Flu Vaccination as Litmus Test For Validity and Ethics of Vaccine Policies
By Dr. James L. Chestnut B.Ed., M.Sc., D.C., C.C.W.P., Guest Contributor
To me the flu shot is the most valid litmus test of the validity and ethics of vaccine policy. We can EASILY determine whether the flu shot recommendations are based on valid science or industry created dogma. We can also judge the ability of politicians, nurses, doctors, and the general public to evaluate the validity and ethics of such policy. We can look at the fervor with which so many politicians, nurses, doctors, and citizens support flu vaccination campaigns and evaluate if this fervor is based upon scientific research or dogmatic belief in, and adherence to, top down policy – and who creates the policy and whether or not these policy makers have conflicts of interest. We have actual data to determine if those healthcare providers who so fervently advocate for flu shots for virtually every citizen are critically thinking, evidence-based clinicians or dogmatic, unquestioning followers or policy.
What we can’t argue is the fact that the current flu vaccine campaigns are highly supported, defended, and implemented in clinical practice. This gives us an enormous opportunity to evaluate the practice of healthcare in general. We can ask the most important question there is. Are the recommendations we receive from medical doctors based on valid data or on blind faith to policy, and who creates the policy? Where is the information that doctor’s use to form their beliefs coming from – who is educating our doctors? Are we being offered evidence-based, safe, effective care or dogma-based, marketing-based, profit-based, risky care?
If we find that there is insufficient and misleading data about the effectiveness of the flu shot and that the flu shot vaccination policy is fraudulent then we simply must admit that other healthcare policies could suffer from the same issues. It’s all about whether we can admit the possibility. The flu shot is the litmus test, it is the canary in the coal mine. The evidence regarding flu vaccination policy is easy to study because the flu vaccine is only given once a year, it changes every year, and we have people willing to research it and publish this research in peer-reviewed medical journals without fear of having their careers and reputations ruined. That’s why I decided to look at the flu shot.
The people questioning the validity of data supporting flu vaccinations are not conspiracy theorists or quacks; they include PhD and MD researchers from the National Institute of Health, from the Cochrane Collaboration, from the Department of Global Health, and from Gold Standard Universities and Research Centers.
There is enough data and basic science to scientifically evaluate the effectiveness and even scientific logic of the flu vaccination policy. To begin with, Flu is much more an issue of innate immunity than humoral or antibody immunity. Cold and flu viruses are always changing so antibodies are not the defense strategy our immune system uses to fight the flu. The best defense against the cold and flu is the cellular or innate immune system which is primed and ready to attack and kill such viruses. Innate immunity is not what vaccines target, vaccines target humoral or antibody immunity. The flu is seasonal – why? Because of fluctuations in vit D levels due to fluctuations in sun exposure. As we get less sun exposure, we make less vitamin D, which is integral to the function of our innate immune system, and flu incidence increases. The flu season is in the summer months in the tropics because it is the rainy or cloudy season which decreases sun exposure and vitamin D levels. The flu season in in the winter in the areas away from the equator due to less sunlight exposure. Vaccines will never improve innate immunity and this is why they have never been shown to protect against the flu or prevent death from the flu.
A scientific critique of the flu vaccine literature reveals that they report relative instead of absolute benefit, that there is huge frailty bias because the sickest people are least likely to get vaccinated and most likely to die, and this makes it appear that flu vaccination prevents death. However, the evidence is overwhelming that it does not. In fact, the data on death prevention is so spurious that they are forced to claim that the flu shot reduces all cause mortality by 50% because they simply cannot prove that the flu shot prevents death from the flu. They actually unabashedly claim that the flu shot prevents deaths from heart disease, cancer, stroke, car accidents and lightning strikes – during the winter months.
When flu shot advocates are forced to admit there is no evidence of flu prevention they claim that the flu vaccine is still important because it saves lives. They hugely exaggerate the estimates of yearly death rates caused by the flu. They claim over 30,000 deaths CAUSED by the flu when in fact the data shows that there is less than 1000 confirmed deaths from the flu, and these are virtually all in patients who are very ill with another illness before they get the flu.
A review of the literature reveals that the entire flu vaccination program was started without data to support it and it has steadily grown to include recommendations from a panel of 15 people, many with financial conflicts of interest, to vaccinate every citizen of the U.S. over 6 months of age – that’s about 300,000,000 doses of vaccine based on no valid clinical data of benefit for prevention of the flu or reducing death rates from the flu.
If this sounds incredulous it is because it is. This is not opinion, this is peer-reviewed, published fact.
The real question being begged is, how did they get intelligent nurses and medical doctors to believe that there is evidence for the flu shot and to fervently implement the flu vaccination policy? Do doctors and nurses have the scientific methodological education and ability, or the time, or the courage, or even the cultural inclination, to question policy and guidelines or are they taught, encouraged, and even coerced under threat of sanction, to blindly follow policy? Are doctors in a position to act in the best interest of patients or have they been put in a position to do what they are told and to blindly follow policies put in place by the very people who financially benefit from these policies?
