Should You Get the Flu Vaccine?

of the Vaccines Field for the Cochrane Collaborative, has pointed out that very few studies have been conducted concerning the safety of the vaccine, a somewhat disturbing idea considering the widespread use of the flu vaccine 

When the Flu Shot Doesn’t Do Its Job

The following list of reasons is provided by the Center for Disease Control as the 4 main reasons that individuals develop flu-like symptoms after obtaining a flu shot:

1. People may be exposed to an influenza virus shortly before getting vaccinated or during the two-week period that it takes the body to gain protection after getting vaccinated. This exposure may result in a person becoming ill with flu before the vaccine begins to protect them.

2. People may become ill from other (non-flu) viruses that circulate during the flu season, which can also cause flu-like symptoms (such as rhinovirus).

3. A person may be exposed to an influenza virus that is not included in the seasonal flu vaccine. There are many different influenza viruses that circulate every year. The flu shot protects against the 3 viruses that research suggests will be most common.

4. Unfortunately, some people can get infected with an influenza vaccine virus despite getting vaccinated. Protection provided by influenza vaccination can vary widely, based in part on health and age factors of the person getting vaccinated. In general, the flu vaccine works best among young healthy adults and older children. Some older people and people with certain chronic illnesses may develop less immunity after vaccination. However, even among people who tend to respond less well to vaccination, the flu vaccine can still help prevent influenza. Vaccination is particularly important for people at high risk of serious flu-related complications and for close contacts of high-risk people

Who Shouldn’t Get Vaccinated

The CDC recommends individuals with any of the following 5 issues to speak with their doctor before getting s flu shot:

1. People with Egg Allergies. As stated above, the flu vaccine is harvested using chicken eggs, so individuals with an egg allergy cannot be vaccinated unless administered under careful conditions by a qualified physician.

2. Individuals with Previous Negative Reactions. Individuals who have reacted negatively to previous flu vaccinations should proceed with caution and consult their physician to avoid a reoccurrence.

3. People with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS). GBS is a rare-yet-severe disorder where a person’s immune system attacks their nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and possible paralysis. Between 3,000 and 6,000 individuals develop GBS each year in the United States; the disorder usually goes away after a few weeks. In very rare cases, individuals may develop Guillain-Barré Syndrome several days after receiving a flu shot.

4. Anyone with a Fever at the Time of Vaccination. Doctors and nurses have an obligation not to administer flu vaccinations to individuals who are already sick and have a fever.

5. Children 6 Months or YoungerVery young children have especially weak immune defenses, so they are not permitted to obtain a flu shot of any form (nasally or injected).

Alternatives to the Flu Shot

  • Flu Medications:  Either over-the-counter or prescription antiviral medications can be used within the first few days of experiencing flu symptoms
  • Exercise (Especially Aerobics):  Boosts immune system and decreases chance of developing illness
  • Sleep:  Get six to eight hours a day for optimum results
  • Healthy DietNutrient-rich foods like fruits and vegetables
  • Vitamin SupplementsVitamins C & D are particularly important
  • Preventive Measures:  Wash hands, cover mouth when coughing/sneezing, etc.

The Takeaway

The influenza vaccination has been shrouded in controversy since its introduction in the mid-1900s. With the information we’ve provided, you can make an informed decision and decide for yourself whether you’ll be waiting in the flu shot line this year.

This article was reviewed and approved by Dr. Holly Lucille

Sources

Parental vaccine concerns in Kentucky. The Journal of the Kentucky Medical Association, September 2009.

Evidence-based medicine and the governance of pandemic influenza. Global Public Health, October 2012.

Seasonal influenza immunization in early infancy? BMC Public Health, October 2012.

Photo by Esparta

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45 thoughts on “Should You Get the Flu Vaccine?

