Archive for Influenza
IDDM 3 Years After Hemophilus Influenza B (HiB) Immunization
This is an example of one of those article that proves that immunizations are not always (and actually, rarely) benign. Studies like this are scattered throughout the medical literature and can sometimes be difficult to track down. But they are there. These findings need to be disclose to EVERY parent before their child is vaccinated. Let the parent make a decision with true informed consent. I believe we would start seeing lowered rates of immunizations if parents really knew these immunizations had the potential for serious adverse side effects.
Taylor & Francis Group – Article
Expansion of Eligibility for Influenza Vaccine for Children’s Program
I’m sorry, but the arrogance of medicine never ceases to amaze me. For the entire history of man, our immune systems, with complexity and wisdom modern science can only dream about, have dealt with countless assaults by viruses, bacteria and foreign chemicals. But now we feel that this is not good enough–we have to immunize everyone whether they are at “risk” or not. Thank you…I feel much better having vented…
Notice to Readers: Expansion of Eligibility for Influenza Vaccine Through the Vaccines for Children Program.
Reduced Progression of Atherosclerosis with Antibiotic Treatment & C. pneumoniae Seropositivity
The research that supports the role of infectious organsims in cardiovascular disease is building, and now we’re seeing the next step…treatment of the condition leads to reduction in the progression of the condition. My only thought…instead of antibiotics I would wonder if certain lifestyle changes designed to improve cardiovascular health may not exert a portion of their effects via supporting the immune system.
Circulation — Abstracts: Sander et al. 106 (19): 2428
It’s flu season Again. Time to run out and get your flu vaccine 2012-13 version before you too become infected. Everyone’s doing it, but does it work?
As a result of the near universal recommendation from your physician and the seemingly endless barrage of advertisements on the radio, TV and print media, you decide that the influenza vaccination must be effective.
As you reach for the car keys to run to your nearest drug store for your life saving vaccination, thoughts run through your head of smoking promotion for health (yes–for many years we denied the evidence that smoking was harmful), ineffective and even dangerous hormone replacement therapy for women and the marketing ploy that suggests that milk does a body good.
Is marketing and scare tactics running cover for an ineffective flu vaccine?
In case you haven’t been convinced by the evidence I have presented in previous blog posts that can be found here, you may want to pay attention here.
This particular report commissioned by the Federal Government at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy is described as one of the largest ever reviews of the influenza vaccination and the politics, recommendations and effectiveness surrounding it. I will not go into the specific details (they are available in the report), but just take my word for it that the undertaking was nothing short of massive.
The findings of the committee may be a little surprising to some. The committee looked at the evidence for both types of vaccines in use. The trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) uses a dead virus, while the live-attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV-aka Flumist) uses a weakened, but still alive, virus. The TIV is given via injection while the LAIV is given as an intra-nasal injection. Since the LAIV is still alive, it has the potential to cause the flu in those with weakened immune systems.
With this in mind, here is what the committee found for TIV:
Moderate protection (about 59%) for healthy adults 18 to 64 years of age.
Inconsistent evidence of protection in children age 2 to 17 years.
Almost no evidence for protection in adults 65 years of age and older
For LAIV, the results weren’t too much better:
High protection (about 83%) for young children 6 months to 7 years of age.
Inconsistent evidence of protection in adults 60 years of age and older.
No evidence for protection in individuals between 8 and 59 years of age.
The bottom line needs to be summed up in a short list:
The greatest risk of influenza complications occur in the elderly. That means that there is very little evidence that either vaccine works in the group we really need it to work in (Tweet this).
Healthy adults showed strong evidence ONLY for TIV, but, in general, this group is the least likely to suffer complications.
The only group that showed high protection was 6 months to 7 years, but LAIV is only licensed here in the US from 2 years on.
Despite the strong push to vaccinate our children despite the weak evidence, few pediatricians will share the evidence on probiotics, vitamin D or green tea on lowering the risk of upper respiratory tract infections in children, all of which I have reviewed in previous blog posts that can be read here.
