What is influenza?
Influenza, or the flu, is a contagious respiratory infection caused by a virus. It usually strikes during winter. Symptoms include fever, chills, runny nose, sore throat, cough, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, and decreased appetite. Conditions usually improve in two to three days. Treatment mainly consists of allowing the disease to run its course. Antibiotics will not subdue the influenza virus. Bed rest and drinking lots of fluids are often recommended.
Influenza can lead to complications, such as pneumonia, in high risk groups -- mainly the elderly and people with heart, lung, or kidney dysfunctions, diabetes, anemia, or compromised immune systems. In some circumstances, severe complications in high risk groups can lead to death.
Why is influenza so common?
There are three main types of influenza virus, and each type can mutate, or change, from year to year. This makes it difficult to develop immunity to the disease.
Does a single influenza vaccine exist?
No. Every year health officials produce a new influenza vaccine containing the three types of influenza virus. For example, during the 2015-2016 influenza season, influenza vaccines were required to contain A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus; A/Switzerland/9715293/2013 (H3N2)-like virus; and B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus. during the 2009-2010 influenza season, influenza vaccines contained completely different strains: A/Brisbane/59/2007 (H1N1); A/Uruguay/716/2007 (H3N2); and B/Brisbane/60/2008.
Adverse Reaction Reports
The Thinktwice Global Vaccine Institute receives independent reports on adverse reactions to vaccines. Some typical unsolicited reports associated with the influenza vaccine are included below:
[Flu102] My husband had a flu shot in January and experienced swelling in his axilla that night, probably the lymph nodes. After that, he became weak and chilled all the time, with a dry cough. During the next two months, the coughing, weakness and chills persisted, and by the end of the second month he was vomiting. His doctor did several tests until one showed acute kidney failure. He was diagnosed with Goodpastures syndrome. This condition causes an abnormal amount of antibodies in the blood, causing them to attack the kidneys and lungs. The treatment is immune suppressive therapy. Isn't that ironic. It seems that the flu shot that is supposed to build up immunity caused his to work too hard and didn't know when to shut down. Needless to say, the doctors refuse to admit that the flu shot caused this. He has been unable to work, gets tired, and is at increased risk of catching a virus due to drug therapy.
[Flu134] I had a flu shot in November, and by December I became weak and continued to get weaker until I collapsed in my bedroom and was taken to the hospital. I was surrounded with intravenous lines, a feeding tube, bladder catheter, and tracheotomy for the ventilator. I was helpless, totally paralyzed with Guillain-Barre syndrome. I had a blood infection, pneumonia, a fever of 107.9 degrees, and blood pressure of 44 over zero. My wife was told to make arrangements for a post-mortem. I was ICU for three weeks and then transferred to a rehabilitation center. Three months later I was released to come home because I could ambulate approximately 100 feet with a walker. I continued rehabilitation as an outpatient for the next three months until I could walk with hand crutches. Today I need a cane. I was not forewarned of any possible hazard when they gave me the flu shot.
[Flu203] I received a flu shot in November, and in January I started to get a body rash. I am achy in my (vaccine) arm and neck. I believe the shot may be responsible for my misery.
[Flu214] Three years ago I was given one of only four flu shots I ever had. What was unknown to me was that a strain of mono was included in the vaccine. I believe it was this strain that infected me and almost killed me. The next year, unaware and never warned by doctors, I took the flu shot again. This time it contained a deadly strain that put me in ICU fighting for my life.
[Flu253] My wife was diagnosed with subcutaneous T-cell lymphoma after receiving a flu shot. The doctor did not write down the brand or lot number. Two weeks after receiving the flu shot, lumps started appearing on her legs.
[Flu325] I have a friend who received a flu vaccine on Monday and by Tuesday she was very sick. After many tests the doctors said it was not a reaction to the flu shot. Their diagnosis was "reactivated mono" -- despite the fact that she never had mono. I have heard many people swear that they'll never get another flu vaccine. Now I understand.
[Flu 344] I'm a 67 year old man who has had a flu shot annually for many years. Only once was I chilled.
