Looking at the “Anti-Vax” Reasoning
Let’s put the cart in front of the horse to begin with.
This piece will not question whether the scientific results in favor of influenza vaccination are correct. We assume they are.
This piece will not question whether there are any additives or preservatives to the influenza vaccination that harm the recipient. We assume they don’t.
This piece will not question whether the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide accurate statistics based on scientific methodology. We assume the CDC is up front about it’s data and limitations.
One might then ask… if we aren’t questioning the mechanics of how the influenza vaccine(s) works, do not believe preservatives in this vaccine are harmful, and concede that the CDC provides honest information regarding it’s generation of statistical information… there should be no logical questioning of the influenza vaccination program. It’s a reasonable presumption at face value… to a certain extent.
The predominant message in terms of citing the importance of influenza vaccination is 2-fold. The first is based on protecting oneself from extensive flu duration and the second one is based on the notion of “herd immunity”. The formal definition of “herd immunity” is as follows: the resistance to the spread of a contagious disease within a population that results if a sufficiently high proportion of individuals are immune to the disease, especially through vaccination. This equates to the notion that if a certain percentage of the population is not vaccinated, it opens the door for widespread propagation of the virus. According to WedMD herd immunity especially protects people who can’t get vaccinated because their immune system is weak and vaccines might make them sick. This would include babies, people with vaccine allergies, the elderly, and anyone with an immune-suppressing disease like HIV or cancer. According to the journal Preventive Medicine, the goal of 80% immunization in healthy populations and 90% immunization in high-risk people is sufficient to achieve heard immunity in the US while 75% immunization in the elderly and high risk population in Europe is insufficient.
News outlets like the New York Times have promoted the notion of herd immunity quite prominently over the years.
The way it is presented, it appears that if herd immunity is not reached in the US population, the effects of influenza could be catastrophic. So what exactly is the current rate of influenza vaccination in the US? According to the CDC flu vaccination coverage amongst adults (anybody over the age of 18) was 37.1% and 57.9% for children for the 2017-2018 season.
In 2017, the U.S. population totaled about 326 million people. This comprised of 74 million children and 252 million adults. Based on the figures provided by the CDC, this equates to 93.5 million adults as having received the flu vaccine while 158.5 million adults did not receive the flu vaccine for the 2017-2018 season. In terms of children this equates to 43 million children having received the flu vaccine while 31 million children did not receive the flu vaccine for the 2017-2018 season.
According to the CDC, there were a total of 185 child deaths attributed to the flu for the 2017-2018 season. The CDC estimates that 20% of the 185 deaths occurred in vaccinated children while 80% of the deaths were in unvaccinated children. Unfortunately, identifying the number of deaths attributed specifically to the flu for adults is not entirely precise as described by the CDC: “While flu deaths in children are reported to CDC, flu deaths in adults are not nationally notifiable. In order to monitor influenza related deaths in all age groups, CDC tracks pneumonia and influenza (P&I)-attributed deaths through the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Mortality Reporting System. This system tracks the proportion of death certificates processed that list pneumonia or influenza as the underlying or contributing cause of death. This system provides an overall indication of whether flu-associated deaths are elevated, but does not provide an exact number of how many people died from flu.”
This is a short overview of pneumonia provided by the Mayo Clinic: “Pneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. The air sacs may fill with fluid or pus (purulent material), causing cough with phlegm or pus, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing. A variety of organisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, can cause pneumonia. Pneumonia can range in seriousness from mild to life-threatening. It is most serious for infants and young children, people older than age 65, and people with health problems or weakened immune systems.”
While it seems clear that the flu can lead to the development of pneumonia, it appears that multiple other factors that can also be catalysts which adds further complexity to the statistical analysis of flu deaths in adults. On September 27, 2018, the CDC kicked off the 2018-2019 flu vaccine campaign at a press conference held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The CDC announced 80,000 deaths from the flu in the prior season (2017-2018) utilizing unpublished data as a source (it states this on the website).
According to the CDC, 70 to 90 percent of adult deaths from the flu occur in people above the age of 65. Also according to the CDC (for some perspective), the total number of deaths in the elderly in 2016 was slightly over 2 million. The leading cause of death amongst the elderly was from heart disease (507,000) followed by cancer (423,000, all types). The third most prevalent cause of death was chronic lung disease (131,000) followed by cerebrovascular diseases (121,000). Alzheimer’s (115,000) was the next prevalent form of death followed by diabetes (56,000), unintentional injuries (53,000), and the flu/pneumonia (42,000). The last two leading causes of death in the elderly were kidney disease (41,000) and sepsis (30,000).