Overall, does this sound like the evidence is there to back up the massive push our country makes every single year for influence vaccination?
Inactivated Intranasal Flu Vaccine and Risk of Bell’s Palsy
For those of you unfamiliar with Bell’s Palsy, it is paralysis of the facial nerve which results in one half of the face drooping. This damage can be permanent in some instances. Usually takes several months to resolve. Here we have a vaccine for the flu–which, unless you are immunocomprimised in some way I cannot see the rationale for getting–gives you a 19 times greater risk of developing Bell’s Palsy.
For those of you really interested, I have included a piece done prior to release of the vaccine, when the manufacturer was aware of an increased risk of Bell’s Palsy but downplayed the risk to the FDA. Some much for government agencies protecting the public…
NEJM — Use of the Inactivated Intranasal Influenza Vaccine and the Risk of Bell’s Palsy in Switzerland.
Update: West Nile Virus Activity — United States, 2005
It’s a wonder we don’t all lock ourselves in our houses, seal up every little crack, and cower in the corner for fear of contracting ebola, west nile, influenza, necretizing fascitis or some other “disease of the day” condiiton. The fear given to the spread of West Nile was considerable, and, in truth, people have died from West Nile. But 83? How much effort and money was spent towards “educating” people about West Nile? Compare that to the amount of money spent on educating the public about refined carbs, which can lead to insulin resistance and kills hundreds of thousands per year. In case you can’t find any data on how much money is spent on refined carbs, I’m pretty sure it’s not much more that $10 collectively across the US.
Influenza-Associated Deaths Reported Among Children Aged <18 Years — United States, 2003–04 Influenza Season
With all the hype going around I thought I should include this one. 42 reported deaths. 40% had underlying chronic medical conditions and the main cause of death the the flu is a secondary bacterial infection. The media has really made it sound like the planet will be wiped out within 3 months. I’m still waiting for the global devastation predicted from the flesh eating bacteria a decade or so ago. Bottom line–unfortunately, a few die from the flu every year. These numbers can’t even be compared to the numbers who die from only one class of drugs (NSAIDs) in ONE DAY!!! And yet the media is hardly tripping over themselves to report that medication related deaths have been ranked close to the 3rd or 4th leading cause of death in the US. Keep your immune systems healthy and don’t even consider the vaccination. Ironically (and I don’t easily subscribed to conspiracy theories…), the Flumist vaccine majorly flopped this year, selling only a small percentage of what the manufacturer expected. However, with the hype of the flu and the “shortage” of the vaccine I have been hearing commercials for Flumist. This wouldn’t be the first time a pharmaceutical company created a market for itself (aka Celebrex…).
Update: Influenza-Associated Deaths Reported Among Children Aged <18 Years — United States, 2003–04 Influenza Season -
Are US flu death figures more PR than science?
And, for those of you who believes the fear-mongering, this article is a must read. In 2001, the CDC announced some 62,000 deaths attributed to influenza and pneumonia (which they conveniently lump together). Unfortunately, according to the CDC’s own number, the actual confirmed deaths from the flu we a little less–18. How’s that for hype? How about a little effort towards boosting immunity so those with the flu do not progress to something more severe? Avoiding refined carbs, exercise, more vitamin C, D and A, etc… would give us a heck of alot more bang for our buck than flu shots.
Experts question wisdom of stockpiling oseltamivir
Tamiflu is the latest prescription medicine that is supposed to fight off the flu. The problem is that the effects are weak at best. But, with the fear-mongering we are exposed to every “flu season,” anything that might help with the flu can be a major money-maker. Many governments are looking to stockpile large amounts of Tamiflu to help fight off any “epidemic.”
Parent Opinions about Universal Influenza Vaccination for Infants, Toddlers
It always seems interesting. Across the board, every survey ever looking at vaccination that I have come across shows more educated parents having lower rates of vaccination. Now why do you think that is?