Why You Shouldn’t Get the Flu Shot

Image by USACE European District

**This post has been entered in Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist and Real Food Wednesdays at Kelly the Kitchen Kop!**

Right now, there is a huge push for the flu shot happening.  This year, the CDC is recommending that all people over the age of 6 months receive it.  This is up sharply from just a few years ago, when the CDC recommended the flu shot only for children 6 months – 6 years, and adults over 65.  Ironically, they’ve also admitted that their numbers of flu deaths were wrong.  They’re now saying that it’s not 36,000 flu deaths per year; it’s only 23,600.  Of course, both numbers have been pulled out of their rears, and both include ridiculous statistics (elderly people who were already very sick; pneumonia cases; other complications of flu, etc.).  Less than 1,000 of these deaths are actually from the flu, and the vast majority of those (900 or so) are in elderly people.  The rest are typically in immune-compromised people.  Healthy people are typically not at risk of serious complications.

Of course, the mainstream wants you to believe that it’s dangerous not to get a flu shot.  “You’ll get sick!” they say.  “You’ll miss a week of work!  You’ll be miserable!”  Of course, most people who don’t get the flu shot don’t get sick.  Most people, in general, do not get the flu.  It’s also not a dangerous illness for the vast majority of people; it means only a few not-so-fun days riding the couch.  Why would you feel the need to get a vaccine for such a minor illness?

Plus, there’s evidence that many people who did get the flu shot, also got the flu.  There are all sorts of reasons why this might occur, and the authorities are focusing on only a few — it takes up to two weeks to be effective and you may have been exposed prior to vaccination; the strain you have wasn’t included in the shot, etc.  Of course, sometimes the shot simply fails.

If that doesn’t convince you (and it actually does convince some!), there are many other reasons why you shouldn’t get the flu shot.

  1. It’s ineffectiveStudies show that the flu vaccine isn’t particularly effectiveResearchers have to simply “guess” which strains will circulate each year.  There are several, but vaccines contain only three.  There’s also a not-statistically-significant reduction in flu rates each year, suggesting that the vaccine matters little: about 3% of people who are not vaccinated get the flu, while 2% who were vaccinated do.  Really?  We’re looking at only a 1% difference!  This also means that we would have to give 100 people flu shots to potentially make any difference at all for one person.  Is it worth it?
  2. It contains thimerosal — That nasty poison that some people are blaming for autism (which, by the way, I do not think is whole story, not by a long shot) is still in the flu shot.  Yes, if you get a flu shot, you will be injecting mercury (and aluminum, and a host of other poisons) into your body.  These can cause neurological damage as well as harm your immune system.  There are thimerosal-free versions but they are harder to get.
  3. It increases the risk of complications and hospitalizations, especially in children with asthma; it also increases seizure risk — Want to keep your children safe?  Don’t give them a flu shot.  A study last year showed that children who got the flu shot and had asthma were more likely to suffer flu complications and to be hospitalized than those who didn’t receive it.  This year’s flu shot has already been shown to increase the risk of seizures (in Australia, where they just finished their winter).
  4. Not getting it doesn’t increase your risk of illness/complications — If you are healthy individual (despite the quote below), you are not likely to get the flu, nor any complications of it.  There are other ways to prevent the flu: see below!  Not to mention if your immune system is in better working order (no toxins), you’ll be less likely to get seriously ill.
  5. Certain versions can shed – Want to skip the shot and go for the mist?  Bad idea.  The mist version can shed the live virus for up to 21 days after you receive it, which means that you might not get sick, but you can spread it to anyone else you come in contact with!
  6. The “side effects” of the flu shot are about the same as the flu – Most common side effects are fever over 100, runny nose, and sore throat.  Some people may even experience vomitting, diarrhea, etc.  Hmm…sounds just like the flu!  I don’t think so.
  7. There are better, safer, more effective ways to prevent illness — Contrary to popular belief, there are other ways to prevent the flu!  Research shows that washing your hands, optimizing your vitamin D levels, and other things can prevent the flu, or minimize its effects.  For more details, see my other post today, Ways to Prevent Colds and Flu.

And by the way, do you think that researchers are there for your benefit?  Here’s a rather insulting quote from a Business Week article on why many are skipping the flu shot this year:

Among the 43 percent of Americans who don’t plan on being vaccinated misconceptions — and what the researchers call “magical thinking” — were cited as reasons for not getting a shot. These include mistaken beliefs that there are other ways to protect yourself from flu (71 percent), or the belief that they are healthy and the flu “doesn’t worry them” (69 percent).