After having taken into consideration the numbers provided by the CDC and the notion of “herd immunity” percentages necessary for effective population immunization… something seems to be missing. Herd immunity has been deemed effective once 80% of the healthy population and 90% of the high risk population are vaccinated but in 2017 only 37.1% of adults were vaccinated. This means that the U.S. adult population has effectively immunized less than half what is necessary for the “herd immunity” threshold. In addition, according to the CDC, the influenza vaccine for the 2017-2018 season had an effectiveness rate of 36%. This equates to the possibility that only 36% of the 37.1% of adults that were vaccinated (with 100% effectiveness) as having contributed to “herd immunity”. This equates to an estimated 33.6 million adults (36% x 93.5M) out of 252 million that were effectively fully vaccinated equating to an actualized 13% of effective vaccinations in adults. Even worse is the notion that if 100% of the population were to have vaccinated in the 2017-2018 season, there would only have been a 36% effectiveness rate which is far less than effective herd immunity. One would presume that since such a large percentage of the population has not received the benefits of effective vaccination (87%), that we would see a significant rise in deaths specifically attributed to the flu (which seems like quite the quantitative challenge according to the CDC).
Interestingly enough… while the notion of “herd immunity” is presented in a manner to promote vaccination in healthy adults in order to protect the immunocompromised, the CDC states that “killed or inactivated vaccines do not represent a danger to immunocompromised persons and generally should be administered as recommended for healthy persons.” Being that there are 3 types of influenza vaccines with equal effectiveness (according to the CDC), with one of them being an inactivated form, it doesn’t appear that the majority of immunocompromised people are unable to receive some form of flu vaccination each year.
Immunosenescence refers to the gradual deterioration of the immune system brought on by natural age advancement. This alludes to the notion that the elderly (>65 years) generally suffer from weakened immune systems. This is why it’s a bit perplexing as to why the CDC pushes herd immunity to protect the immunocompromised while at the same time specifically recommending the “Fluzone High-Dose” for the elderly which contains four times the antigen of standard-dose inactivated influenza vaccines. The CDC states the following in regards to the side effects of “Fluzone High-Dose”: “Some adverse events (which are also reported after regular flu vaccines) were reported more frequently after vaccination with Fluzone High-Dose than after standard-dose inactivated influenza vaccines. The most common adverse events experienced during clinical studies were mild and temporary, and included pain, redness at the injection site, headache, muscle aches, and malaise.”
There seems to be a lack of consistency in terms of the message by the CDC and the media based on the following points:
A) Herd immunity is promoted in a manner to persuade a person that might not normally get vaccinated to think about the immune system deficient people in the country that cannot receive vaccines.
B) Inactivated vaccines are cited to be safe for the vast majority of immune system deficient subjects.
C) The elderly (>65) generally tend to be the dominant populations that have immune system deficiencies.
D) The CDC specifically recommends a high dose vaccine (inactivated) specifically for the elderly in which adverse effects were reported more frequently than standard dose vaccines.
E) The largest population that is reported to die from the flu are the elderly.
According to AARP, the elderly were the most vaccinated group of people at 69% compared to 37.1% for adults (18 to 65) and 57.9% for children.
The question is… what is considered the culprit for the highest group of vaccinated people as clearly having the highest death rate?
Let us be clear… we’re not stating that the high dose vaccines recommended for the elderly by the CDC is killing them. We are asking the logical question of… what is the identifiable culprit? Can we blame a lack of herd immunity from a scientific perspective that can be truly quantitated? Is there any data that tracks the environment of the person that died in terms of localized herd immunity? Is there any data that can verify whether the people that died had any underlying conditions in the years prior to death? Is there any data that shows the age of the people that died? Can we verify whether the elderly that died were fully vaccinated or not?
It’s an unfortunate aspect of life that death is unavoidable and that the elderly are largely seen as inevitably closer to mortality than younger populations. However, in order to comprehend the importance of the influenza vaccination program, we need to know details about the deaths attributed to influenza and pneumonia. This is simply based upon rational, scientific methodological thought process.
Just for example, a 2017 case study published in the journal Internal Medicine reported 2 subjects (71 years old & 67 years old) that developed pneumonia attributed to having received flu vaccinations. Similarly a 1998 case study in Postgraduate Medical Journal reported a case of a 58 year old man developing pneumonitis following influenza vaccine. A 2009 case study in the German journal Pneumologi reported a woman that developed allergic alveolitis following influenza vaccination. A 2010 case study in the Japan based journal Nihon Kokyuki Gakkai Zasshi observed a 74 year old male developed pneumonitis caused by seasonal influenza vaccine. A 2010 case study in the journal Critical Care reported that a 38 year old pregnant woman developed life threatening adverse reactions following H1N1 vaccination. A 2010 case study in the journal Internal Medicine observed that a 57 year old man experienced acute exacerbation of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis following vaccination. Additional international case studies can be found in PubMed.com regarding severe adverse reactions following influenza vaccination.
