A shot in the dark

Flu season is upon us once again. And so is the incessant drum beat from the government-industrial-medical complex, urging you to run out to your nearest clinic or pharmacy for your annual flu shot. 

During the 1918-19 Influenza Pandemic a popular nursery rhyme made the rounds:

 “There was a little girl,
Whose name was Enza
She opened a window
And in-flu-enza”

But what seems to fly out the window when it comes to the flu vaccine is clear evidence and common sense.  

For vaccine manufacturers it is another government-sponsored bonanza—and a multi-billion dollar global business. But where is the evidence (as constantly and redundantly demanded for every natural approach) that the flu vaccine actually works?

For all intents and purposes, the government has just been taking a (flu) shot in the dark when it comes to that proof.  

Now scientists at the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at University of Minnesota are reporting that flu vaccines provide only modest protection for healthy young and middle-aged adults, and little or no protection for those 65 years and older.  These older Americans are the very people who are most susceptible to the flu and most likely to suffer its complications. And are generally the best “customers” for flu shots, since they tend to be the most concerned about trying to protect themselves.

These researchers conclude that the CDC’s federal vaccination recommendations, while constantly becoming more invasive and pervasive, are based on insufficient evidence and poorly performed studies. They discovered a recurring error in flu vaccine studies that has led to exaggerations of the vaccine’s effectiveness. In fact, they discovered no less than 30 errors in the statement put forth by an “expert” panel convened to develop vaccine recommendations. And, of course, every single error in the report  happened to favor the vaccine. Which is no big surprise, considering these expert government panels are often convened just for the purpose of “rubber stamping” some inside agenda with the veneer of general acceptance. 

And the Minnesota Center is not the first to question the value of the vaccine. Back in 2010, an international review concluded that the vaccine did decrease symptoms in healthy people under 65 and saved all of one half-day of illness. 

Their review on people over 65, however, revealed that the evidence was so scanty—and of such poor quality—that no recommendation at all could be made.

They also found that the vaccine does not reduce hospital admissions, complications, or rates of transmission. And vaccinating health care workers had no effect on influenza rates or deaths in hospitals and long-term care facilities.

The Minnesota Center describes the flu vaccine as “over-promoted and overhyped.”  And, indeed, as a public health measure, the flu vaccine represents a complete failure. 

Yet conclusions like these are still considered heresy in the government-funded public health world.  The government has long been better at propaganda than at science, as we have shown when it comes to its “war on salt,” (“The Great Salt Scam” ), its shameful failures on blood pressure control (“Most dangerous health risk still ignored”), its promotion of useless—and even dangerous—“biomarkers” for early detection of cancer (“The cancer test women should avoid at all costs”).

Now, likewise, the Minnesota Center says about the flu vaccine, “It’s all a sales job; it’s all about public relations.”  It seems these government health agencies specialize in public relations efforts to keep their tax funding flowing—whether or not they offer anything of benefit for public health.

But the coercion does not stop with public relations urging everyone over 6 months of age to get a flu shot. Many businesses now provide on-site flu shots, and strongly recommend that employees get them. Many hospitals require the shot as a condition of employment (as I was forced to do at Jefferson University Hospital over several years).

And as with other government slights-of-hand, researchers are concerned that over-hyped vaccines are a diversion from doing research on more effective approaches to infectious diseases.

So what do critics of the vaccine—myself included—recommend? Wash your hands more often. With plain soap and water. There is good evidence that this actually works—which is more than anyone can say for the flu vaccine.