  1. Hi,I am 51 years of age and had never got the flu,I have never got the shots either,I have 2 girls that are 14 and 15 when they feel a cold coming on they do what dad does takes a couple spoons full of apple cidar vinegar, I take a bit more then that and poof thats the end of it, the cold does not last at all.Each to their own when it comes to getting the flu shots.I wouldnt say its a good thing or a bad thing to get the shots.But what I do know is apple cidar vinegar does help out alot.I read some comments and I dont agree with Cindy saying we turn people away because not enough doctors,If thats the case is the Hospital closed down or had a law suit against them yet.Because if everyone thought like you at Hospitals, I hate to be treated their to begin with.People are sick they dont need some ignorant nurse attending them.I imagine if the shots didnt do any good what soever,they would not be giving them out.But some people would prefer handling being sick a different way, like me APPLE CIDAR VINEGAR.

  2. The illness that many people get after receiving the influenza vaccination does not occur because they get the flu from the vaccination. Rather, symptoms of flu are due to the body’s own immune response to the injected antigen, just as they are during an infection with the virus. This response is far more severe and long lasting with a real case of flu, it is hypothesized that the 1918 flu pandemic was so deadly due to producing a cytokine storm, a positive feedback loop where the immune response to the virus could be lethal.

    Unfortunately the vaccine isn’t perfect, I take it because I consider the potential benefits to outweigh the potential risks. Due to the constant mutation of the virus we are unable to produce a highly effective vaccine or one that provides long lasting protection at this time. As such, not being immunised against flu is not the same as refusing vaccination for conditions such as measles, which still kills thousands of people every year and is easily preventable.

    It is also important to make the distinction between cold, flu and other similar diseases. Influenza is very unpleasant. If you get it you feel weak, achey and are hardly be able to get out of bed for days. Many people complain of the flu when in fact they don’t have it.

    • Agreed. People need to understand that the flu is NOT the common cold. There is a serious misconception here. People who have the flu will not be able to get out of bed. You will not see someone coming into work sniffling and complaining of the flu, because that it is not how the immune response to the virus manifests itself. You will be incapacitated for a week.

      In addition, influenza (and its common side effect of pneumonia) have the highest mortality rate per year of any viral disease, and even if the vaccine is only 40% effective, wouldn’t 40% survival of those people who would have otherwise died be worth it?

  3. This quotation from Osterholm is a bit odd!
    “If we don’t change our current vaccines, we will have some protection, but we will in two ways miss two very important goals: one, protecting old people at the highest risk of death and two, when the next pandemic emerges, we will miss the opportunity to protect against pandemic.” – I think we need the next bit to see what the second ‘way’ is!

    It is important to understand that by definition pandemic viruses are new and no-one has met them before and no-one has antibodies to them! (The really interesting question which Big Pharma does not want to research is why do some people still not get ill when exposed to them???)

    It takes at least 6 months to produce a minimally tested vaccine for a new virus and by that time two ‘waves’ have passed and it is only useful as an ingredient in the next recipe for the seasonal ‘flu vaccine! The pharmaceutical companies have brainstormed how to make money out of a pandemic and concluded that hard selling anti-virals when no one knows whether they will work or could even be distributed and administered early in the course of the illness in the chaos of a pandemic (unlikely) Glaxo had a coup with H1N1 Swine Flu as they hastily tested vaccines they had ‘on the shelf’ and said that a mock up vaccine developed for H5N1 bird flu did actually work against H1N1! that amazing good fortune allowed them to sell millions of doses within six weeks of the outbreak – in europe the US were not convinced! Then after a couple of months they simple replaced the old H5N1 virus in it with the new H1N1 without the public being any the wiser. They made huge windfall profits out of a pandemic and still crow about how clever they were! But they paid no compensation to the few young people whose lives have been ruined by narcolepsy. Let’s hope that civil servants make sure that they include a clause in future contracts stipulating that they pay compensation to those who lose out ‘for the greater good’.

  4. My uncle, God rest his soul rec’d flu vaccine and within one week he developed pain in shoulders and weakness in arms. That never went away…following year he was inadvertently given flu shot again…approx. few mos. later he developed ALS and died within nine months! Do not tell me that it was not related.

    • Given that ALS is not even a recognised complication of a vaccine even for the vaccine scaremongers, I think the more logical explanation is that your uncle simple came down with ALS and any other timing is coincidental. This happens all the time.

      In the words of Peter Griffin: “I knew a man once who bought a used car, and ten years later… BAM! Herpes.”