This is not to claim that influenza vaccination is dangerous. This is merely to point out the fact that officially documented cases exist showcasing that the influenza vaccine itself can induce pneumonia and respiratory issues (especially in the elderly). Being that the study that the CDC utilizes to support it’s recommendation of administering high dose vaccinations to the elderly reported that 1323 subjects (out of 15,991) reported at least one serious adverse effect from the vaccine (8.2%), it’s possible that this translates into real-world results. It was also reported that 99 subjects out of the 15,991 discontinued the study (0.6%) owing to more serious adverse events. However, the researchers stated that none of the negative effects for the drop out population were considered to be related to vaccination. Unfortunately the study provided no details in regards to the condition of these drop out subjects.
Generally speaking, when making a scientific based assessment of the situation we would need to have many different data points in order to come up with a sound conclusion. Without the necessary data points, it’s difficult to convince the science-minded public in order to abide by the recommendations. When the general public hears that there is a significant surge of deaths from the flu/pneumonia being 80,000 in the 2017-2018 season, it can sound drastic at first glance. However, when taking into consideration the possibility that 90% of those deaths took place in people averaging 88 years old, over 70 percent were fully vaccinated, occurring in a population that retained the benefit of localized herd immunity (located in nursing home), and had pre-existing respiratory, digestive, and cardiac conditions… the perspective changes drastically.
The flip side possibility is that that 90% of those deaths took place in people averaging 65 years old, of which 0% were vaccinated, while being surrounding by unvaccinated people, all the while being completely healthy.
We’re not stating that these things all took place in the 80,000 deaths… we’re stating that the picture changes a lot based on the details… which nobody has access to. To assume that these deaths occurred due to a lack of vaccination of the individuals or a lack of herd immunity is simply an invalidated assumption at best.
In 2017, the United States Census Bureau, published a paper titled “As Population Ages, U.S. Nears Historic Increase in Deaths”. The paper outlines the fact that an aging population is propelling the U.S. to a never before seen milestone… a historic increase in the number of deaths every year.
(This graph describes the projection of age related deaths in the future.)
This is what creates the difficult conundrum when analyzing the information.
The CDC clearly states that adult deaths related to influenza are not notifiable and that the system they utilize to estimate this figure is based on “the proportion of death certificates processed that list pneumonia or influenza as the underlying or contributing cause of death”. It’s clear that the U.S. is experiencing an increase in the number of overall deaths due to an aging population. According to a 2004 review in the Lancet, the elderly have a 400% greater chance of developing pneumonia than younger populations. A 2008 multi-center study in the European Respiratory Journal observed that increased incidence and severity of pneumonia in the elderly involves the presence of multiple comorbidities (simultaneous presence of two or more chronic diseases in a patient). These are important factors to take into consideration when ingesting the annual number of deaths attributed to both the flu and pneumonia by the CDC. There is also the study showcasing serious adverse effects for 8.3% of the elderly receiving the influenza vaccination and severe effects in the 0.6 percent range in addition to the case studies (cited above) confirming influenza vaccine induced pneumonia in certain subjects.
Being that there are roughly 50 million elderly people in the U.S. with 69 percent of them having been vaccinated (34,500,000) in 2017-2018, would it be entirely outlandish to speculate on the possibility that 0.2% (69,000) of them had multiple comorbidities which led to extreme adverse effects of the high dose vaccine leading to death?
We’re not claiming this happened but based on all the data provided in this piece and the fact that there is no definitive information separating pneumonia deaths from influenza deaths we can reasonably speculate without sounding outlandish… unless a 0.2% severe negative reaction for a sub-group of the elderly is considered outlandish? Perhaps these elderly citizens were chronically ill and simply happened to develop pneumonia at the time of death leading them to become a flu death statistic? The counter narrative is that the majority of deaths were likely due to being unvaccinated and being surrounded by unvaccinated people. Unfortunately (and the CDC admits) there is no hard data to support either narrative at this point.
*Sorry but incessant media headlines do not constitute as scientifically derived data points.
Being that the number of deaths in 2016 was 2,744,248 according to the CDC and 2,003,458 of those deaths were from people above the age of 65, it equates to 73% of all deaths in the US as occurring in the elderly population. Based on the census data above, it seems possible that the percentage continues to increase in the coming years as an aging population continues to contribute to the statistic.
The question we have is without the scientific data to support the notion that increases in flu and/or pneumonia related deaths increased based on a lack of vaccination, how can we expect to increase the flu vaccination rate in adults aged 18 to 65? It’s an unfortunate part of the life cycle that humans die but to attempt to mold the actions of the relatively healthy masses by focusing on an extremely small percentage of the immunocomprised population seems a bit silly.
