In essence, society’s attention has become focused on vaccination, focused solely on this health treatment. But TREATMENT is not what creates health, treatment is what changes or manages a persons’ symptoms of poor health. Instead of focusing solely on the treatment, there needs to be a shift. We need to evaluate the treatment in the context of the whole - what is working about the treatment? What needs improving? What is failing completely? How does the treatment affect evolution of the species? And how can health be supported moving forward so that the treatment is no longer needed?
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May 18, 2018

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Effectiveness of the Flu Vaccine – Vaccine Messaging

All vaccines have different effectiveness successes and shortcomings, that can’t be summed up and captured in a one size fits all statement. Before I get to the section of this book, which goes in detail explaining the specifics of each illness and the effectiveness of each vaccine, I do feel it’s worthwhile to present flu data which will help you start to begin questioning the regular sound bites of information you hear through media. To do that, I’d like to discuss the efficacy testing which has been done for one flu vaccine, showing clinical evidence which demonstrates HOW PROTECTIVE that vaccine is. Remember, testing to determine how protective a vaccine is, is not usually done. The testing that is done usually measures anti-body production only.

 

For the flu vaccine, media messaging explaining the protective effects of the vaccine is usually presented to the public in a way that states, that "Your risk of contracting the flu is reduced by 50%-90%, if you’re vaccinated." That sounds like worthwhile protection. So lets look more closely at the research that these statements are based upon, using the clinical testing completed by manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline for the Flulaval-Tetra (Flulaval) vaccine as an example.

 

In the Flulaval trial, they followed the health of 2,379 children who were vaccinated with the Flulaval vaccine. They also followed the health of 2,398 children who were given a non-influenza vaccine, as an active control (they use an active control in place of an inert placebo). All the children were followed after vaccination to gather data on those children who were naturally exposed to influenza by chance AND became sick with one of the influenza strains that was covered in the flu vaccine. Of the Flulaval recipients, 58 children later tested positive for influenza. Of the control group, 128 children later tested positive for influenza. The conclusion of that trial is that 2.4% of the “vaccine protected” group contracted influenza, compared to 5.3% of the “non-protected” group.

 

As I said earlier, over the last few years I have repeatedly heard media state that the flu vaccine reduces your risk of contracting influenza by at least 50%. And this clinical trial on children validates those statements completely. Yes, a rate of illness of 2.4% influenza in the protected group is a reduction of more than 50% when compared to the unprotected group who experienced influenza at a rate 5.3%. But really, does it seem like worthwhile success that they have to vaccinate 100 people for 3 of those people to experience a benefit? Though they aren’t lying about the results of the data, they are ONLY sharing the data which makes the success look significant. That has become a standard practice in vaccine messaging.

 

Looking at the same trial data, they present information about the moderate to severe influenza cases. Keep in mind that when they say "moderate to severe," that encompasses a broad range of medical symptoms. That classification could have resulted simply from having influenza with a fever of 39°C. The moderate to severe definition lumped together, having 39°C fever alone, with much more serious outcomes. In that data, they show that in the protected group, 0.6% of the population experienced a case of moderate to severe influenza, compared to 2.2% in the non-protected group. In media reporting, they then stress that cases of moderate to severe illness are reduced by 73.1%. But again, in real life that amounts to 100 people being vaccinated to protect less than 2.

 

And although this clinical trial did show lower rates of influenza in the vaccinated group, compared to the group that did not receive the flu vaccine, it's important to remember another point that the manufacturer explains in their insert. If you recall, I explained this point in detail in article 4. The point being that vaccine trials don't prove causation, they point to correlations, and sometimes, like with this specific flu vaccine, a correlation cannot be established showing the vaccine prevents illness. The manufacturer explains this clearing, in the section titled, "Mechanism of Action." This section states:

Specific levels of haemagglutination-inhibition (HI) antibody titer post-vaccination with inactivated influenza virus vaccines have not been correlated with protection from influenza illness but the HI antibody titers have been used as a measure of vaccine activity. 

 

The message presented to everyone is that to protect yourself and others, to be

considered a responsible and considerate member of society who is contributing to the greater good and herd immunity, WE ALL must get vaccinated. What they don’t tell you though is the real data and real numbers of exactly how many people will benefit -  in this case according the manufacturer, only 2.7 will benefit for every 100 vaccinated. If there were zero risks involved with the flu vaccine, maybe those figures would constitute a worthwhile risk to benefit ratio. Unfortunately, the flu vaccine is not risk free. In the US, millions and millions of dollars are paid out to compensate flu vaccine injuries every year. And therefore, whether you choose to accept a vaccine or not, should remain a personal choice. You should be free to choose for yourself, with no pressure or stigma attached.

 

Article Sources

  • Flulaval-Tetra Package Insert – Clinical Trial Data is Presented on Pages 18-19 Here

  • Flu shot injury - the perspective of two doctors with opposing opinions Here 

 

CONTINUE to the next post here: Safety & Efficacy - Part 7

 

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