    • Huh? ALS is a hereditary disease, meaning it’s linked to the genetics of the patient, not to external factors. It’s a result of a genetic mutation in one of several genes, and it’s, 95% of the time, found in the family history (so watch out!). But please, if you’d like to continue, find me several other cases in which ALS symptoms have appeared directly after a flu vaccination.

  5. If the WHO and CDC weren’t a bribed PR racket for Pharma, they would promote nutrition, hygiene, and education. The flu vaccine (and vaccines in general) might be useful for a small sliver of the population, but certainly not for the mass majority.

    To Cindy and Michelle ER nurses,
    I understand you have a difficult job, but please consider you’ve been misled by Pharma, politicians and professors (some with good intentions, some with financial interests), and blatantly compromised health institutions: the CDC, FDA, and WHO.
    And please consider folks like me, with nothing to gain except trying to help others, aren’t necessarily ‘kooks’. Thank you.

  6. Wow CINDY RN, who appointed you the official spokesperson for the influenza vaccination?? I too, am an ER nurse, at a level 1 trauma center, and feel your frustration regarding people who are ignorant to the importance of vaccinations. HOWEVER, your statements in reference to the article are incorrect and comments to the author are just plain unprofessional. Did you even read the article?

    You repetitively urge the author to remove this article because it encourages people not to get vaccinated when, in contrary, this article addressed common misconceptions regarding the flu vaccination. Who better than a nurse understands that education increases compliance?

    The article never implied that people shouldn’t get vaccinated. It did inform the audience that some people should check with their MD prior to getting vaccinated, those with Guillain-Barré, etc., which is in fact, true! I think maybe you need to do YOUR research rather than insisting that others need to.

    The author made accurate and factual statements, and if you would’ve read the article, you would’ve recognized that he used legitimate references such as the CDC… As for your comment about continuously placing his chart at the bottom of the pile if he ever comes to your ER, it is ER nurses like YOU who give us a bad reputation as being judgmental and uncompassionate. I pray you never have to care one of MY family members, and I’m sure others who have commented on your immorality feel the same!

    Furthermore, if you feel SOOOO strongly about the vaccination, why not do something productive like volunteer your time to administer vaccinations at a community flu vaccination clinic, rather than continually complaining, threatening, and calling people ignorant on some website…

    • I have never had a flu shot, I never intend to. I have had a “temperature” 3-4 times in the 58 years I have been alive. My c0-worker here got a flu shot, felt like crap for a few days and then spent a Sunday night vomiting. So, to insist I take a flu shot to me is B.S. You want the shot, you take the shot. And, Cindy, please let me know when you are next working, I would surely love to get some pics on my phone of you placing my chart at the bottom because YOU THINK YOU HAVE EVERYONE’S ANSWER. Well, I have YOUR answer: get out of the medical profession before you cost the hospital you ……..are employed by a multi-million dollar lawsuit. You claim to be a “professional health person” and will risk someone’s health and life because they didn’t do what YOU think they should have. You are an insult to the world of health. BTW: the reason I dont get sick is what I DONT put in my body, not what I Do put in. Eat healthy and research the foods that are killing you. Sorry to go off on you Cindy, but you appear to be a putz.

  7. Oh yes I see, so the vaccines that we all should be taking because the flu kills people…So you are referring to the actual flu itself, that also has been created in a lab.

    And to whomever said they got sicker than ever after having the flu shot…ME TOO, and so have countless other people I know. They even tell you when you get your shot that you may get sick.

    And by the way “nurse” Cindy, I know you are bitter just coming off your 12 hour shift and all, but you yourself are a moron. Really, because you do not like something an author has penned, you feel that it is ok to put their chart to the bottom of the pile and make him wait if he shows up in your ER room? Do that to the wrong person and you have now become a killer too, just like everyone who doesn’t take the flu shot.

  8. The Flu Pandemic of 1918 killed more people in 6 months than all combat deaths in WWI, with at least 20 million people dead, possibly as many as 50 million if related illnesses like flu-caused pneumonia are considered. Doctors tried everything, and the only thing that worked was a blood transfusion from recovered patients to sick patients. This led directly to development of the flu vaccine that we have now, which has prevented another pandemic like that. Back then deaths totaled up to 3% of the world’s population. Today that would be 213 million dead on today’s population of 7.1 billion, or more than 2/3 of the current population of the USA (if all casualties were here instead of worldwide – this is a size comparison), prevented by the flu vaccine.