The problem that we see is that there is a disconnect between the scientific data of vaccination programs, the media, and reality. Based on doing a basic search of headlines the past couple of decades, the CDC seems actively involved in generating hyperbolic headlines in the media. We suppose this is part of what the CDC departments of media relations, public relations, and marketing divisions had in mind in order to raise vaccine awareness. We feel that this is possibly one of the key reasons as to why there is such a low vaccination rate amongst adults in the US. It reminds us of the childhood story titled, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”.
If a pandemic is presented as a possibility due to a lack of vaccinations… the public must see and feel a pandemic when vaccination rates go down. If year, over year a pandemic is promised and no pandemic arises… people will begin to distrust the promoters of the message. This is regardless of “gold standard, peer-reviewed studies” involving trillions of subjects and zillions of scientists. The following are a series of headlines dating back to 2003 in which the media has either quoted the CDC directly or generated hyperbolic titles on their own:
(2003 Headline from CNN)
(2004 Headline from FOX)
(2005 Headline from NBC)
(2006 Headline from NBC)
(2007 Headline from FOX)
(2008 Headline from NY Times)
(2009 Headline from NPR)
(2010 Headline from CNN)
(2011 Headline from CNN)
(2012 Headline from the New Yorker)
(2013 Headline from Reuters)
(2014 Headline from Washington Post)
(2014 Headline from NBC)
(2015 Headline from Global News)
(2016 Headline from NBC)
(2017 Headline from NY Times)
(2017 Headline from Business Insider)
(2018 Headline from the Washington Post)
(2018 Headline from CNN)
(2019 Headline from the Boston Globe)
(2019 Headline from the LA Times)
(2019 Headline from Salon)
We must admit… when taking in all the “doom porn” headlines over the past 16 years it almost gets to the point of feeling purely satirical in nature. The problem with using hyperbolic terms to push narratives claimed to be steeped in scientific results is that if they do not match the results purported by “experts”, inherent trust is lost. The fact of the matter is that according to the CDC itself, nearly 190 million people in the U.S. are not vaccinated annually for the flu and there has yet to be a pandemic of deaths in any form from this lack of vaccination. While the World Health Organization (WHO) can produce nonsensical headlines (via NBC) of an estimated 7 or 81 million global flu deaths or more in years past, it creates an inflated number that the public attributes to true pandemic levels. Scientific results are accepted and respected when they coincide with reality and replication. Somehow there is a distinct break from the scientific results and projections presented by the CDC and reality. While the 80,000 projected deaths from pneumonia and the flu might be a significant figure to the CDC, based on their inability to quantify the figure makes it less important for the statistically inclined.
In a 2012 article from the CBC (Canadian broadcast corporation), multiple researchers would chime in regarding the predictive models of flu deaths. The director of the infection prevention and control unit at the University Health Network in Toronto, Dr. Michael Gardam stated, “This is a scientific guess. This is not the truth. I think people may have the misconception that every person who dies from the flu is somehow counted somewhere, and they’re not. They’re tossing it into a big computer and they’re churning out estimates. As an upper limit, they are looking at everybody who died of a heart and lung problem. You could imagine this could include people who died of a heart attack that had nothing to do with flu, but the feeling is that anybody who died of flu should be captured in there, plus a lot of other people. That is going to include obviously people who died specifically of those, but it might miss people who died of influenza but who didn’t get tested, for example.”
In addition, Dr. Tom Jefferson, a Rome-based researcher with the Cochrane Collaboration, who spends his days reviewing all the research on acute respiratory infections and vaccines stated the following regarding predictive computer models for flu deaths: “I don’t think they’re reliable at all. Give me a model and I will make it say whatever you want. The only mortality estimates which have any credibility are those based on post mortem examinations and tests which were done before death. There are no real figures on deaths from influenza. They don’t collect that information. So if they don’t collect that information, how do they know it’s a threat? And if they don’t collect that information, how do they know that their policies will work? This is called faith-based medicine, not evidence-based medicine. The predictive models of 2009 of influenza have actually been a complete failure. Ranges like 2,000 to 4,000 or even 8,000 influenza-related deaths a year are thrown around each flu season, and policy decisions and flu shot campaigns are based on these numbers. I think it is important for us to remember that these numbers are estimates and certainly not written in stone. These numbers vary a great deal depending on which research paper you read. Influenza prevention has become an industry fueled by poor science and propelled by conflicted decision makers. This is the significance of the upward creep that you have been witnessing and the chasm that now exists between policy makers and evidence. Scaring people justifies evidence-free policies. Yes, no one knows exactly what the threat is. The only certainty are the returns for industry.”
