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Flu Vaccine

© International Vaccination Newsletter

Influenza is a specific syndrome, provoked by a specific viral agent, the influenza virus. The symptoms may be severe, or even lead to exitus in people with a weakened general condition.

Two main families have been detected, influenza A and B. But there are many strains of influenza viruses, and, moreover, existing strains mutate all the time. It is, therefore, an extremely difficult task to 'foresee' the causative agent of a new influenza epidemic, and even more difficult to produce a corresponding vaccine in time. The constant mutation of the viruses, and the unpredictability of which virus will show up where and when, makes the whole influenza vaccination business into a giant poker game.

The most intriguing deception of the public, however, is the suggestion that the patient who gets an influenza-vaccination will not get the flu. What is generally known to the public as 'a flu' is an influenza-like syndrome, with symptoms like fever, chills, muskel- or joint pains, a headache, a runny nose, and general malaise. This disease, however, has got nothing to do with the real influenza, neither can it in any way be prevented by an influenza vaccination. Thus, if doctors guarantee their patients that they will not get the flu after they came in to get their jab, this is an unethical manipulation, the basis for which most probably is simply profit for both those who produce the vaccine and those who administer it.

Apart from this manipulation, questions have to be answered as to the efficacy and the safety of the vaccine.


Efficacy

The lack of efficacy of the vaccine is well illustrated in a Dutch article (1) about a home for elderly people, where in spite of vaccination of two thirds of the population, a severe flu struck 49% of them, with strong morbidity (bacterial infections, pneumonia) and high mortality (10%). An important observation was that in the vaccinated population, 50% got the disease, compared to 48% of non-vaccinated. Also, complement binding antibodies for influenza A were positive in 41% of vaccinated compared to 36% in non-vaccinated. This clearly shows that the vaccination status did not have a protective influence at all. Further laboratory investigation confirmed that antibody building against the vaccine was normal, but the causative influenza A virus had not reacted to the vaccine the patients had been given.

Comparison with a similar situation in 1988 in a home for elderly people shows that in that second case both morbidity and mortality were significantly lower, namely 37 and 3%, respectively. The main difference, however, was ... that in this second home patients had not been vaccinated!

Induction of antibodies in elderly people never is higher than 52-67% (2). Morris even declares the efficiency is not more than about 20% (3). Mistakes in production, transport, conservation and administration can be responsible for a further decrease of efficacy (4).


Safety

Questions about the safety of influenza vaccines are not new. As early as 1973, Rabin wrote that between 1966 and 1970 almost all USA-made influenza vaccines were toxic (5).

I. Neurological complications

For many years, neurological complications of influenza vaccination were simply denied. In 1966, Stuart-Harris wrote that "There is little direct evidence that any of these neurological illnesses during or after influenza are specifically caused by the influenza virus" (6). And in 1971, Wells still believed that "There is at present no way of proving or of disproving the aethiological relationship" (7).

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