It’s that time of year again – Flu shot season. Unlike last year, big pharma and the media are not shouting from the rooftops that a pandemic is occurring… they don’t have to. Last year’s scare served it’s purpose, it softened the rules and increased the delivery system for flu vaccines. Now you don’t have to visit a doctor (who should be trained to determine whether or not a flu shot is appropriate for you) to get your flu shot, it is everywhere. You can’t walk down the street without seeing marquees saying “Flu shots are here!”, you can’t walk into Walgreens or Dominicks without being herded into the pharmacy to get your stick. You can even buy Flu shot gift cards!!!
What you don’t hear from big pharma or the media is that while these are great marketing strategies that make a ton of money for those involved – they don’t actually stop you from getting sick or getting the flu. And this isn’t me talking, and this isn’t new, breaking research, we’ve known this for a while. Take a look at some different groups and try to see who it helps:
Not babies: In a review of more than 51 studies involving more than 294,000 children it was found there was “no evidence that injecting children 6-24 months of age with a flu shotwas any more effective than placebo. In children over 2 yrs, it was only effective 33% of the time in preventing the flu. Reference: “Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy children.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2 (2008).
Not children: A study 800 children with asthma, where one half were vaccinated and the other half did not receive the influenza vaccine. The two groups were compared with respect to clinic visits, emergency department (ED) visits, and hospitalizations for asthma. CONCLUSION: This study failed to provide evidence that the influenza vaccine prevents pediatric asthma exacerbations. Reference: “Effectiveness of influenza vaccine for the prevention of asthma exacerbations.” Christly, C. et al. Arch Dis Child. 2004 Aug;89(8):734-5.
Not children again: “The inactivated flu vaccine, Flumist, does not prevent influenza-related hospitalizations in children, especially the ones with asthma…In fact, children who get the flu vaccine are more at risk for hospitalization than children who do not get the vaccine.“ Reference: The American Thoracic Society’s 105th International Conference, May 15-20, 2009, San Diego.
Not adults: In a review of 48 reports including more than 66,000 adults, “Vaccination of healthy adults only reduced risk of influenza by 6% and reduced the number of missed work days by less than one day (0.16) days. It did not change the number of people needing to go to hospital or take time off work.“ Reference: “Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy adults.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 1 (2006).
Not the Elderly: In a review of 64 studies in 98 flu seasons, For elderly living in nursing homes, flu shots were non-significant for preventing the flu. For elderly living in the community, vaccines were not (significantly) effective against influenza, ILI or pneumonia. Reference: “Vaccines for preventing influenza in the elderly.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.3 (2006).
The crazy thing is that there are safer, more effective ways to prevent the flu. For example, a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that Vitamin D supplements are more effective than vaccines for preventing the flu in children. Yet we continue to push unproven, possibly unsafe vaccines for kids!
Don’t be a wimp. You’re body has the tools and ability to fight the flu – you just have to train it to be strong. Vitamin D is one way, there are others. We are the personal trainer for your immune system. Talk to us today about what you can do to make you and your family strong!
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