Researcher for the Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Tiffany Smith wrote a thesis paper titled, “Applying Current Methods for Estimating Influenza Burden to an Academic Health Sciences Centre”. From the CBC article:
‘Using data from three Ottawa hospitals over seven flu seasons, Tiffany Smith did two things. First, she counted the patients who died from flu, according to a doctor’s diagnosis. Then, using one of the official flu modelling methods, she ran a computer model to see how close the actual body count matched the statistical estimates. Her result? The statistical model predicted eight times as many deaths from flu as there were actual clinical cases.’ The conclusion of her thesis was as follows: “In conclusion I have found evidence to suggest that point estimates of influenza burden generated using statistical models may not be reliable and that more research is required to understand the limitations of this methodology. I also conclude that when examining the impact of influenza epidemics at the single hospital level populations more closely linked to the disease are required to detect the impact.”
We understand that this is the thesis of one researcher so it has to be compared and hopefully debated with the conclusions of other researchers. However, the fact that the CDC openly kicks of the flu season campaign with press conferences, utilizes hyperbolic fear tactic headlines to motivate vaccination, and clearly states that they do not measure influenza deaths directly… the projected figures by the CDC for flu death rates is completely up in the air. Nonetheless even if given the entire benefit of the doubt, the 80,000 number of deaths from the flu seems like a miniscule figure when taking in the entire US population (0.02% death rate = 99.98% survival rate) as well as the failed promised of “epidemics” and “pandemics” year over year. We stated at the beginning of this piece that we would not question the CDC numbers… which we aren’t. We are discussing the potential factors associated with the estimated numbers based on information provided by the CDC itself.
One of the overlooked aspects of entities pushing the “science” of the flu vaccine is that regular people observe the world with their five senses. The general public doesn’t waste time reading through PubMed in an attempt to decipher the “science” of vaccines. It is considered “normal” for most regular people to suffer from a modest illness as well as see others suffer from modest illness sporadically throughout the year. We all know people who have not gotten vaccinated for many years yet suffer no debilitating flu symptoms. We also know people who have gotten fully vaccinated and suffer extreme flu symptoms within the same year. In most cases, there is a mix of people who vaccinate and don’t vaccinate generally experiencing similar results. In essence, the importance of the flu vaccine seems inconsistent at best… and completely unimportant at worst. This brings us back to the hyperbole of the media… promise a pandemic and if reality doesn’t match the misery developed in the mind, people will ultimately tune out of the message. Based on statistics provided by the CDC, the average American has a 99.98% chance of not dying from the flu and a 99.8% chance of not being hospitalized from the flu. If we are to factor in only the unvaccinated population as contributing to all deaths and all hospitalizations for the flu, the unvaccinated have a 99.96% chance of not dying and a 99.6% chance of not being hospitalized from the flu. These statistics are framed very different than the media headlines generated purposely by the CDC:
Just to be clear, we’re not claiming that the CDC is “evil” or there is some “conspiracy” taking place. It’s just seems rather clear that there is an agenda within the organization to promote influenza vaccination and the CDC seems to believe that utilizing messages of fear mongering and shaming are the best methods to accomplish this. This is why it’s a bit difficult to take seriously the increasing propaganda pushing flu vaccination for the “good of others”. The US is obviously nowhere near the level needed for herd immunity in adults (13% reality with 80% goal) and being that the flu contributes so little to premature mortality below the age of 65, it’s become an unimportant aspect of life for many. While the social media battle rages between “pro-vaccine” people vs “anti-vaccine people”… we’ve noticed that many people are not polarized regarding the subject and merely forget to get the flu vaccine. Once a person goes a couple years without getting the flu vaccine without any detrimental effects… it makes little logical sense for them to go back to receiving an injection that made little difference in their sense of wellness. When these people see statistics of having a less than 0.5% chance of hospitalization or death from the flu, they are likely to be less willing to accept a vaccine that has more than a 0.6% (or more) chance of inducing a negative reaction of any sorts.
We understand the power of the media and the method in which beliefs are created within the human brain. Strong emotion (fear & shame) and repetition (mass distribution of a message on TV, radio, print, digital media) are powerful tools to program the brain and build neural pathways that become part of the default mode network. Once a thought becomes a physical part of the default mode network it becomes a part of a person’s belief system and identity. This means that regardless of the statistics provided in this piece (by the CDC itself), it will have little effect on most people who believe vaccines are necessary for optimal health. They will continue to cite the same exact talking points “don’t be selfish”, “science says vaccinate”, “are you saying vaccines are a conspiracy?” with little regard for statistics or real life results.
While the “science” might say that vaccination helps prevent disease in some form, for a person that hasn’t had a vaccination in 20 years and knows a dozen people that have done the same… not because we are anti-vax but more so because we are lazy, it’s a difficult case to make for us to start vaccinating ourselves. This is not to say that none of us have ever gotten symptoms of the flu or anything of that sort. It’s just that we’re comfortable as these things being a part of natural life on earth and unfortunately the hyperbolic media generated by the CDC doesn’t do any favors for the average person that can look at the statistics objectively.
Most importantly is simply an inconsistency in terms of the effects of getting a flu vaccine and remaining healthy throughout the year.