But, yesterday I had my flu shot and from 11:30 p.m. til 4 a.m. this morning I had the most severe headache of my life. It began to dissipate so I was able to sleep. Today I just feel a bit weak. Any history of such a severe headache associated with a flu shot?
[Flu368] The sister of an acquaintance died suddenly two nights ago. She was in her 40s and otherwise healthy. She got a flu shot that day, came home complaining about not feeling well, and died that night. She died at home, rather suddenly, without warning. Do you know if this is an unusual coincidence or a recurring pattern?
[Flu 375] A few years ago, I got a flu shot for the first time. It was one of those deals where the school's nurse made arrangements for someone to come in and inject us after school. I signed the little pink release form, didn't even bother to read it first, trusting it would do no harm. Super mistake! After getting it, I became ill, not really bad but sort of nagging lingering feeling of not being well for about 4 weeks. One day at school I just didn't feel well, but passed it off as probably coming down with something. I woke up next morning with my left arm paralyzed. Went to ER, they checked me for a stroke and some other things, and told me to come back if I got worse. By that evening my feet didn't work too well and they tingled as did my fingers. Next day I tried to walk and fell down. Somehow made it back to ER, again they had no idea what was wrong with me. Things were getting worse, losing movement and ability to walk. My son carried me to bed that night. Went to my regular PCP, as soon as he saw me he knew what it was, and asked if I had received a flu shot recently; of course I had. He said I had GB (Guillain-Barre) and explained it to my horror what was going to happen to me. Probably get much worse and the possibility of a tracheotomy tube if I needed one. He sent me straight to the hospital. In around 8 days I was gone, totally paralyzed and on total life support. I don't remember anything of the first year of hospitalization.
After 16 months, I was moved to a skilled nursing facility, still totally paralyzed and with a trach tube and feeding tube. Somehow they got me to breathe on my own, but still had trach tube and feeding tube and I went home after 22 months in power wheelchair. I regained some motion through PT (physical therapy) but nothing great. After a few months my trach was removed and surgically
closed. My stay at home was short lived, relapsed in about 5 or 6 months. Totally paralyzed again, 8 months in hospital and PT. Third relapse was of a 6 months duration, but another stomach tube had to be inserted. Forth relapse was for 4 months hospital and PT. My last relapse had a duration of one month. The CIDP I had developed was and has been stopped by taking an immunosuppressant, Cellcept, and infusions of IVIG. I'm still in a chair, but have no pain, tingling, have sensation on total body, and can perform most of life's functions by myself. My left arm has suffered
the most, being the first to be paralyzed and has permanent nerve damage. I'm able to get up and walk using things to hold onto. On my last visit to my neurologist I was able to walk holding his hand about 6 feet, not much but it took years to be able to do that. I scratch my head when I hear them promoting the flu shots. If I had only read that little pink paper and asked what GB was. Most people I come in contact with in the hospital and out -- nurses, doctors and regular people -- after hearing my story, feel that it is better to chance the flu and not get the shot.
Many people sincerely believe that all vaccines are safe, adverse reactions are rare, and no peer-reviewed scientific studies exist showing that vaccines can cause harm. This book -- Miller's Review of Critical Vaccine Studies -- provides the other side of the story that is not commonly told. It contains summaries of 400 important scientific papers to help parents and researchers enhance their understanding of vaccinations.
"This book should be required reading for every doctor, medical student and parent. Reading this book will allow you to make better choices when considering vaccination."
--David Brownstein, MD
"Neil Miller's book is a tour de force and a clarion voice championing the cautionary principle: 'When in doubt, minimize risk.' Let's talk science. Read this book. The truth will keep you and your children protected." --Bradford S. Weeks, MD
"This is a well-researched work that raises a number of important considerations about our current vaccination practices. Through studies with commentaries, the reader is led on a journey that bypasses the typical myopic view our society has toward vaccines." --Brandon Horn, PhD, JD, LAc, Chief Academic Officer, American University of Complementary Medicine