Monday, October 26, 2009

Flu shots, vaccines, etc.

A friend of mine just showed me this video and I was moved to tears about a beautiful girl's life ruined by a simple flu shot:

I'm a huge fan of Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carey's work on advocating that vaccines are not bad (if it wasn't for the, polio would still be around) - but the impurities in them (mercury and antifreeze are just a few of the toxic ingredients) as well as the amount of them within the first year of a child's life are completely unnecessary and account for the autism caused in Jenny McCarthy's son. She has since joined many other parents who've had similar experiences in their children following vaccines.

This is a fantastic informative video on how vaccines work and how they are distributed (the funniest thing was that 70% of doctors and nurses do NOT get flu shots - and yet they encourage YOU to get them!):

Something to ponder - and please show these vids to your loved ones!


  1. The story about the cheerleader is disheartening :/ I can only imagine what she goes through on a daily basis... that's tragic for anyone, but particularly for someone so young!

    Additional things to think about (the 'flipside', playing devil's advocate :P)

    Overall, the risk of a serious adverse effect from a flu shot is relatively small; however, if you happen to be that 1% of individuals, it can be devastating. Naturally there are risks with everything, like driving (motor vehicle accidents are the 5th leading cause of death in the U.S.), but these risks need to be weighed against the benefits.

    I would take the second video with a 'grain of salt'. For the most part, it cites reputable sources (i.e., The Lancet, CDC, & British Medical Journal), although there are a few stats that seem a bit questionable. If you look at the medical literature, you can always find a study that is "for" or "against" one's cause, but finding *well-designed* studies is the challenge (the gold standard being the "double-blind randomized controlled" trials). A survey taken by a group at a single point in time is a cross-sectional cohort study, which is considered lower on the "strength of evidence" scale due to limitations of the conclusions you can draw from it.

    When they mention the percentage of healthcare workers who don't get the flu shot, they don't mention the total number of participants (surveying 4 people vs. 1000 people is quite different, yet 1/4 vs. 250/1000 both yield 25%). They also don't mention the demographic, location, etc., which greatly effect the interpretation/generalization of those numbers. The study design is just as important as the results themselves.

    Also keep in mind that correlation doesn't equate to causation. Inherently, there are always confounding variables and bias in a study that cannot be controlled, only minimized.

    Not sure if this is true, but just to illustrate: for those who are predisposed to autism, it might naturally present most frequently between ages 1.5-2 years, which is around the same time some of these shots are given. So in this hypothetical example, they correlate with each other (occur together), but it doesn't necessarily mean one is the cause of the other. In uncertain situations, more studies addressing specific questions need to be done (if feasible logistically, ethically, & financially).

    As for mercury, there are differences in elemental vs. organic vs. inorganic compounds. Thimerosal (ethylmercury) used to be a component in many vaccinations, but is now only in a few (I think 3, all given beyond infancy, but not 100% sure on that). Accumulation of ethylmercury over time at a speed quicker than your body is able to get rid of it could potentially lead to toxicity--the lower cutoff is ~0.5 parts per million (ppm) per kg of body weight. Averaged out over time, the few vaccines that do contain thimerosal have 0.1-0.3 ppm. These numbers are consistent with the FDA & EPA daily limits. A similar amount is consumed from seafood since nearly all fish & shellfish contain methylmercury (which btw is more soluble, has a longer half-life, and crosses the blood-brain-barrier more easily than thimerosal). Obviously mercury is not a good thing as far as health goes, but it exists and is more common (at these trace levels) than most people think. At any rate, yes, it should be minimized regardless of the source and form. And yes, infants are more susceptible to developmental neurotoxicity. Realistically, the bigger risk of vaccines is being allergic to some of the components, not so much the mercury issue though. As with all things, there probably needs to be a balance somewhere in the middle between too many or too few vaccinations.

  2. Guillain-Barré Syndrome was in fact traced back to a shipment of vaccines from one pharmaceutical company at one point in time. Outside of that, though, there isn't evidence that convincingly links the two. If a shipment of meat has E.coli, not everyone opposes eating meat for the rest of their lives. Of course, different people have different opinions and are clearly free to make their own choices. (On a tangent side note, over 545,000 tons of meat shipped in the Eastern U.S. had to be recalled last week due to an E.coli outbreak!)

    In the end, I suppose the important thing is to know where the information comes from and to analyze both sides of the issue to decide for one's own self what to follow or believe. I think this is an important issue that will never be entirely clear, unfortunately...

    Anywho, thanks for sharing Annette!

    P.S. For posting comments, did you know there is a 4,096 character limit? Well there is :P hehe.