I found that extremely rude.  Do you?  It’s just “magical thinking” that there might be some way other than a vaccine to prevent illness!  Or that being healthy might lead you to not get the flu!  This article is moronic anyway, because in their “study,” over 90% of health care workers said they planned to get vaccinated.  Historic rates tell us that under 50% of health care workers typically get vaccinated.  So I don’t know who they were asking but this was written as an inflammatory article, not the truth!

So, are you planning to get a flu shot this year?

Comments

  1. says

    Unfortunately, I am required to get one. I always end up getting sick from it, and generally have to get the mist version so I stay away from kids as much as possible due to possible shedding. I think there's only been one time where I got the vaccine (my employer can and does require us to get shots, and yes, it is mandatory, and no, I can't get out of it…trust me, I would if I could!) and didn't get sick and that was because they released us as soon as we had taken the mist and I spent the entire day blowing my nose to get the vaccine out.

  2. says

    That's a bummer Emma! Can you change jobs? I know, easier said than done. I will not be getting the vaccine, and will instead be taking a homeopathic nosode. Our homeopathic doctor is totally against vaccines and with last years flu told us we didn't really need to take anything (homeopathy or otherwise). But this year, they are thinking that it's going to be a tough season. I plan on getting our diet up to par (although I know that will help, we have a long way to go before we are actually healthy, which is why I plan on taking the nosode).

    Kerri

  3. ModernAMama says

    Kerri,

    Be careful with that. Some of our family members took something like that last year. Some of them are made with some parts of the flu shot! I'd focus on diet, elderberry, maximizing vitamin D levels, and other more natural methods, which are also much safer. See my other post for more ideas!

  4. says

    Wow, lots to think about and comment on.

    I did think there were thimerosal-free flu vaccines. At least my pediatrician keeps telling me that he has them and uses them.

    I didn't know about the shedding of the viruses from the flu mist.

    My kids got the flu mist last year, but this year, we haven't got any vaccines yet, and I wanted to skip doing them. My husband has never got the flu and never had a flu shot, but he's around a lot of adults, not children like me.

    I can't wait to check out your other post for ways to prevent the flu. I do believe in vitamin supplementation in combination with our real food diet. I've been taking extra vitamin D to help my body fight the flu. I was going to have my kids do the ecchenesia supplements from Trader Joe's to keep their immunity up. We've had a few mild colds this fall, but I think our Shaklee vitamins and our real food diet have kept my kids from getting really sick like they did last fall. I'd really like to do more with our diet; I just need to learn more and figure out how to make it work for my family.

  5. ModernAMama says

    Barb,

    There is a "thimerosal free" version of the flu shot, but MOST of them definitely have it. Also, even the ones that are "free" of it use it in production and remove it before distribution. It's like decaffeinating coffee, though: you can't ever remove all of it.

    And yes, there are LOTS of ways to keep your family healthy without the flu shot! Lots of awesome, safe ways! :)

  6. Robin says

    Lots to think about, thanks for posting this. What are your thoughts on pregnant women getting the H1N1 flu vaccine? Last flu season in my midwestern city several pregnant women died of H1N1 flu and there was a lot of local press about their deaths and a city-wide campaign to get pregnant women vaccinated. Due to medical privacy there may have been pre-existing health issues not released in the newspaper, but the theme seemed to be that pregnant women should be vaccinated since they are at a high risk of serious complications if they do happen to get the H1N1 flu. I'm not pregnant, but I wondered what you thought about this?

  7. ModernAMama says

    Robin,

    Since the details weren't released I don't know a ton about the cases. But I think that there probably was some underlying condition in many, if not most of the cases. Pregnancy weakens your immune system (so your body won't reject the baby). So if women were already at risk, pregnancy put them at increased risk. I know there were many women (this wasn't typically reported) who had serious consequences, including the death of their babies, from the vaccine.

    I would definitely recommend that pregnant women maximize their vitamin D levels and take other natural steps to prevent illness.

  8. says

    So right on the flu shot! Bleck! We are not vaxing anyone in our household agaist the flu even though we are in strict "lockdown" from germs because of our immune compromised son. (read one of the instances where you can DIE because of the flu.) We too are banking on our Shaklee Vitamins, and of course real food! Even if we vaxed everyone, it would not change what we would have to do to keep our family safe. We would still not be allowed around groups or in indoor public areas! (This advice was from numerous doctors, with a wide range from "pretty natural" to "as mainstream as they come"!) I have not had a single person question our decision to to give the flu shot to our son, at least not one that is involved with his medical care! (and there are A LOT involved with his medical care!)

  9. says

    @Kerri – no, I'm under contract until 2018. Unfortunately. I love the job, but hate that they can tell me that I will get whatever the vaccine of the day is. Honestly, I'd much rather have the flu.