    This is serious and deadly business. The author of the article should consider how utterly irresponsible a lack of knowledge of vaccines is. The current anti-vaccination crowd are wrong. Deadly wrong. They deserve to be opposed in the strongest terms, without pity. I don’t even think we have the luxury of tact on this subject. Questioning the value of the flu vaccine is stupid, ignorant, criminal, and does real harm to anyone it convinces. Further, it does harm to everyone around who accepts the real science, but has to live next to the criminally wrong idiots who haven’t been vaccinated.

    Vaccine denial has led to infant deaths from whooping cough this year. Because adults deny vaccines. Vaccine deniers are now killing infants by not preventing a disease that we had previously eliminated. Denial is now murder in a real sense.

    • Funny you mention pertussis in your militant piety. When they were having problems with the outbreak in California a couple years back they found that nearly half (HALF) the children contracting had been receiving the immunization regimen or had completed it fully. So the moral of the story on that one was, immunized or not you were equally likely to contract the disease.

  9. Hello, Russell Smith, author of this irresponsible article!!!!!!!
    If you check into the emergency room where I am running my butt off to care for hundreds of patients who have the flu (because they didn’t take their flu vaccine), KNOW that I will will repeatedly place your chart on the bottom of the pile of charts to be seen. Plan to bring your sleeping bag and several changes of clothing to your next ER visit, Russell Smith. Remove this very irresponsible article which encourages people to not take their flu shot.

    • Ask your lab techs how many of your “flu-like symptom” patients have tested positive for the flu. Also ask your patients if they’re had the flu shot, you will be surprised that many have. The article is correct and people need to be proactive in their own health. Many of us have been harmed or know someone who has been harmed by this so called “safe” vaccine. Vaccines are drugs and should be used with caution, they are not fit for everyone, but are the #1 money makers for Pharma. They should not be pushed on everyone because people believe that they are 100% effective and that everyone with “flu like symptoms” has the strain of flu that was in the shot. And if you’re ever in my hospital don’t expect your results anytime soon, maybe as soon as you do research before call others irresponsible (your ignorance could kill someone). Start with the paper supplement provided in the vaccine box (ask your pharmacist) or read it online. Next, read the CDC and FDA websites on flu vaccines. Then realize that there are some of us out here who can die from the vaccine, and yes Hg (although not related to Autism) is still in some vaccines.

    • You really should remove yourself from this profession. What a scary thought to know that someone in this profession would place a chart at the bottom repeatly out of anger. It is unethical to do such a thing.

      • It’s unnerving to think that a doctor or nurse would even THINK of putting a patient’s chart at the bottom of the pile, much less verbally threatening to do so. It’s not so much whether they are right or wrong, because there are good and bad aspects to both points of view, but that they seem to find it easy to justifiy their vindictiveness and still call themselves professional. If I ever even thought my doctor or his nurse felt this way, I’d have no qualms about transferring my records to another doctor’s office. I’m sure there is a lawsuit waiting in the wings for these “medical professionals” if they ever get caught carrying out their threats.

      • Dr Helen White, regarding nurse Cindy, don’t be so smug! If you can’t distinguish between an effort to convey a message and a real threat, then please give up being a doctor. If you’re so righteous, how about giving up your “ridiculous” salary, and work for a foreign aid agency. The scientists who work out the mechanisms and cures (including vaccinations) are the real heroes – all you do is hand out the solution. And for this, you get 3 times the salary of the scientist, after receiving far less education. The worlds a funny place, yet you make it that bit more tragic.

  10. Two tiny ounces of tunafish contains 38.4 micrograms of mercury. ALL of the mercury preservatives combined in the IMPORTANT childhood vaccines totals LESS than 12.5 micrograms. Eating a tiny amount of tuna supplies one with THREE TIMES the mercury children receive in their vaccines. If there was a link between mercury intake and autism, all children that consume tunafish would be autistic. Stop this dangerous urban myth!

