Thursday, December 06, 2007

Should I get a flu vaccine this season?

You'll have to answer that one for yourself after you've weighed the pros and cons. But if you were to ask Dr. Tom Jefferson that question, he would probably recommend you pass on the shot.

Dr. Jefferson is an epidemiologist and the coordinator of the Cochrane Vaccine Fields, an organization that promotes vaccine reviews and develops criteria for assessing vaccine effectiveness and safety. In a 2006 issue of the British Medical Journal, Dr. Jefferson reported on the quality of existing research on inactivated flu vaccine (the type that requires needle injection).

In an article titled "Influenza Vaccination: Policy Versus Evidence," Dr. Jefferson makes these four key points:

1) Most flu vaccine studies are poorly designed, giving unreliable validity to questionable results

2) Systemic reviews provide evidence that inactivated vaccines have "little or no effect" on measures such as time missed from work, hospital stays, or death (either directly from flu or flu-related complications)

3) Given the widespread use of flu vaccines, the available data concerning safety is remarkably small

4) The generally accepted confidence in the effectiveness of inactivated flu vaccines is at odds with the existing evidence

In the e-Alert "Kall the Kops!" (1/4/05), HSI Panelist Allan Spreen, M.D., discussed three natural agents he uses in lieu of a vaccine: vitamin C, grapefruit seed extract, and olive leaf extract. Dr. Spreen told me that at the fist sign of aches, sore throat, cough or any other symptoms of flu (or cold, or other infections), he starts with several grams of vitamin C, and then follows that with 1,000 mg (one gram) every hour until symptoms recede. You can read the entire e-Alert at this link:

HSI members can find further information about flu fighting formulas in the article "Don't Inject Yourself with Mercury and Anti-Freeze…" in the September 2003 issue of the Members Alert, available in the archives on our web site at

The HSI Members Alert is an excellent resource for cutting edge information about alternative healthcare. Learn how you can be among the first to find out about the latest groundbreaking advances that the mainstream media routinely ignores.

Vital Wellness

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