  10. ModernAMama says

    Kristi,

    Glad you are pleased with your decision. I hope your family doesn't get sick, nor suffers ill effects from this very dangerous, unnecessary vaccine.

    Just FYI, the vaccine manufacturers have apparently never taken a basic economics class. Last year they produced 160 million doses of vaccines (split between H1N1 and regular flu) and had to throw away half — this is typical, they throw away a large percentage every year. So they thought the best idea this year was to produce 150 – 160 million regular doses (I think 120 million is more typical?) to "increase consumer demand." I'm sorry, but it doesn't work that way! Increasing supply does NOT increase demand!! That just made me laugh. :)

    • BWalsh says

      I am all for having it your own way….vax or not. I am against the preaching against it. 1. The mist does have the bug. 2. The shot Does Not….for about 20 years now.
      3. I am a healthy adult – but the one year I didn’t get it I about died from the flu. I have not missed work for being sick any year I have gotten it.
      I go by my life experiences and the knowledge of the ingredients and there is nothing in the shot that can get you sick. Yes, it is even published in the shot literature that it doesn’t cover every strain. That is just common sense though.

      • says

        Unfortunately, the shot contains aluminum and thimerosal, which, while they can’t give you the flu, very definitely CAN make you sick. Plus, there are lots of natural ways to prevent the flu that work just as well. We have posts here that explain some of them if you’re interested.

  11. Suthernstrawberry says

    I've thought about this a good bit. The one year I didn't get the flu shot (as a working adult) I got horribly sick, then tried to "tough it out" & got others sick. I've gotten the shot every year since with no complications. My husband got the shot for the first time in a long time last year because we had an infant & he works in retail (germy public).

    We opted to not get H1N1 vaccine last year. I didn't feel it had enough time to truly be developed & tested. Plus, my step-son got it, was undiagnosed through 3 doctor visits, & exposed us all to it. I felt that if we were going to get it we would've already.

    This year our pediatrician recommends getting 2(!) flu shots if you didn't get the H1N1 last year. My son got the first one, but I think 2 is overkill!

    *sigh* it's so hard making these choices. You don't want to blindly do what you're told, you want to be informed, but when you've never had a bad experience, or known anyone that had a bad experience it's hard to not do what you've done for years.

  12. Dani says

    You know, every time I have ever gotten the flu shot, I have gotten the flu. EVERY. TIME. So, it was long before I became aware of the fact that there are ingredients in the composition of the vaccine to be worried about besides eggs (why is that all they ever ask? I've had a known reaction to thimerosol since my contact solution nearly blinded me in high school!) that I decided to stop getting the flu shot. Monkey cells. Human embryonic cells, even, in some cases! Anyway, to answer your question, no, I definitely do NOT plan on getting the flu shot this year. Or any other vaccines, for that matter!

    We ARE, however, planning on getting pregnant as soon as we can (currently TTC). Can't wait to see if that happens this winter and what the docs say, especially when they hear that I ride public transportation to work every day… Fear not, I will stand firm, and gargle with my salt water daily!

  13. ModernAMama says

    Suthernstrawberry,

    It is hard. Check my other posts for ideas on how to stay healthy this winter. Even if you opt to get the flu shot, you can still do those things to try to remain healthy. We've done them with good success; even if we get a cold it's very minor and a lot shorter than it used to be.

    Dani,

    When I was pregnant three years ago and student teaching, I asked about getting a flu shot (I hadn't done any research yet). The doctor vaguely said, "Well, of course we recommend all pregnant women get them," but that was it. It didn't feel right so I didn't do it — thank God, knowing what I know now! Of course the push is much stronger now than it was even three years ago. So stupid. Just tell them no and follow some of the suggestions in the other post on keeping yourself healthy naturally. :) Good luck TTC!

  14. Erinn says

    A note about vitamin D: the <A href="http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/researchPregnancy.shtml">Vitamin D Council has organized a bunch of research about the benefits of vitamin D and the risks of being deficient. Might interest the pregnant moms out there.

    Merck makes a thimerosal-free flu vaccine called Afluria. Dr. Sears mentions it on his website in last year's info blurb about flu vaccines, as well as a bunch of others – it may be worth asking for any of those brands, in case those companies are still making them. (I heard a few were pulled off the market, so it's always good to check.) When in doubt, ask to read the package insert for the vaccine before they go ahead and poke you with it.

