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The Flu Shot - Or Not

By: Dr. F. Edward Yazbak

The good people of Houston, Texas had more bad news last Friday.

This time it was not a hurricane coming their way. 

According to Armando Villafranca of the Houston Chronicle (1), more than 1,000 Exxon Mobil employees and 80 contractors may have received a "fake" flu shot at a health fair that was held at a company complex on Oct. 19 and 20. The "vaccines" were administered by a "state-licensed independent physician’s office" with whom the company had contracted - not by the company's medical team, as in previous years. The spokesperson for Exxon Mobile said that all 3,800 employees at that particular complex and all contractors were notified and that the company recommended that employees who actually received the "flu shot" be tested for blood-borne infections. 

U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg issued a statement saying that "a preliminary investigation does not show the vaccine to be harmful, but measures were being taken to ensure its safety." Rosenberg added "those known to have received the fake flu vaccine have been notified and steps are being taken to ensure their well-being"¦. We are also attempting to ascertain whether others might have received a fake vaccine."¦ If a fake flu vaccine was used, those responsible for its use will be prosecuted for fraud."

The Houston field office of the FBI referred all inquiries to Rosenberg.

Hopefully no one will get sick in Houston, but things like this are doomed to happen as long as company executives and their medical directors are brainwashed into thinking that healthy workers need the influenza vaccine.
Last December, it was not an "oil giant" but a university that was the victim. A licensed practical nurse in scrubs calmly walked through the big doors of a Minneapolis college and found her way to a hall, where she "set up" and administered flu shots to students over a three-day period. The exact number of students who were vaccinated was not known. The 38 who came forward had paid $20 each. 

The subsequent police investigation revealed that the vaccine the nurse used was part of a surplus stock that she was supposed to have sent back to the headquarters of the healthcare service where she worked. According to her lawyer, she decided, instead, to sell the leftover vaccine to raise money for a charitable organization, which promptly denied any association with the impromptu clinic. 

The college president apologized to the vaccinated students and promised that vendors will have to display their permits in the future. (2)           

The Minneapolis students were luckier than some Swedish workers.

In 1999, the Saab hierarchy decided that their workers should receive the influenza vaccine to reduce absenteeism during a busy season.

Saab Training Systems in Huskvarna makes laser simulators for military training and has 260 employees. About 80 of them accepted the company’s offer and received the vaccine.

What happened next was reported in Aftonbladet on Oct. 28, 1999 under the headline "We would have been better off without vaccines." (3)

The article started, "More of the employees became ill after they received influenza vaccine. That was the unexpected result that afflicted Saab Training Systems."

Personnel officer Börje Persson told the press "We decided to offer vaccination to everyone who was interested"¦. Many were sick"¦. After that, the company decided not to continue offering the employees vaccinations."

Persson added, "A strikingly large number of the 80 who had let themselves be vaccinated became ill in spite of vaccination. Moreover, they were much sicker than those who were not vaccinated and more wiped out than people usually become"¦. It should have been a lower figure and they should not have been so sick. Had we not bothered to vaccinate them, we would probably have managed better."

When asked, "But if they had not been vaccinated, might they not have fallen ill anyway?" Persson apparently answered, "It’s impossible to know, but we expected that practically nobody would fall ill. Moreover, there never was a massive influenza epidemic that year. Our experience was that there were few positive effects and so we decided not to offer vaccination in the future."

According to the Aftonbladet article, Annika Linde, an influenza expert at the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (SMI) commented, "There has never been any evidence that people become sicker or more severely ill after vaccination. However, every 10 years, vaccination goes wrong. Large groups of experts meet half a year before the influenza arrives and decide which virus to have in the vaccine. Nine times out of 10, they choose correctly, but every tenth year they get it wrong. The last time the wrong vaccine was chosen was two years ago. Moreover, there was quite a major influenza epidemic."

The assertiveness of "vaccine experts" never ceases to amaze me, whether they are in London, Stockholm or Atlanta, Georgia.

What happened at Saab was obviously more than a vaccine failure and, just for the record, the 1999-2000 influenza vaccine contained strains that were actually fairly well-matched to the circulating influenza virus strains. (4)

The World Health Organization experts who go to such places as the shores of Lake Geneva in order to decide what strains to use in the "next season vaccine" actually seem to be getting it wrong every three years on average and not every 10. It was a mismatch in 1997-98 and they got it wrong again in 2003-04 and 2004-05. Maybe it's time to get rid of the "every 10 years" statistic, filing it away with the 36,000 yearly deaths from influenza. 

***

What is Next?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just announced that "beginning Oct. 24, 2005, all persons can get a flu shot." (5)   

The total available number of flu vaccine doses varies depending on the day of the week and the reporter. The highest estimate in the press was that 75 million doses of vaccine will be available for the whole season. (6) The always generous CDC puts the available stock at 78 to 96 million doses of the inactivated vaccine and 3 million doses of the live attenuated vaccine (7)  

The wholesale price of a flu shot has increased by 400 percent in 10 years - to $10 from $2. (8)

As of Oct. 29, the estimated U.S. population is 297,540,255. At least for now, infants under six months of age do not need the flu vaccine. Obviously, that may change next year. 

If all persons actually went to get a flu shot on Oct. 24, as the CDC suggests, only 25 to 33 percent of them would actually be able to find a dose of vaccine.

It is well known that in 1991, the CDC and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) introduced the hepatitis B vaccination of infants, starting in the nursery because they could get to them, while they could not convince adults in high-risk groups to receive the vaccine. (9)                

Is it possible that for similarly lame reasons the CDC/ACIP recommended that pregnant women and infants 6- to 23-months of age receive the flu vaccine?

Was it because doctors would be able to "catch them" at their frequently scheduled visits?

Was it a sinister way to improve the dismal national vaccination rates by adding "easy" candidates?

What sense did it make, with all the evidence against the flu vaccine being needed, safe and effective in infants and pregnant women, to add these two groups to the high-risk list?

Obviously very little makes sense lately. The CDC is now "actively coordinating immunization efforts for persons displaced by Hurricane Katrina, especially those staying in evacuation centers"¦.   Immunization plans, including plans for influenza vaccination, will be tailored based on state assessments" (10)

Did those poor people really need that, right now?

Apparently someone at the CDC thinks so.   

References

  1. http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/front/3422308
  2. The Recent Flu Vaccine Crisis: A Review http://www.redflagsweekly.com/yazbak/2005_feb17.php
  3. http://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/9910/28/influensa2.html
  4. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/flu/WeeklyArchives1999-2000/99-00summary2.htm
  5. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm
  6. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7279844/did/9763867/
  7. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/bulletin/2005-06/bulletin1_062905.htm#flusupply
  8. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-flu5oct05,1,274710.story?coll=la-headlines-business
  9. Vaccinate Johnny to Protect Grammy - And Other Wild Ideas http://www.redflagsdaily.com/yazbak/2005_aug24.php
  10. http://www.cdc.gov/od/katrina/09-14-05.htm