Is all this even possible in today’s society or does it have to be ridiculous conspiracy theory? Well I did the work to find out.
The data is unequivocal. We have a flu vaccination program based on deliberate misrepresentation of data that creates billions in profit for the people who manufacture the vaccines and that provides no proven benefit to the people receiving it.
Below are some data and facts from the peer-reviewed literature such as the 2010 and 2012 Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (Jefferson, T. et al. (2010) Vaccines for Preventing Influenza in the elderly. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 8: Article #CDOO4879; Jefferson, T. et al. (2012) Vaccines for Preventing Influenza in Healthy Children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 8: Article #CDOO4879; Jefferson, T. et al. (2010) Influenza vaccination for healthcare workers who work with the elderly. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2: Article #CDOO5187) an article published in the British Medical Journal in 2006 (Jefferson, T. et al. (2006) Influenza vaccination: policy vs evidence. BMJ 2006; 333:912-915) and from the Osterholm et al. systematic review published in the Lancet (Osterholm, M. et al. (2012) Efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Infect Dis 12: 36-44):
- The flu vaccination has no effect on hospital admissions or flu complication rates
- Less than 1% of those who get vaccinated can expect to avoid flu symptoms (this is not greater than those who do not get vaccinated
- There is no evidence that flu vaccination reduces transmission of the flu
- There is no evidence that flu vaccination prevents pneumonia or death from pneumonia
- Studies showed that vaccinating healthcare workers who look after the elderly had no effect on the incidence of flu, pneumonia, or deaths from pneumonia
- The large gap between policy and what the data tell us is surprising
- There is widespread manipulation of conclusions and spurious notoriety of studies
- Proper randomized placebo-controlled studies CAN and MUST be done
FACT: Since 1980 vaccination coverage has increased from 15% to 80% with no decline in incidence or mortality, no decrease in hospital admissions. In fact, the incidence rates of both mortality and hospital admissions have increased with increasing vaccine coverage since 1980
FACT: Estimates of death from flu are vastly exaggerated; they lump flu in with pneumonia but it is pneumonia that is causing the deaths NOT the flu
FACT: Flu vaccines do NOT prevent pneumonia – or the flu
FACT: Estimates of benefit from vaccines are vastly exaggerated – they claim a 50% reduction in all cause mortality – this is absurd beyond belief. The same vaccinated people (the healthier ones who get vaccinated) die less in the summer when there is no flu! It is frailty bias that is causing the increased deaths of the non-vaccinated not the vaccine that is causing decreased deaths in the vaccinated. This is indisputable based on the data.
FACT: Frailty bias and reporting of relative vs absolute differences account for the claimed benefits not actual effectiveness.
FACT: Claims of reduction in incidence of flu are bogus and based on relative vs absolute difference. 3% vs 2% and they call this a 50% reduction because the 1% absolute difference represents 50% of the 2% death rate in the vaccination group. I AM NOT JOKING.
FACT: No trial data supports reduction in mortality from flu vaccination – NO DATA
FACT: It all started in 1957-58 with a pandemic flu season. They used this to recommend annual vaccination for everyone over 65 even though they admitted, in peer-review, that they had NO DATA, not a shred of evidence of effectiveness of the flu vaccine, upon which to make the recommendation.
FACT: In 1964 the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices reaffirmed this recommendation even as they noted that there was an absence of efficacy data!! They affirmed with no supporting evidence, the earlier policy that had no supporting evidence.
FACT: Because of this recommendation the elderly and high-risk groups – the very people the flu vaccination campaign is based on, have been excluded from placebo-controlled trials because it was deemed against policy to deny anyone the vaccine. So, no studies done to determine if there was any evidence for the policy because of the policy based on no evidence. The ACIP supports the widely held view that inclusion of the elderly and high-risk patients in research trials would be unethical.
FACT: A 2000 Committee on Gov’t Reform in the U.S. House of representatives found that the chair of the FDA and the CDC Vaccine Advisory Committee owned stock in drug companies that make vaccines. Individuals on both committees own patents for vaccines under consideration or affected by the decisions of the committees.
FACT: In 2010 the ACIP established the first recommendation for universal flu vaccination for every U.S. citizen over 6 months of age. This policy has been supported and implemented with dogmatic vigor by nurses and medical doctors. There is NO VALID DATA of effectiveness or benefit to support this policy.
Again, I reiterate, the flu vaccine policy is the litmus test. IF the above is true, if the research scientists who publish this are not quacks, if the Cochrane Review scientists are not quacks, if the conflicts of interest of the policy makers are true, if the blind implementation of the policy has taken place, then we have to at least accept the possibility that other vaccine policies could have similar issues. No conspiracy theories, no dogma, no emotional debates. Let’s just look at the data. You don’t need to be an immunologist or a medical doctor or a scientist, you just need to look at the available data. What does the actual data say?
