System, which focuses on superior cleaning of the areas of your body that are most susceptible to the flu--your hands, face, ears, nose and mouth. This hygiene kit is simple to use and only takes a matter of minutes, which makes it ideal for families with young children.
PLEASE NOTE: The facial solutions in this kit must be diluted as directed before use. If you are pregnant or have a history of thyroid problems consult a physician before using this product.