Six more vaccine shots are to be added to the Australian childhood vaccination schedule.
The Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt recently announced:
From early next year, for the first time, all Australian children aged six months to five years, not just those with medical risk factors, will be able to receive the seasonal flu vaccine free of charge.
It is important to add that the minster said the seasonal influenza vaccine would not be included in the requirements for accessing Child Care Benefits, the Child Care Rebate or Family Tax Benefits under No Jab No Pay rules.
However the addition of another annual shot for our kids warrants a serious public discussion. This post begins this discussion revealing the vaccine’s lack of health benefits and showing evidence of significantly increased rates of vaccine-related adverse events.
What is influenza?
Influenza is a respiratory infection resulting in symptoms such as fever, cough, sore muscles along with headache, nasal congestion, sore throat and fatigue.
History of flu vaccines
The first experimental influenza vaccines were given to soldiers in World War II. It wasn’t until the 1957-58 and 1968-69 influenza pandemics that the vaccine was marketed to civilians. Between 1970 and 2000, the trivalent influenza vaccine containing two strains of type A influenza and one strain of type B influenza was primarily recommended for the elderly.
Up until the year 2000, flu shots were not recommended for everyone. In 2006, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) voted to recommend flu shots for all healthy children up to five years old.
The Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) has recommended the listing of quadrivalent influenza vaccine (QIV, Vaxigrip TetraTM) on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for the prevention of seasonal influenza in children aged 6 months to 5 years. Flu vaccines are very profitable making billions of dollars for pharmaceutical companies and they aren’t effective but never mind children are now to be in receipt of them and that is why we need to talk about this new addition to the childhood vaccination schedule.
According to Dr Peter Doshi author of Influenza Vaccines Time for a Rethink
… “flu,” better known as influenza-like illness … has hundreds of known and unknown causes, of which influenza is just one. A reanalysis of the placebo and do-nothing arms of 88 vaccine studies suggested that the proportion of influenza-like illness caused by influenza is on average 7%.
A recent Cochrane systematic review found that between 33 and 100 healthy adults would need to be vaccinated to avoid the onset of influenza symptoms in 1 individual.
So what we have is a new vaccine addition for a disease that is rarer than we are led to believe, the vaccines are of less benefit than is claimed and as we shall also see the harms of vaccines are considerable.
Studies find vaccine efficacy low and safety data lacking
According to a review by Jefferson T, Rivetti A, et al that looked at 75 vaccine studies on the effects of flu vaccines in healthy children:
Influenza vaccines are not effective in young children and the safety data can’t be trusted
The Cochrane researchers found that proper safety studies were lacking. Not surprising for as Should You Get the Flu Shot Every Year? Don’t Ask the New York Times.wrote in
This is only natural when the studies are conducted or funded by the vaccine industry itself. After all, they have a financial incentive to gain licensure for their products by providing studies to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) showing that the vaccine can stimulate an antibody response—the surrogate marker the FDA uses to determine efficacy. With the influenza vaccine, the pharmaceutical companies aren’t required to demonstrate that their products actually prevent influenza complications or reduce mortality, just to show that test subjects react to the vaccine by producing a level of antibodies in the blood—or an antibody titer—that is assumed to be protective.
Other findings included:
In children under two years of age, inactivated influenza vaccines “ have similar effects to placebo.”
There was no convincing evidence to be found showing that influenza vaccines can reduce mortality, hospital admissions, serious complications or community transmission of influenza.
A study by Joshi AY, Iyer VN, et al into trivalent inactivated influenza vaccines found that children who were vaccinated against influenza were 3 times more likely to needs hospital care for influenza-related complications than children who were not in receipt of the vaccine.
A review in the medical journal The Lancet found a lack of health benefits from influenza vaccine in children under two along with significantly increased rates of vaccine-related adverse events.
We randomized 115 children to trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) or placebo. Over the following 9 months, TIV recipients had an increased risk of virologically-confirmed non-influenza infections.
Dr. Edward Belongia and some colleagues at Wisconsin’s Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation reported recently that children who had been vaccinated annually over a number of years were more likely to contract the flu than kids who were only vaccinated in the season in which they were studied.
The vaccine was significantly more effective … if they had not been vaccinated in the previous five years.
Adverse events following flu vaccines
According to this article serious reactions to the flu vaccine include:
Life-threatening allergies to various ingredients
Guillain-Barre Syndrome (a severe paralytic disease that is fatal in about one in 20 cases)
Encephalitis (brain inflammation)
Thrombocytopenia (a serious blood disorder)
An Australian study found one in every 110 children under the age of five had convulsions following vaccination with the FLUVAX H1N1 vaccine in 2009.
The National Vaccine Information Centre (NVIC) states that adult influenza vaccine injury claims are now the leading claim submitted to the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), most of these due to Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS).
GBS is an immune mediated painful and disabling neurological disorder that can occur after viral infection or vaccination. GBS involves inflammation of the peripheral nervous system and can cause temporary or permanent paralysis that may lead to death. GBS usually develops within two to four weeks of vaccination.
The PBAC has recommended the listing of quadrivalent influenza vaccine (Vaxigrip Tetra) on the National Immunisation Program for the prevention of seasonal influenza in children aged 6 months to 5 years.
Vaxigrip has been prepared on eggs and is made from inactivated parts of two influenza A virus subtypes and the two influenza B virus types.
Other ingredients: Buffered saline solution composed of: Sodium chloride, Potassium chloride, Sodium phosphate (dibasic dihydrate), Potassium phosphate (monobasic), Water for injection. Vaxigrip may also contain traces of egg proteins, formaldehyde, octoxinol 9 and neomycin.
Egg Protein is used as this vaccine depends on an egg-based manufacturing process. This can put anyone with an egg allergy at risk if given this vaccine.
Formaldehyde is used in vaccines to kill unwanted bacteria and viruses. Formaldehyde is a human carcinogen.
Antibiotics such as neomycin are added to vaccines to prevent the growth of germs during production and storage of the vaccine and should be avoided if possible. There are risks of exposing children to antibiotics too early in life such as weight gain, increased bone growth, and altered gut bacteria.
Octoxinol 9 is a surfactant that is used in some flu vaccines in a 1% concentration to help further inactivate and then “split” the inactivated influenza virus that will ultimately be used in the vaccines.
Remember that vaccines don’t always create immunity. But they do create future customers for pharmaceutical companies.
Tips for avoiding influenza infection:
The National Vaccine Information Centre suggests other ways we can protect ourselves and our families:
Frequent hand washing; covering the mouth while coughing; staying home when sick and avoiding contact with infected individuals; staying hydrated and eating nutritious food; lowering stress and getting plenty of exercise; sleep and vitamin D are helpful in the preventing influenza and ILI infections.