No evidence, no controlled trials, no proven benefit, hugely exaggerated risks and benefits, flu vaccine patent holders or vaccine manufacturer company stock holders on the panel that creates flu shot guidelines, ever increasing number of people recommended for flu shots since 1980, ever increasing numbers of people receiving flu shot since 1980 (from 15%-65% coverage), and, in the midst of all this, increasing rates of flu infection rate and death rates associate with flu.
How can this happen? Well if you claim your product reduces death by 50% and you get people to believe it you are going to get policy makers willing to mandate it and clinicians willing to administer it – with fervor! Most importantly, once you can get the benefits believed as gospel you can prevent studies that compare vaccination to non-vaccination because it becomes immoral to withhold an intervention that has been “proven” to reduce death by 50%. I should say it becomes perceived as immoral to withhold an intervention that has been falsely assumed to be proven to reduce death by 50%.
If this is true, what does that tell us about other vaccines? Do we have similar beliefs and assumptions about other vaccines based on similar manipulation of data?
If this can be true, is it remotely possible that other vaccine campaigns could have similar issues? The answer is, without any reasonable doubt, yes; at the very least it is a possibility. That’s all I advocate for, the admission that it is a possibility based on the fact that we have other provable examples of unethical and dishonest reporting of evidence regarding vaccine effectiveness.
As long as someone can convince you that it is not a possibility that the pharmaceutical companies that are convicted felons in other cases of fraudulent claims of benefit and deliberately hiding known risks of their products, including deaths (think opioids and Thalidomide and Vioxx for just a very few examples), or the politicians these convicted felons spend billions of dollars on to lobby, or the medical doctors they spend billions on to lobby, educate, and bribe, could never commit such acts, even though they have been proven to do so many times in the past, then the valid research will just never get demanded ordone. What do we have to lose by doing the research? Well, if you are a flu vaccine advocate you say the randomized placebo-controlled trials – the only kind of trial that can establish benefit from the vaccine- cannot ethically be conducted because it is unethical to deny any citizen the enormous benefit of a 50% reduction in death (which of course is PROVEN FALSE). It is clever, I will admit that.
Some Logical, Ethical Questions Regarding Mass Vaccination Policy
The simplest, and to me most logical, ethical, and most revealing questions to ask regarding current mass vaccine policy are:
What were the death rates in Western countries from the childhood illnesses like measles, mumps, and pertussis in the years and decades prior to the implementation of the mass vaccination campaign compared to the death rates after implementation of this campaign?
If death rates from these childhood illnesses were steadily declining exponentially prior to mass vaccination how can this be explained – what caused the exponential decline in death rates from these illnesses prior to mass vaccination? Was what caused the decline prior to mass vaccination magically removed as a contributing variable after mass vaccination?
What were the atopic disorder rates prior to and after mass vaccination? What were the other childhood illness rates prior to and after mass vaccination?
Why are there different vaccination schedules in different countries and do the countries with fewer vaccinations have more illness and more deaths from illness? If not, how can the policies with more required vaccinations be justified?
What is the actual morbidity and mortality risks from these childhood diseases in populations that are well nourished and have access to proper medical care? How many cases of measles or pertussis in Western nations over the past 50 years have resulted in serious morbidity or mortality?
Are there cases of these illnesses reported in fully vaccinated children? If so, how can this be explained?
Are the death rate statistics quoted for these childhood illnesses from representative populations or are they deliberately taken from poor countries with malnourished children? Are the death rate statistics deliberately taken from eras during higher death rates that deliberately leave out the eras with very low death rates – for example the decades immediately prior to the implementation of mass vaccination?
Some Logical, Ethical Questions Regarding Autism
We know autism is not genetic, an illness that has incidence rates that have risen exponentially over a short period of time cannot possibly be genetic. Thus, we know autism has an environmental cause and is thus preventable. There is an environmental variable or variables that have caused the rapid increase in autism rates.
Autism is a debilitating illness, both to the child and to the family. Autism rates are so high and the cost of care so emotionally, financially, and time/effort expensive that the illness is and will continue to drastically effect not just families but the education system and our culture.
Autism now represents the single greatest health threat to children in North America; it is more prevalent and more devastating to the childhood and parental populations than any other childhood illness.
Despite the prevalence and the seriousness, there has been no major government, scientific, or medical commissions to study all possible causes. This has never been the case with any other serious and prevalent childhood epidemic. Polio was without a doubt a very serious threat, look how we responded to that threat. Childhood cancers, though rare, are a devastating threat. Look how we have responded to childhood cancers. Why are we not responding to the threat of autism in the same way with the same resources?
Are rates of autism different in different countries? If so, how is this explained?
If the vaccines are effective, then why would a non-vaccinated individual pose a threat to a vaccinated individual?
The only way to validly determine the effectiveness of any vaccine (or any intervention for that matter) is to conduct a proper randomized controlled placebo trial where one group is given the vaccine and the other is given a placebo vaccine and then both groups get controlled exposure to the pathogen. This has NEVER been done, not even with the flu shot, and not even, to my knowledge, in animal studies!!