From our perspective, drinking too much alcohol, eating low quality food, foregoing sunlight, being chronically stressed out, and foregoing sleep are much stronger barometers in regards to our overall health and ability to maintain a healthy immune system.
By contrast, we have seen people who have suffered from symptoms virtually identical to the flu after having received the flu vaccine. This is not entirely surprising being that the “side effects” listed on CDC website are as follows: (inactivated vaccine) cough, fever, aches, itchy eyes, fatigue & (activated vaccine) chills, sore throat, tiredness/weakness, nasal congestion, headache. In addition, both the inactivated and activated forms of the flu vaccine state the disclaimer: Any medication can cause a severe allergic reaction. Such reactions from a vaccine are very rare, estimated at about 1 in a million doses, and would happen within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination. As with any medicine, there is a very small chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death.
This is all quite amusing being that the CDC lists the symptoms of the flu as: cough, fever, aches, fatigue, tiredness, soar throat, and vomit/diarrhea in children. Many rational people reason that there is the possibility to not experience any negative symptoms or illness if they do not vaccinate in a given year while at best minor negative side effects are virtually guaranteed from vaccination with no guarantee of flu prevention or more serious side effects. When the CDC openly states a projected rate of effectiveness of 36% for flu vaccines, it hardly motivates the average person to risk feeling “flu-like” symptoms even for a couple of hours following vaccination.
In regards to other vaccines such as the measles, a 2011 case study published in Science observed that fully vaccinated adults can pass on measles to other fully vaccinated adults. This is in the face of the CDC citing a 97% rate of effectiveness in terms of immunization once a person is fully vaccinated. While this might be correct for all intent and purposes, the disconnect with the flu vaccine projections and results makes it easier to question the results of other vaccines as well.
It’s akin to buying car insurance, getting in an accident, and getting nothing but another insurance bill for the hassle. Humans are used to buying into something and reaping the rewards of doing so. If a fully vaccinated person can pass on measles to 4 other people… 2 which were also fully vaccinated and 2 which weren’t vaccinated at all, one might begin to ask the question… what difference does any of this make? One can cite 10 studies, 100 studies, 1000 studies involving 10,000 people and still… if reality provides information that contradicts the scientific data, reality essentially overrides the importance of the “studies”. It’s just that simple for any rational human that has confidence in their own judgment and intuition.
It is simply illogical to potentially put oneself in harms way no matter how low the risk when the reward is highly questionable. While it’s clear that that majority of people who receive vaccinations do not die or suffer from severe debilitating reactions being that over 136 million people receive the flu vaccine without mass death… people simply begin to question the benefits.
The health benefits of a good night sleep is obvious to a person.
The health benefits of a customized, well balanced diet is obvious to a person.
The health benefits of regular exercise is obvious to a person.
They’re obvious because the person physically and emotionally feels the benefits.
However, when it comes to the flu vaccine, there are no positive physical benefits a person can feel and attribute to the injection. The only benefit that the person retains is based on what the expert scientists are stating to them. However, when they look at the statistics of how many people are not vaccinated and how few people actually die from not being vaccinated, they must in a sense rely on faith to produce the benefits. It is faith that experts in the field are accurate and know what they’re talking about.
This scenario of expert recommendation reminds me of the industry of sports gambling where it’s very simple as to who are the experts. It’s the people who can consistently project the future outcome of events at a significantly higher percentage than the rest of the pack. It doesn’t matter how they come up with their conclusions because the end results speak for themselves. In the case of vaccines, the CDC is promoting nothing short of pandemonium without annual flu vaccines reaching “herd immunity”. Unfortunately, year after year these experts tout the same lines and they continue to be incorrect. If this were sports gambling, nobody would pay them any attention after the first year as it’s clear they were loud and incorrect. All the public is asking for is experts that are “on the money” in their projections, predictions, and proposals. The public is tired of “faith in science” as the letdowns continue to compile and fear/shame tactics continue perpetuation.
Just to be clear… we are not stating that nobody should receive a flu vaccine or any vaccine for that matter. We are merely pointing out that it’s difficult to take the propaganda of the CDC seriously when they’ve consistently been incorrect in their predictions of “pandemics”. If the “science” is that good… they should be on the money in terms of the predictions and narrative. Unfortunately their track record speaks for themselves and people have simply tuned out. In fact, in 2010 there was significant pushback against the World Health Organization (WHO) from industry insiders regarding the propaganda for the H1N1 virus (swine flu) claiming significant conflicts of interest. It’s not 1984 anymore CDC… people are a bit more aware of propaganda and nonsensical claims… at least some of us are.
The CDC consistently cites the following line: “Getting vaccinated each year provides the best protection against flu throughout flu season.”