      • Nice try, I’m sure Pharma would be pleased to know that there is still one person who believes the Hg is out of vaccines:
        visit:

        http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/UCM096228#t3

        or google “Is mercury still in vaccines”

        Table 3 shows a complete listing of vaccines and Hg content. You might be surprised. Funny thing is if you go to Canada’s vaccine schedule Q&A section, they tell people not to worry, as their vaccines have less Hg than ours.

        Please do research before believing anything medical, it might just save your life!!!!!
        This is coming from someone who works in at a hospital!!!! Be proactive in your health….

        • It’s completely feasible to do the whole childhood immunization series with vaccines that have no mercury. If you are concerned about mercury, ask which formulations are used, and check them against the list. Also stop eating tuna and other top-of-the-food-chain fish, and avoid breathing air containing smoke from coal-fired power plants — good luck with that!

    • From the research I’ve read, autism is linked to a genetic defect found in about 1% of the population, which affects a cellular methylation process which the body uses to rid itself of toxins. In essence, people with the defect are not as efficient at clearing toxins out of their cells as most, and nearly everyone with autism has this defect.

      Mercury is just one of many toxins people are exposed to in today’s world. It may very well be that there’s an overall threshhold of toxin exposure that, when exceeded, can lead to autism, and that people with the genetic defect have a very low threshhold It could be that multiple types of toxins can contribute to the development of autism. More research is needed.

      The point is, all the so-called “proof” that I’ve seen that vaccines/mercury and autism are not linked fail to be justified as proofs when you consider the possibility that a combination of multiple-toxins and a somewhat rare genetic defect could combine to lead to autism.

    • Taking Mercury via digestion is entirely and completely different than introducing mercury directly to your body via injection is entirely dissimilar.

  11. Even on a well matched year, the flu vaccine is only 60% effective, according to the CDC website, which is one of the primary organizations trying to promote vaccines!!! On a year where the match is poor, the effectiveness is zero. There is also a list of ingredients of the various vaccines. Each individual should carefully consider and weigh the risks of getting the flu vs. toxins

    • Don’t drink the kool-aid is all I have to say. I am sure those with weak immune systems may benefit but for healthy individuals…really. I had the flu shot about 10 years ago and never have I been so sick within a month. I will never take it again and haven’t and just fine and maybe get the flu once every 5 yrs or so. Why because my immunity system is built up because I get the flu every now and then. So next time you know someone who gets the flu ask them if they got the shot. Last year I asked that question of everyone I knew and at least 50% of the time the answer was Yes I got the flu shot. Well how is the working for you? This is more media hype and a revenue producing deal than anything. I am cracking up as I watch CNN. Yesterday most the country was red – today it’s all red. That should tell you all you need to know. Not too mention, between two states, working in an office of approx 75 to 100 people. I know two people who have had it, I know of no one in my immediate circle at home. So there you go….ask yourself in the epidemic, how many people do you know with it? Not enough of what the news reports. Remember SARS, Bird Flu, Swine Flu, do you know anyone who had it or died. Those who are dying…if you knew the facts had other health issues. Now we have used those names up…we are onto alpha/numeric descriptions. At least they got smart there, hard to track the names as well. And all the employers who require a flu shot or your fired….shame on you – that includes you Spectrum Health.

    • This article is beyond irresponsible. I just got off my 12 hour shift which was supposed to end 4 hours ago. I am an emergency room nurse. The ERs are exploding from the massive amount of morons that refused to get their flu shots this year. Hospitals are sending sick flu patients away this year because there are so many they don’t have the doctors, nurses, or examination rooms to examine them. TAKE YOUR FLU SHOT EVERY YEAR TO AVOID GETTING THE FLU AND/OR DYING FROM COMPLICATIONS FROM THE FLU!