    Anecdotal comment about flu shots: a friend of mine is a childcare provider who keeps 6 children under the age of three, and if their parents decide to give their child a flu shot, my friend requires that the parents keep them out of her daycare for an entire week. This is her policy because the only time she has EVER had the flu is when exposed to someone who was vaccinated. And not just one time. Every time. It's probably that she's more susceptible than the majority, but despite that, I think it's interesting. Also, I have never been vaccinated for the flu, and I can count on one hand all of the times I've had flu-like symptoms in my entire life. It's a personal choice for me not to be vaccinated based on the needs (or in this case, the lack of need) displayed by my body. I urge others to consider the needs of their bodies and act accordingly.

  15. Andrea says

    Not all scientists think this way. I find it irresponsible of you to lump all of us scientists together and insult all of us at one time over what you found in a Business magazine. Maybe you should spend your time looking into peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals. For the record, I’m against immunizations and feel that homeopathy is the way to go MOST times. I’m just insulted at your generalization.

    • Kate Tietje says

      Andrea,

      I’m aware that not all scientists and doctors agree. I have MANY medical professionals in my community who live an alternative lifestyle. It is just that the most public and vocal figures seem to believe this way, and there is a lot of pretending that there is no disagreement. That is not the fault of the scientists, but the industry/establishment. No offense was meant.

  16. Rachel says

    The one and only time I voluntarily got the vaccine, I got sick….for the entire normal duration, because of the vaccine….never again!

  17. Anna H. says

    This will be my first year not to get it. What do you recommend for staying healthy this winter? I also have a 10 month old and want to keep her healthy as well. She is no longer breastfeeding.

  18. says

    I am a scientist and the only time I took a flu shot was when I was pregnant and I took H1N1 shot at that time. I like to let my immune system do its job and to support it.

  19. Nic says

    The vaccine that contains thimerosal are the multi dose vials – i.e. where they will use the same vial for multiple vaccines (different, sterile needles, of course) as it minimizes risk of contamination of the vial and maintains vaccine stability. If you are concerned about the thimerosal, ask your doctor or provider if they issue single-dose vials of the vaccine, which should be thimerosal-free. Also, for children under age 6, the CDC does recommend the single-dose, thimerosal-free vaccine.

    Also, while I agree that science doesn’t have all the answers, that pharm companies are often after profit more than improving human well-being, I have to agree with Andrea’s comment about the generalization of all scientists, and your comment about “[the little respect you have for the scientific community]” has the potential to turn a lot of people away from what otherwise are important messages you’re trying to share regarding healthy living. Your talk of vitamins and nutrition, role of vitamin D, or any other natural living topics like benefits of exercise, breastfeeding, etc are backed by science, and many details about how these things function and how to improve their efficacy, discovered by scientific inquiry. It’s important to question things (that’s also how science works) but to generalize and stereotype science is counterproductive to many of these conversations.

    Sorry for the mini-rant. I am generally on your side of things, but find these statements to be cause for concern and distrust.

    • Kate Tietje says

      There are good doctors. Unfortunately, the majority of those who are outspoken are not so nice to those who disagree with them. Just think about the scientists who say that vaccines should be 100% CDC schedule without exception and any parent who disagrees is an ignorant, dangerous fool who doesn’t deserve children. I’ve heard this many times. I can’t respect scientists like that. It’s unfortunate that the voices shouting loudest are extreme and obnoxious, but that’s usually the way it is.

      • Macy says

        Looks like being “extreme and obnoxious” can happen on both sides of the argument, you seem to group everyone who chooses to vac in the same group, just like how you complain of them doing to you. We choose to vac and we also lead a healthy lifestyle of whole foods, breastfeeding, exercise and even cloth diaper, I thouroughly enjoy reading your articles on all of those things, however the numerous postings about anti-vac and how your horrible and injecting your children with poison is definitely starting to deter me from your site. Also my husband came down with the flu this year even though we live an extremely healthy lifestyle and was sick as a dog for a week, however me and my daughter (6mths) got the flu shot as recommended by her PEDIATRICIAN and never caught it. Babies die from things like the flu and it scares me how many people will take the opinions of a blog who sites studies from other blogs and .com’s as truth over that of their doctor.

        • Kate Tietje says

          I’ve never said parents who choose to vaccinate are “horrible.” Not ever. My entire goal is to encourage parents to do their own research, and not trust a single doctor. MD or not, doctors are human and have their own biases, holes in their education, etc. My kids’ pediatrician (yes, board-certified MD) does not recommend a flu shot or most other vaccines, and certainly not in infancy. Okay, now all we have is two MDs with different opinions. Which do we trust? The point is obviously that different doctors think differently and so we can’t just say “this is the right one.”

