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My Thoughts on Flu Vaccines

student-vaccinated-small.jpegI've never voluntarily had a flu vaccine, although it might have been one of the many vaccines I received when I was in the airforce. While I'm no very pro-vaccine in the first place, I can totally understand why some people would support vaccines for diseases like smallpox, polio and other very life-threatening infections, but flu vaccines? They make no sense to me.

As I understand it, there are thousands of strains of cold and flu viruses and they mutate constantly. This is why we periodically hear all the hype about new strains of the flu, such as the Swine and Avian flu of past years. They constantly harp back to the 1918 flu epidemic, which kiled millions of people, suggesting if people don't get vaccinated, it will happen all over again.

Yet, according to the reports of some, the Spanish flu epidemic at the close of World War I was caused by vaccines. Here are a few articles that discuss this.

The Spanish Influenza Epidemic of 1918 Was Caused by Vaccinations
The 1918 Flu Epidemic was a Vaccine-Caused Disease
US Vaccines Caused Spanish Flu

Even if the above isn't true, it's been 100 years since this flu epidemic and it's still being used to scare us about how dangerout the flu is. Scare tactics about anything raise red flags in my mind.

However, laying this aside, let's talk about why I don't think flu vaccines make any sense. Any vaccine you create will only stimulate the immune system to mount a defense against the few strains that are used in the vaccines. So, each year the experts "guess" which strains will be a problem and develop a vaccine for them. So, even accepting the fact that the vaccine works, you've just protected yourself against about 2% of the possible flu viruses out there. I'm not a betting man, but those don't seem like very good odds.

In trying to tell everyone the dangers of the flu and how many people die from it, they lump everyone who dies from a secondary infection, usually pnemonia, after geting the flu. This usually happens with elderly people, whose immune systems have become compromised. But, the problem is that people who have compromised immune systems shouldn't be getting vaccinated in the first place, because a vaccine doesn't create immunity, it challenges your immune system to respond to it. If you immune system is already weakened, it may not mount an effective response and the vaccine itself will make you sick.

I think this happens a lot. One of my friends told me that when she was working in a nursing home they told her she had to get a flu shot. She refused. All the residents and staff got the shot except her. Then, they all got sick except her. She pulled a lot of overtime covering for all the sick staff while taking care of the sick residents.

Finally, colds and flu are so easy to treat if you understand how the immune system works. I just posted one of my old Herbal Hour videos entitled Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Flu. There are also other resources on this website that talk about both preventing the flu and treating it, as well. All the links can be found below.