Barbara Loe Fisher Commentary:
What part of "no thanks" do CDC officials and drug company execs not understand when it comes to most Americans refusing to get a flu shot every year? Despite all the hype about how 36,000 Americans die every year from influenza and 200,000 more are hospitalized, it is hard to find somebody who knows anybody who was hospitalized or died from infection with one of the three influenza viruses contained in the flu vaccine. Yet, those figures keep getting bandied about by public health officials, who steadfastly refuse to produce the hard scientific evidence to back up their numbers.
In light of the fact that only 20 percent of all flu-like illness in any given flu season is actually influenza, inquiring minds want to know the truth and are asking for proof that backs up the rhetoric. So far, the flu vaccine studies published in the medical literature fail to give credence to any of the inflated influenza mortality figures the CDC is using to try to scare the people.
Guaranteeing Drug Company Profits - Unable to frighten Americans into getting an annual flu shot, public health officials have taken to playing the sympathy card. On behalf of drug companies, they are pleading for the people to roll up their sleeves, dig deep into their pockets and shell out some bucks for the flu shot to guarantee the drug companies big profits. It doesn't look good on drug company stockholder proft/loss statements when unused surplus vaccine has to be dumped after the flu season is over. No, wait! Now public health officials are saying that there is no such thing as the beginning and ending of a flu season: the flu is actually a killer all year round so everybody should get vaccinated all year round!
Exercising the Immune System - It wasn't so very long ago when the flu vaccine was only recommended for those at very high risk for suffering serious complications from influenza infection, such as the elderly or those already seriously ill. The majority of healthy young Americans accepted getting the flu every couple of years as a part of life. It was a great excuse to take a few days off from school or work and stay in bed with plenty of kleenex, Vicks vapor rub, OJ, chicken noodle soup and a good book. Then, after experiencing the sore throat, chills, fever and other symptoms of acute inflammation that are part of a robust immune system exercise, often recovery from influenza was followed by an extended period of good health. And when that same strain of influenza came around again, there was either no re-infection (immunity) or fewer and milder symptoms of illness.
Superior Natural Immunity - Experience with type A and type B influenza infection has another bonus: immunological memory that could help resist the ravages of a nastier version of type A or type B influenza that comes around someday. Flu vaccine only provides temporary immunity. So pandemic flu planners are counting on the superior, longer lasting immunity of those Americans, who have actually recovered from influenza infection, because drug companies won't be able to produce pandemic flu vaccine fast enough to provide doses for everyone for up to a year after the pandemic begins.
If public health officials are depending upon Americans with qualitatively superior cell mediated immunity to influenza, which can only be obtained from recovering from the flu the old fashioned way, to limit morbidity and mortality from a future pandemic flu - then why are they insisting that every American get annual flu vaccinations from birth?
Dealing with the Flu - These days, many Americans are taking steps to deal with influenza or flu-like illnesses by enhancing the functioning of the immune system through diet, exercise and other positive lifestyle and health care changes. And if they do get the flu, they are taking a common sense approach. To prevent and treat influenza or flu-like illness that does not involve a fever over 103 F, pneumonia or serious complications which may require special medical intervention, here are a few non-toxic suggestions:
1. Wash your hands frequently.
2. Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
3. If you are sick, avoid close contact with those who are well.
4. Cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze.
5. Drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
6. Get adequate sleep.
7. Eat a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals, especially foods containing vitamin C (such as citrus fruits) and vitamins A and D (such as cod liver oil) and spend a few minutes a day in sunlight to help your body make and store vitamin D.
8. Exercise regularly when you are well.
9. Lower stress.
10. Consider including holistic alternatives in your wellness or healing plan, such as chiropractic adjustments, homeopathic and naturopathic remedies, acupuncture and other health care options.
There is little indication that CDC officials are going to stop asking Americans to roll up their sleeves and guarantee drug companies flu vaccine profits. There is also little indication that Americans are paying much attention to that request. In the wings: most likely a CDC and drug industry plan to try to get politicians to mandate the stuff.
"No forced vaccination. Not in America."