      • I do the lab testing at a major hospital, 3 out of 70 samples tested positive for Influenza A the last weekend I worked (by the way false negative are 1% and false positives are 3%). These get reported as 70 people have the “flu” because even though 67 are negative, they all came into the ER with “flu-like symptoms” and many reports don’t differentiate (statistics we get from the CDC) actual flu positives (we also had 1 positive B this month).
        The flu vaccine nearly killed my mother who had a horrible reaction to it 5 years ago, and then got a 5 day horrid flu later in the season. I have an albumin allergy so I don’t bother. Remember the CDC vaccine recommendation board are paid consultants of pharmaceutical companies, and vaccines are their #1 money maker (Statin’s are number 2) so of course they push vaccines. The flu shot is a crap-shoot (all guess work, hopefulness that often falls short of expectations) and is far from 100% effective and it drives me nuts when people assume ALL people that have the FLU have NOT been vaccinated (these people may be well intentioned, but grossly misinformed).
        If the hospital demands I receive the vaccine then I will ask for them to sign a letter stating that they are personally responsible for any damages to my health and missed work due to the vaccine, and pay double in the event I get the flu that year and have to miss work.
        This article by the way is accurate. Flu vaccines do contain Mercury (except the live-vaccine nasal mist) and Hg (mercury) hasn’t been shown to cause Autism (interesting side-note though, there hasn’t been a single study showing the synergistic effects of multiple vaccine administrations), people do get flu-like symptoms for up to a week after administration (it’s not “some other illness” as someone suggested, it’s reported in the vaccines supplement under most common side-effects, even though they’re nonactive viruses the body produces antibodies that make you feel ill while production occurs) and the vaccine is only 60% effective. If the vaccine works for you then great, but don’t push it on those of us it can harm because of your assumptions and ignorance.

    • Every moron that doesn’t take their flu shot (except for those allergic to stated components) risks KILLING OTHER PEOPLE by getting the flu. Think about others too! If you get the flu, perhaps you will recover. If you GIVE the flu to a small child or an elderly person accidentally because you chose not to get a vaccine, you are a killer!

      • Really? You sound brain washed. My sister got the flu shot and was sick a week later. I never got a flu shot. I am 50 years old and only had the flu once in my life 30 years ago. My ex used to have to get the flu shot when he was in the military and every year, he got the flu. I never got it! Seems the more flu shots given out, the more sick people there are.

  12. there will always be whacko’s out there who will say the negative regardless these are the ones who profess no med let god take his course. Trueley a world of idiots we live in

  13. Why do you repeat myths that have been disproven, such as the mercury preservative BS? Even if you say they are not valid just repeating them propagates them further and is a disservice to real science and public health.

    • I would disagree. If one doesn’t take the time to address the incorrect information and set the record straight, you can not expect the public to know what is correct. For instance, I was under the impression that ALL vaccines still contained the Mercury preservative. It was only up until the article that I learned otherwise.

      • The mercury preservative study was done at the Univ. of Pittsburgh. It was filled with multiple biases and inaccuracies. DO YOUR RESEARCH using legitimate scientific articles. This is bogus and the study showing that mercury caused autism was completely biased making the findings untrue. This is a dangerous urban myth.

        • I wish I could do more research, but searching via the internet is hard to do. Do I need to get a JSTOR subscription? If I read AMA journals is that unbiased? It’s good to hear opposing viewpoints at the very least because it makes you question. It’s too bad the research is so difficult. Anyone have pointers on finding less-biased & CURRENT research?

          • The problem is the general public will a) not understand a scientific/medical journal and b) most likely misinterpret it. The government and their scientific advisors don’t want you to be sick (it costs them money), and don’t want to be sued (it costs them more money). And this crap about pharmaceutical companies bribing people and selling misinformation, you seriously believe this? There are a million odd people in the medical and scientific industry, you can’t bribe them all. And the few pharmaceutical companies that have been shown to provide misinformation, they usually don’t stay in business long. Not to mention all the “independent” clinical trials that they usually have to go through to get approval. All these conspiracy theories just erk me!

          • Oh, and if you are intent on looking up peer-reveiwed journal articles, “pubmed” is the place to go – it abstracts every peer reviewed article. Unfortunately many require a subscription to view the full article, but more and more are becoming free. And if you don’t have the background, stick to the “reviews”, they’re easier to interpret and base conclusions from. But please remember, medicine/science is based upon the huge accumulation of independent data from hundreds/thousands of researchers. Don’t cherry-pick to suit your cause.

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