Annually we receive warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of an impending influenza epidemic. Each year the CDC recommends the influenza vaccine. Are the warnings justified? Is the advice that the CDC provides appropriate and supported by scientific findings? Are there any conflicts of interest that would sway what the CDC tells health agencies, health professionals, or the public?
Influenza is a set of contagious diseases, caused by infection by a corresponding set of viruses. The viruses spread from individual to individual by droplet infection. Droplet infection can occur by an infected individual sneezing or coughing directly onto the mucus membranes or into the eyes of another individual. Transmission can also occur from infected droplets in the air landing on surfaces then being placed or wiped into the eye, nose or mouth of another individual. The rate of contagion of influenza varies considerably. Some of the strains of influenza spread very easily and quickly. Some spread more slowly.
There is a characteristic symptomatology for most influenzas. Symptoms usually include fever, headache, fatigue, malaise, body aches, tidal fevers with chills, sore throat, and cough. Less frequent symptoms include diarrhea, and/or vomiting. Severity of symptoms varies from strain to strain, and from individual to individual. There are certain individuals, who when infected with certain influenzas have absolutely no symptoms. At the other extreme, there are individuals for whom, influenza infection alone, or infection in conjunction with other health challenges, is fatal.
Mortality in the U.S. due to influenza, varies from year to year. According to the U.S. Department of the Census, mortality rates due to influenza dropped suddenly in 1945 and has stayed under 10/100,000 since. However, the CDC has more recently been collecting and publicizing data that combines the mortality due to influenza, with that of mortality due to pneumonia. This clouds the perspective with which we are now able to view the effectiveness of the various preventative and curative methods currently available.
There is a huge difference between the data the CDC collects and publishes, and the recommendations they make. For instance the CDC Sentinel study of H1N1 (CDC, 2009) showed that H1N1 was 0.0556% fatal. In other words it was very mild compared to most influenzas. However, despite knowing this, the CDC incited widespread fear of the disease.
Well-established protocols for mitigating the spread of influenza include frequent hand washing (Mitka, 2009), and infected individuals staying home from work or school if symptoms are evident (Falsey et al, 1999). There are other measures that are emerging and some that a hotly debated. Among these are ensuring sufficient serum vitamin D levels (Mascitelli et al, 2012), and inoculation with the influenza vaccine. Most popular in the United States is the influenza vaccine. However, there is growing controversy surrounding the vaccine. Called into question are its safety, its effectiveness, as well as corruption within U.S. federal, state and local government agencies surrounding its recommendation.
Regarding corruption surrounding the recommendation of influenza vaccines; there are no restrictions with regard to conflicts of interest for the employees of the CDC or for those of the FDA (Kuehn, 2010). Each employee of either agency is allowed to own stock in drug companies. There is of course the revolving door. The most blatant example of revolving door corruption may be the action of the former director of the CDC, Julie Gerberding. Gererding blocked the CDC’s planned retraction of their recommendation for HPV vaccine after significant numbers of girls had died or been rendered paralyzed by the HPV vaccine. Soon after blocking the retraction, Gerberding was offered and took a position at Merck, the manufacturer of Gardasil, the world’s best selling HPV vaccine, as head of Merck Vaccines Department (Reuters, 2009). It is a level of corruption that we would expect to see in only third world countries.
In 1993, the Comprehensive Childhood Immunization Act was signed into law by President Clinton. Among the various provisions of the law is one that provides for between $50 and $100 to be paid by the CDC to school districts for every ‘Fully vaccinated’ child in their district. Here again, we see the opportunity for corruption. Vaccine manufacturers, their shareholders, including government employees, and school districts have the opportunity to make money for themselves, or for their departments. Certainly employees of school districts won’t be ‘getting fat’ on the CDC’s $50 to $100, but clearly there is a greater likelihood that they may lose their job due to cuts if the coercion to have students vaccinated ceases.
As well as this, one of the few peer review studies comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated in an infected population concluded “according to reliable evidence the usefulness of vaccines in the community is modest” (Jefferson et al, 2005). Yazbak (2013) states “The fact that the number of influenza-related deaths among the elderly kept increasing while the flu vaccination coverage in that particular group was improving steadily and substantially -from about 20% in 1980 to around 65% in 2001- seemed to intrigue the lead author of the study, Lone Simonsen, Ph.D., a senior epidemiologist at the Institute,” and “The following findings were noted:
There are reports of increased incidence of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) following influenza vaccination (Haber et al. 2004) (Schonberger et al. 1979) (Juurlink et al. 2006).
One of the world’s leading immunogenetecists, Hugh Fudenberg, M.D. said in a speech in April 2004 that those who have had five or more consecutive influenza vaccines are ten times more likely to suffer dementia than those who have three or fewer non-consecutive influenza vaccines.
According to Glaxo Smith Klein (2013) their influenza vaccine can also cause:
- Allergic asthma
- Abnormal gait
- Allergic edema of the mouth
- Allergic edema of the throat
- Brachial plexus neuropathy
- Chest pain
- Chest tightness
- Eye pain
- Facial or cranial nerve paralysis
- Facial swelling
- Influenza-like symptoms
- Injection site pain, redness, swelling
- Injection site sterile abscess
- Limb paralysis
- Malaise Fever Myalgiad
- Microscopic polyangitis (vasculitis)
- Muscle weakness
- Optic neuritis/neuropathy
- Partial facial paralysis
- Pharyngolaryngeal pain
- Reddened eyes
- Sore throat
- Throat tightness
- Upper respiratory tract infection
Of course the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) section of the CDC, publishes many vaccine side-effects, including death.
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