Peterson 1 Luke Peterson Professor Keith Jones College Composition 30 November 2011 Flu Shot: The Truth of it The flu shot has been known to save many lives and prevent illnesses, but is the flu shot really as reliable as so many people think? Those who oppose the flu shot offer many reasons as to why its use in this day in age should be second guessed. In the United States of America, less than one-thousand-one-hundred people die from influenza each year.
However, the flu shot should not be used in modern medicine and more specifically should not be distributed at Northwestern College due to its ineffectiveness and potentially dangerous side-effects. There are two types of vaccinations for the flu. The most common form is the shot, which is injected into the patient’s shoulder. The increasingly less popular form is the nasal-spray, which is injected into the body of the patient through the nasal passage.
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The shot possesses a “killed” virus while the spray version is composed of a live virus.
Despite their compositional differences, each form is designed to cause antibodies to develop in the patient’s body which theoretically helps to protect against being infected with an influenza virus. However great an idea this is theoretically, the most obvious issue with these vaccinations is that they are only designed to be effective against three strains of the virus. Since flu viruses are ever-changing, there is no way to know whether the agencies will choose the exact strains that may infect you (Mercola page 3). In the 2003-2004 flu seasons, the effectiveness of flu vaccines was checked greatly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the flu vaccine had “no or low effectiveness” against influenza or influenza-like illness. Depending on how the data was analyzed, the vaccines protected from zero percent to fourteen percent of the study participants that year (Mercola page3). Some folks in the medical field are starting to see such patterns emerge. Many health care workers are deciding to abstain from receiving influenza vaccinations. In 2006, a study of health care workers was conducted to see what percentage actually gets vaccinated for the flu.
It showed that less than forty percent of the health care workers got flu shots. The remaining sixty-plus percent did not get vaccinated for the following reasons: They did not believe the vaccine would work, they believed their immune systems were strong enough to withstand exposure to the flu and most importantly, they were concerned about the side effects (Mercola page 2). Peterson 2 In terms of effectiveness, medical experts have greatly exaggerated the benefits of flu vaccinations, according to the British Medical Journal.
Through systematic reviews, the British Medical Journal found that the vaccines had little impact on mortality rates, time away from work, and hospital stays for healthy patients under age 65 (Mercola page 4). From the other side of the proverbial “debate table,” the CDC also recognizes that the vaccines do not work “one-hundred percent of the time. ” The ability of a flu vaccine to protect a person depends on a few things: The health and age of the person getting the vaccine and the similarity or “match” between the viruses in the vaccine and those in circulation (CDC par. 10).
The fact that flu vaccines contain the virus itself is not the only thing that turns people off from getting vaccinated. Many people are concerned about the chemicals that help compose them. The vaccines contain thimerosal (a mercury derivative), Ethylene glycol (antifreeze), Phenol (a disinfectant dye), Aluminum, Benzethonium (a preservative and disinfectant), and chick embryos. Absolutely none of these should be injected into the human body. Studies have shown that even the smallest levels of concentrations of thimerosal have induced DNA strand breaks, membrane damage, and cell death.
Most alarming of all, thimerosal has also been linked to autism, yet manufacturers continue to infuse it with the treatments (Mercola page 5). A common misconception of those who oppose flu shots is that you can get the flu from the vaccines. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is a lie. You cannot get influenza from the flu shot; however, flu vaccines have been known to cause flu-like side effects. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, side effects rom the inactivated flu shot include: Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given, low grade fever, and aches. Side effects for the live-virus may include cough with wheezing and runny nose, sore throat, headache, vomiting, muscle aches, and fever. Furthermore, these vaccines can cause severe allergic reactions (Mercola page 6). Another severe side-effect caused by flu shots, rare as it may be, is Guillain-Barre syndrome. Normally, about one person per 100,000 people per year develops GBS. In 1976, vaccination with the swine flu vaccine was associated with getting GBS.
Several studies have been done to evaluate if other flu vaccines since 1976 were associated with GBS. Only one of the studies showed an association. That study suggested that one person out of 1 million vaccinated persons may be at risk of GBS associated with the vaccine (CDC par. 13). Peterson 3 Proponents of the flu shot say that it is a necessary precaution because of the many deaths caused by influenza. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention misinform the public by not only exaggerating, but also distorting flu death statistics.
On the CDC’s main flu page, it states that 36,000 people die from the flu in the U. S. each year. They also say that five to twenty percent of the U. S. population gets the flu each year, and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications. This of course is not true. In 2005, 1,806 people died from influenza, not 36,000. The CDC’s statistics are skewed partly because they classify those dying from pneumonia as dying from the flu, which is not at all true or accurate. Their 2005 statistics lump influenza and pneumonia deaths together, at 62,804 deaths.
Of these deaths, only 1,806 were from the flu (Mercola page 7). Those in favor of the flu shot strongly recommend certain age groups to get a seasonal flu shot. According to the CDC, everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccination each year along with those who have heart disease, blood disorders, liver disorders, metabolic disorders, weakened immune system due to disease or medication, people younger than nineteen years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy, and people who are morbidly obese (CDC par. and 7). People who are at risk for developing flu-related complications are those who are younger than five, adults sixty-five years of age and older, pregnant women, people with asthma, neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions, and chronic lung conditions (CDC par. 8). With all this pressure to be vaccinated, those who oppose the vaccines bring to light an interesting question. Flu shots cost from fifteen dollars to thirty-five dollars per unit depending on where you live.
There is much to gain from encouraging everyone in the U. S. to get a flu vaccine, and much for pharmaceutical companies to lose (Mercola page 7). They question whether or not the pressure from mass media and health organizations is really for the public’s best interest, or if they are in it for unethical financial gain. For years, the public has lived unschooled about the negative effects of flu vaccinations, blindly following the direction of corrupt medical experts.
Due to its ineffectiveness and potentially dangerous side-effects, the flu shot should not be used in modern medicine and more specifically should not be distributed at Northwestern College. Instead, the public should be informed of natural, effective ways to stealthy and uninfected by influenza. “The best way to combat the flu,” Dr. Mercola says, “is eating right for your nutritional type, including avoiding sugar, getting plenty of sunshine or vitamin D, optimizing your omega-3 fats, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, addressing your emotional stress, and washing your hands regularly. ”