The problem we see with this message as a communicator with a background in marketing is that it doesn’t present a proper perspective of immune system function. While it doesn’t implicitly state that a person can live a haphazard lifestyle and still experience a flu-free existence from merely getting a flu shot, it negates the data that unequivocally points to lifestyle choices having a profound effect on immune system function. This could be by design as the marketing team within the CDC seems to want to promote a message of absolute DOOM should any person regardless of lifestyle not receive their annual flu vaccination. The message that we take away from their marking campaign is… if you are healthy, you need to vaccinate to help the unhealthy and if you’re unhealthy, you might need a stronger dose to keep you from dying.
Nevertheless, lets look at the factors that keep 99.98% of the average U.S. human from dying from influenza ever year.
A 2017 review in the journal Microbes and Infection cites multiple studies observing the effects of various antioxidants (N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), Glutathione, Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), Quercetin, Kolaviron, Bakuchiol) on influenza virus replication. The researchers concluded that antioxidants are one of the effective strategies against influenza virus infection. A 2016 review in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary Medicine would also do an extensive review of many herbs, extracts, vitamins, and minerals that combat respiratory viruses.
One of the NAC studies observed effectively inhibiting virus replication and expression of cells infected with the influenza virus. This is intriguing based on the fact that NAC is a precursor to the endogenously produced antioxidant glutathione.
A 2003 in vitro and mouse study published in Free Radical Biology & Medicine observed that glutathione has an anti-influenza activity in vitro and in vivo. The researchers conclude that oxidative stress or other conditions that deplete glutathione in the epithelium of the oral, nasal, and upper airway may, therefore, enhance susceptibility to influenza infection.
A 2003 in vitro study in the journal FASEB observed that glutathione contributes to the host cell’s ability to down-regulate influenza virus replication.
A 1999 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics would test the effectiveness of vitamin C in preventing and relieving the symptoms of virus-induced respiratory infections. The study included 463 subjects from 18 to 32 years for the control group and 252 subjects from 18 to 30 years for the experimental group. The control group would be treated with pain relievers and decongestants while the experimental group was treated with hourly doses of 1000 mg of Vitamin C for the first 6 hours and then 3 times daily thereafter. Overall, reported flu and cold symptoms in the test group decreased 85% compared with the control group after the administration of megadose Vitamin C.
These are interesting results regarding Vitamin C but one must remember that while the study cited megadose at 9 grams, intravenous (IV) delivered vitamin C can reach levels upwards of 100 grams. These levels greatly exceed the recommended daily allowance (RDA) by the NIH of 90 mg. Perspective and dosage is everything especially when looking at antioxidant therapy. The CDC cites a 2014 study in which the antioxidants lycopene and Vitamin C were inversely correlated with all-cause mortality in adults with obstructive lung function. One must also remember that high quality food sources are also sources of antioxidants.
There are numerous other antioxidant studies regarding pneumonia and lung inflammation that point to the unequivocal benefits of megadose antioxidant therapy in suppressing the severity, duration, and mortality of the conditions but you’ll have to dig those up yourself.
According to the CDC, 33% of all adults do not receive adequate amounts of sleep which is linked to many chronic diseases and conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. The CDC also cites the importance of sleep on immune system function stating: “Sleep loss is also related to a higher risk for infection. Restricting sleep to 4 hours per night for 6 days, followed by sleep for 12 hours per night for 7 days, resulted in a greater than 50% decrease in production of antibodies to influenza vaccination, in comparison with subjects who had regular sleep hours”.
A 1989 mouse study in the journal Regional Immunology observed the suppression of immunity to influenza virus infection in the respiratory tract following sleep disturbance.
A 2017 human study in the PLOS One observed that sleep deprivation significantly decreased systemic levels of endogenous glutathione levels coinciding with epigenetic changes.
A 2012 rat study in the Annals of Neurosciences observed a decrease in glutathione levels of measured brain regions following REM sleep deprivation.
While melatonin levels surge at night during sleep, there are no human studies regarding the effects of melatonin on the influenza virus. However, being that it seems clear that glutathione plays a key role for the immune system in combating virus replication and damage, it’s important to note a 2011 study in the International Journal of Cell Biology that observed the upregulation of glutathione levels based on melatonin.
A 2015 write-up by Dr. Gerry Schwalfenberg outlined his clinical based perspective on the efficacy of standard antiviral medications (neuraminidase inhibitors) compared to megadose Vitamin D3 supplementation for influenza infection. Schwalfenberg cites the lack of effectiveness and negative side effects of the standard medications as a potential reason for discontinuation. By contrast he cites literature indicating a correlation between suppressed Vitamin D levels and influenza seasonality. Dr. Schwalfenberg cites his protocol for influenza patients as “the vitamin D hammer”, comprised of a 1-time 50,000 IU dose of vitamin D3 or 10,000 IU 3 times daily for 2 to 3 days. He states that the results are dramatic, with complete resolution of symptoms in 48 to 72 hours. In this write-up Schwalfenberg also cites the following important finding: “The Institute of Medicine recommendation for adults younger than 70 years of age is 600 IU of vitamin D daily. We are told that this would achieve a level of 50 nmol/L in greater than 97.5% of individuals. Regrettably, a statistical error has resulted in erroneous recommendations by the Institute of Medicine leading to this conclusion and it might actually take 8800 IU of vitamin D to achieve this level in 97.5% of the population. This is a serious public health blunder.”
