Despite powerful evidence to the contrary, the conventional view is that the best way to protect yourself against influenza is to get a seasonal flu shot. This flies in the face of a multitude of studies showing that:
- The flu vaccine fails to work for many people.Case in point: The 2012/2013 flu vaccine contained a very good match to the circulating strains, yet the reported effectiveness of the vaccine wasstill only slightly over 60 percent.According to Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota:1 “A match doesn’t tell us how well a vaccine is going to work. It’s almost meaningless.”
- Vaccinating against one strain of influenza may actually increase your risk of exposure to related but different strains
Flu Vaccines Fail to Work Well According to Independent Research Review
Take the independent study review from the Cochrane Collaboration, for example. As Tom Jefferson, a researcher with the Cochrane Collaboration told Northwestern.edu:16 “There is no evidence that vaccines can prevent deaths or prevent person-to-person spread of infection.”According to these independent research reviewers:17“At best, vaccines might be effective against only influenza A and B, which represent about 10 percent of all circulating viruses. Authors of this review assessed all trials that compared vaccinated people with unvaccinated people. The combined results of these trials showed that under ideal conditions (vaccine completely matching circulating viral configuration) 33 healthy adults need to be vaccinated to avoid one set of influenza symptoms. In average conditions (partially matching vaccine) 100 people need to be vaccinated to avoid one set of influenza symptoms.Vaccine use did not affect the number of people hospitalized or working days lost but caused one case of Guillian-Barré syndrome (a major neurological condition leading to paralysis) for every one million vaccinations.Fifteen of the 36 trials were funded by vaccine companies and four had no funding declaration. Our results may be an optimistic estimate because company-sponsored influenza vaccines trials tend to produce results favorable to their products and some of the evidence comes from trials carried out in ideal viral circulation and matching conditions and because the harms evidence base is limited.”
Protect Your Right to Informed Consent and Vaccine Exemptions
With all the uncertainty surrounding the safety and efficacy of vaccines, it’s critical to protect your right to informed consent to vaccination and fight to protect and expand vaccine exemptions in state public health laws. The best way to do this is to get personally involved with your state legislators and the leaders in your community.THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY.Mass vaccination policies are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level. It is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights can have the greatest impact. It is critical for EVERYONE to get involved now in standing up for the legal right to make vaccine choices in America because those choices are being threatened by lobbyists representing drug companies, medical trade associations and public health officials, who are trying to persuade legislators to strip all vaccine exemptions from public health laws.Signing up for the National Vaccine Information Center’s free Advocacy Portal at www.NVICAdvocacy.org gives you immediate, easy access to your own state legislators on your Smart Phone or computer so you can make your voice heard. You will be kept up-to-date on the latest state bills threatening your vaccine choices and get practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community. Also, when national vaccine issues come up, you will have the up-to-date information and call to action items you need at your fingertips.So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.
Share Your Story with the Media and People You Know
If you or a family member has suffered a serious vaccine reaction, injury or death, please talk about it. If we don’t share information and experiences with each other, everybody feels alone and afraid to speak up. Write a letter to the editor if you have a different perspective on a vaccine story that appears in your local newspaper. Make a call in to a radio talk show that is only presenting one side of the vaccine story.I must be frank with you; you have to be brave because you might be strongly criticized for daring to talk about the “other side” of the vaccine story. Be prepared for it and have the courage to not back down. Only by sharing our perspective and what we know to be true about vaccination will the public conversation about vaccination open up so people are not afraid to talk about it.