          My research is far more extensive than “other blogs and .coms.” I have read literally hundreds of medical journal articles. I don’t expect anyone to take my word for it and I’m transparent about sharing my sources so that parents can — and hopefully will — check them too and do their own research. I’ll never stop talking about not vaccinating or encouraging parents to research because I believe strongly in informed choice, not just following what the CDC or one doctor says. I’m also not going to bash parents who come to a different conclusion than I do. But, you need to understand there’s a big difference between talking about why someone chooses not to vaccinate and examining the research, and insulting someone who vaccinates. Very big difference.

  20. says

    i have health conditions that would probably hospitalize me if i were to get the flu,and the flu shot doesn’t make you sick,you’ve already had a virus in you before the shot,also my son had the flu,and some of these people say they would rather have the flu than the shot-wow-if you would have been here when my son had the flu,his fevor was 104,throwing his toenails up,so weak he needed help to get to the bathroom,and slmost had to call an ambulance to get him to the dr.’s office,his was the worst case of flu i ‘ve experience since i was 11 yrs.,old and a dr.had to come to our house and give us a shot,i wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy,good luck to you all that’s not getting the shot,my husband and i got ours today,thank god!

    • Kate Tietje says

      I’m sorry you had such a bad experience with illness, but please know that it’s not the flu shot or nothing. Taking vitamin A, D, C, elderberry, and other natural remedies can also help to prevent the flu. Our family takes Green Pastures cod liver oil regularly in the winter (and summer, but we’re more careful in the winter) to boost our vitamin A and D levels and it often heads off any real illnesses. There are so many ways to boost your family’s health naturally. We don’t believe the flu shot is necessary. But as I said, it’s not a shot or nothing! There are many other ways to protect your health.

  21. Kim B says

    I work for a large hospital enterprise and we were offered the shot. If we refused we have to wear masks when we enter any patient care areas of the hospital. I really think if the shot were ineffective that it would not be a soft requirement. I have gotten sick AFTER getting the shot (not this year) and was told by more than one physician (several infectious disease Docs) the reason is you were already haboring the virus prior to getting the shot. I did get that nasty cold bug going around but noticed the duration was MUCH shorter than anyone I know that also got it that did NOT get a flu shot. I am a believer in both traditional and holistic medicine. I think the flu is like death and taxes, an inevitability but I am going to take whatever precaution I can to keep myself healthy. Just sayin…..

  22. Beth Anderson says

    I agree with all your points and would love to share this on Facebook, but because of ONE sentence in #7, I can’t. “Contrary to the “scientific community’s” beliefs (and I say that in quotes so you know how little respect I have for them)…” I think it alienates people that you’re trying to educate and my FB friends wouldn’t take it seriously because of this crack at the scientific community. Otherwise, great points!

  23. Kristie says

    While I believe wholeheartedly with you about the utter stupidity of the flu vaccine I don’t feel it is the fault of the entire “scientific community”. I agree that big pharma and the CDC have agendas that are in no way looking out for our health but most of what we strive for in good nutrition is scientifically based. I regularly explain magnesium’s vital role in the functioning of the krebs cycle, explain how omega 3 and 6 fatty acids work and how they relate to inflammation, etc. All of these are scientific processes studied by the scientific community. They just aren’t newsworthy or worth reading to most laypeople. And the scientific community also provides us with vital information on just how bad artificial flavors and colors are and how badly contaminated some of our foods are (how bout some rice with your arsenic?). They aren’t all bad, at least that’s waht I keep telling myself!!

  24. Lisa Wilson says

    Read this & then see if you are willing to have your children or your children or yourself get anything the govt. basically tells you , that you have to. REFERENCES at end of it~~http://www.naturalnews.com/022383_children_child.html

  25. Stephanie says

    I read an article the other day about a long-time nurse who was fired because she refused to be vaccinated…

  26. Shaunette says

    I’ve never gotten the shot, I don’t typically take medicines unless I feel absolutely necessary, I have had a history of getting over illnesses fairly quickly without medicines, just drinking lots of tea (because tea is amazing). During flu season I try to take vitamin C on a daily basis (if I remember), but I don’t fall for the hype, and there’s no real reason for me straying away from medicines it’s not a belief or a general rebellion of modern medicine, I’ve just always wanted to see what my immune system can do on it’s own, and taking medicine only when absolutely necessary. (like for the ridiculous pain after getting my tonsils removed….so necessary). So I will go on another year flu-shot free, and more than likely flu free as well. Cheers!

  27. simon says

    I never got any vaccination of any kind, even as a child, I was born 17 weeks preemie., my four other siblings got it and they all came down with all the childhood diseases. I feel that if nature will take care of you.

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