Schwalfenberg claims that him and his colleagues focus on maintaining greater than 100 nmol/L for their patients (compared to 50 nmol/L) with noticeable success. Perhaps other clinicians can contact him to discuss the details and implement the cheap and potentially effective “megadose” Vitamin D3 treatment for influenza. For products with very low toxicity and low price points, it affords the opportunity for clinicians to conduct their own case study trials. Dr. Schwalfenberg is located in Alberta, Canada and his phone number is (780)-484-1433 and his e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
We believe that it’s safe to say that if one had to make a choice of receiving a flu vaccine or optimizing one’s sleep quality, Vitamin D and antioxidant levels… the choice should be the latter. However, if we were in charge of the CDC’s marketing campaign, we would acknowledge the plethora of data indicating that a robust immune system should be the primary foundation for combatting the flu while the vaccine can add the supplementary protection to avoid the flu altogether.
The marketing messages of guilt and doom are outdated marketing techniques that only work on the willfully unaware in 2019 and beyond.
As to whether the flu vaccine is actually worth getting. From our perspective… they would be better off lying and telling the public that effectiveness is in the 90+ percentile range instead of the 30 and 40 percentage range. The public expects experts with white lab coats to be smart enough to develop high quality products. Nobody would buy a cellular phone that works 30 to 40 percent of time. Hell… nobody would even want a free cell phone that works 30 to 40 percent of the time. In fact, our local grocery store, Safeway is running a promotion for the flu vaccine in which a person will receive 10% off their grocery purchase for getting a free vaccination. Unfortunately, at an effectiveness rate estimated between 30 and 40 percent, we’re going to need a 30 to 40 percent discount on our groceries as well…
We must say that coming from a background in marketing, the campaign behind the flu vaccine is tremendous. We can only imagine the type of impact a similar campaign would do for the endogenous DMT discussion. We cannot remember the time we’ve seen such strong, comprehensive activation across all platforms from digital, to local print, to national print, to national television, to local television, to in-store material, to consistent media coverage, and even billboards for such an extensive period of time. There appears to be an extremely large marketing budget for this every year. It’s a bit difficult to decipher exactly how much is spent specifically on flu vaccine marketing based on past balance sheets but based on comparing it to sports marketing events… we definitely believe the cumulative marketing campaign (paid and unpaid) for the flu easily exceeds $1 billion dollars annually. For those of you interested in the planning behind these marketing campaigns, here is an outline from the 2011-2012 flu season.
Too bad for the CDC that even with this huge war chest of propaganda… they’re “selling” such a seemingly inconsequential product for free that nobody cares.
*In this piece we didn’t even begin to touch upon some strange discrepancies in regards to the polio narrative as well as the weird vaccination schedule of young children. In regards to the hardcore “anti-vaxers” out there… it’s completely possible that people have suffered significant pain and suffering from vaccines simply based on percentages. Based on the mass exposure to vaccinations, even a 1% rate of severe harm can equate to 1 million humans who have been directly effected. These 1 million people have 2 parents, 4 grandparents, distant family, and friends that are effected by this which can seem like a huge upswelling especially online. The disconcerting part is that many passionate pro-vaccine people deny that anything severely detrimental could ever occur from any vaccinations… we suppose the propaganda has skewed their most basic logic.
(According to the HRSA’s National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program over $4 billion dollars has been paid out to date for vaccine related injuries and deaths. Could this be false?)
Some weirdos might even make the outlandish claim that the 190 million unvaccinated people might be spread out across the country allowing them to avoid getting sick and contaminating others. As outlandish as we believe this to be, we can take a more specific example of the break in reality and use New York City as an example. There are roughly 8.6 million people living in NYC with only 44% of them getting flu vaccines in 2017. This means that in a crowded metropolis like NYC over 4.5 million adults are walking around freely without being vaccinated (nothing close to herd immunity). Anyone that has visited or lived in NYC can attest that there is simply no way to avoid contact with other humans. However, in the face of all the data and all the studies presented by the CDC, there still is nothing close to an epidemic in this major metropolitan area. According to the CDC, in 2016 there were a total of 4,513 deaths related to pneumonia and the flu in NYC. This equates to 0.05% of the population being severely effected by the flu with potentially 90% of those people who died being above the age of 65. Looking at the inverse… 99.95% of New Yorkers survived the flu season with nothing close to herd immunity.