Should You Get the Flu Shot?
Learn the facts and then decide…
“Get Your Flu Shot Here” signs have been all over the city since late summer. It’s that time of year when we are bombarded with flu shot advertising encouraging you to get your shot. CVS and Target are offering “free” shots (no copay on your insurance).
There are many physicians who are pushing flu shots, however there are many others who believe that the flu vaccine is not a good idea for anyone. Here are some facts about the influenza virus and the vaccine so that you can make an informed decision on whether you should get the flu shot:
FACT: Did you know that influenza is not a very common illness? Just because you have flu-like symptoms does not mean you have the flu. There are over 200 viruses that cause influenza-like illness and symptoms and without a laboratory test, you cannot tell the difference.
ACTUAL percentage of the US population likely to get the flu? 3% to 11%. (This figure is the current one from the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Previously, the percentage has been given as 5% to 20%, because people with “no symptoms” were being counted. Huh?)
FACT: Flu vaccines only work against the virus strains picked as most likely to show up in any given year. The vaccines must be manufactured well in advance of the season, so no mid-flu-season adjustments can be made. Here’s the vaccine effectiveness for the past few years (according to the CDC):
- 2014-15 – 19%
- 2015-16 – 48%
- 2016-17 – 40%
- 2017-18 – 38%
- 2018-19 – 47%
FACT: You can get the flu despite being vaccinated. Here’s what the CDC says about this:
There are several reasons why someone might get flu symptoms, even after they have been vaccinated against flu.
- One reason is that some people can become ill from other respiratory viruses besides flu such as rhinoviruses, which are associated with the common cold, cause symptoms similar to flu, and also spread and cause illness during the flu season. The flu vaccine only protects against influenza, not other illnesses.
- Another explanation is that it is possible to be exposed to influenza viruses, which cause the flu, shortly before getting vaccinated or during the two-week period after vaccination that it takes the body to develop immune protection. This exposure may result in a person becoming ill with flu before protection from the vaccine takes effect.
- A third reason why some people may experience flu like symptoms despite getting vaccinated is that they may have been exposed to a flu virus that is very different from the viruses the vaccine is designed to protect against. The ability of a flu vaccine to protect a person depends largely on the similarity or “match” between the viruses selected to make the vaccine and those spreading and causing illness. There are many different flu viruses that spread and cause illness among people. For more information, see Influenza (Flu) Viruses.
- The final explanation for experiencing flu symptoms after vaccination is that the flu vaccine can vary in how well it worksand some people who get vaccinated may still get sick.
FACT: The vaccine contains toxic ingredients that are potentially or overtly dangerous to everyone, but especially to developing infants and children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. Some of the ingredients are:
- Aluminum Salts
- Mercury (preservative)
- Antibiotics (anti-contaminant)
- Chicken Egg Proteins
- MSG (as a stabilizer)
- Polysorbate 80 (emulsifier)
FACT: Flu vaccines are made from viruses that are grown in chicken eggs with embryos. If you have a severe allergic reaction to eggs getting a flu shot is very risky. So, if your baby hasn’t eaten eggs at 6 months how do you know if she is allergic to it?
FACT: Vaccination studies are not independent and unbiased. The Cochrane Collaboration caution people evaluating flu vaccine research to be aware that most research conducted on vaccines is funded by the very pharmaceutical companies who market the vaccines and make huge profits on their sales.
The Cochrane Collaboration’s long-running review of flu vaccines (2018 update) has this statement in its Main Results:
Healthy adults who receive inactivated parenteral influenza vaccine rather than no vaccine probably experience less influenza, from just over 2% to just under 1%. NOTE THE WORD “PROBABLY.”
What Should I Do?
Become educated about the flu and its risks and the vaccine and its benefits and risks and make an informed decision after consulting multiple sources of information and discussing your questions with one or more health professionals.
Getting a flu shot because “it’s just the normal thing to do” may not be your best decision.
Doing whatever your doctor recommends because he or she “knows best” should be considered with the knowledge that more than 50% of the US population has chronic illness that your doctor doesn’t understand and can’t treat. In general, medical science knows much, much less than the popular media represents.
To help your body’s immune system stave off that flu, learn how changes to your diet can give you an immune boost:
Boost Your Immune System (A diet-based way to dramatically reduce your chances of illness)
Start Now! Get Healthy!
Here is a free booklet with the story of how I developed my techniques and how those techniques work (very practical information that shows how your body works and how to start recovering your health for the rest of your life).