Should you get a flu shot?

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I’m not naive either. So when the massive public health push for universal flu vaccination hits every fall I ask myself: Is influenza really as scary as drug companies and public health officials claim? Does the vaccine really work? Any bad side effects? These are good questions to research yourself, instead of just taking the word of the people making money from your decision.

Answering questions honestly always requires considering both sides of an issue. The message from pharmacies, drug companies, and government health authorities that influenza is a serious disease which can be avoided by a life-saving flu vaccine is unavoidable. We’ve all heard that side of the story so let’s take a look at a couple voices from the “other” camp that you may be unaware of, especially since this camp doesn’t have the same potential for bias due to financial gain. The two voices come from the Johns Hopkins scientist Peter Doshi, Ph.D., and neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D.

Dr. Doshi made the following points in his article published May 16, 2013 by the British Medical Journal:

  • growth from 30 million to 135 million annual doses of influenza vaccine in America over the last 20 years is not based on public demand or need, but rather on aggressive public health policies that overstate the threat of influenza as well as the benefit and safety of vaccination.
  • the CDC justifies it’s pro-influenza vaccine stance based on two key studies, however, researchers who performed these studies conclude that their results are “implausible” and likely the result of the “healthy-user effect.”
  • the only randomized controlled trial of influenza vaccine found no decrease in deaths.
  • serious negative reactions such as febrile convulsions in young children and an increase in narcolepsy in adolescents can occur.
  • the terms “flu” and “influenza” are not interchangeable. Only one in six “flus” might be influenza for which the “flu vaccine” could potentially provide some protection.
  • even in a year when the vaccine matches the type of influenza prevalent (which doesn’t happen every year), randomized controlled trials of healthy adults show that vaccinating 100 people results in only one less case of influenza (one instead of two).

Dr. Blaylock adds:

  • a study by the Cochrane group looked at hundreds of thousands of people and found that the influenza vaccine provided zero benefit to the general population in the areas of secondary pneumonia, hospitalization, and death.
  • the government recommends influenza vaccination for every child over the age of 6 months despite knowing that the shot contains a dose of mercury that is toxic to the brain, and that studies show zero effectiveness in children under 5 years of age.
  • for most, flu vaccines increase the odds of getting the flu by weakening your immune system for several weeks after the shot.
  • one study showed a 10 fold increase in Alzheimer’s in people who get repeated flu vaccinations
  • it’s all about money: drug companies have a product that the government and the media help them sell and at the same time have no liability for since vaccines are protected from lawsuits.
  • bottom line: “the vast number of people who get the flu vaccine aren’t going to get any benefit, but they get all of the risks and complications.”

So what’s the best way to avoid the flu this winter? BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM!!! Only half of people infected with a flu virus get sick. Those with healthy immune systems either don’t get sick at all, or experience milder symptoms and recover quickly while acquiring natural immunity to that particular virus for the rest of their lives. Not surprisingly, building a healthy immune system comes down to lifestyle. Eat healthy, exercise, cope with stress well, and OPTIMIZE YOUR VITAMIN D LEVELS! Vitamin D helps your immune system work well and significantly decreases your chances of catching all types of flues and influenzas. Sun exposure is the best way to get vitamin D, oral supplementation with D3 (not D2) can also be helpful.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Penner