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what’s new in the world of flu vaccines and flu treatment?

“Influenza viruses are constantly changing. They can change in two different ways.  One way they change is called ‘antigenic drift.’ These are small changes in the genes of influenza viruses that happen continually over time as the virus replicates….  These small genetic changes can accumulate over time and result in viruses that are antigenically different. When this happens, the body’s immune system may not recognize those viruses.” From the CDC’s website (How the Flu Virus Can Change: ‘Drift’ and ‘Shift’)

“As you might figure, the one that people are most concerned about is that large percentage of H3N2 cases. About two-thirds of those (67.4%) are caused by a virus that has ‘drifted’ genetically from the H3N2 virus contained in all versions this year’s vaccine for the Northern Hemisphere.   So, stop reading this. Go get your flu vaccine. And if you think you have flu-like symptoms, go see the doctor immediately, and tell them that the CDC is recommending that any of the two or three antiviral drugs for influenza should be used if your symptoms are indeed determined to be consistent with influenza, even in the absence of a blood test.”  CHERRY PICKED, as are most of the quotes in this post, from David Kroll’s New Year’s Eve article in Forbes (Get Your Flu Shot Anyway, Despite Genetic ‘Drift’).

Flu Vaccines

In light of admittedly crappy efficacy, it always amazes me how many people are adamant about getting their flu vaccines, in many cases to the point of panic, even though both PEER REVIEW and numerous COCHRANE REVIEWS confirm what I have repeatedly shown you concerning this ridiculous (but profitable) annual ritual.  It seems, however, that Canadians may be getting the memo.  According to a report by the Public Health Agency of Canada (a report that was not freely circulated but necessarily obtained under the Canadian version of our ‘Sunshine Laws’), since 2015 the rate of flu vaccination for adults has hovered between a high of 38% last year, to a low of slightly over one in three, with rates for children about the same.  For the curious, Canadian influenza death rates for 2018 were also significantly better than in America.  Using official govt stats for 2018 (stats which I will show you later are dramatically inflated), about 1 person in 4,000 died from flu in the US, while about 1 in 7,000 Canadians perished from influenza.

Not surprisingly, whenever you read ‘studies’ or propaganda pieces thinly veiled as ‘health reporting,’ pediatric flu deaths are always trotted out front and center (rarely discussing COMPLICATIONS LIKE THIS).  And while no one, self included, is interested in seeing children die needlessly, what is the truth concerning CHILDREN AND FLU-RELATED MORBIDITY / MORTALITY?  Just a few days ago the journal, Future Microbiology, helped shed light on this question in a study titled Why are Children More Resistant to Mortality from Severe Infections?  The title alone raised some questions, the first being is influenza really a “severe” infection?  Another would be why is everything you read or see on TV suggesting the exact opposite of the study’s title; i.e., why are we usually led to believe that children are more susceptible to infectious disease?

The study started off by talking about the balancing act that must take place in one’s immune system (80% of which, remember, is found in the Gut — HERE) between having enough INFLAMMATION to drive healing processes, and having too much inflammation, which could potentially incite a CYTOKINE STORM. The authors, from Harvard’s Chan School of Public Health, went on to talk about HOMEOSTASIS and why “studies of individuals that are naturally resistant to infection-related mortality might help us better understand the mechanisms driving the underlying immune system dysregulation.”  Now let’s add another layer to this issue.

Because inflammation can be characterized as the body’s response to tissue damage from an almost innumerable number of sources, it’s important to realize that while a little inflammation is good and necessary for any and all healing processes, too much inflammation can cause the problems seen in the link from the previous paragraph.  Furthermore, it’s common knowledge within the medical community that simply injecting bacteria or viruses into people is rarely enough to cause immunity on its own.  Why not?  Because without adjuvants — vaccine additives meant to purposefully create significant amounts of inflammation — there is no immune system response, or at least not a strong enough response to generate adequate numbers of antibodies to be considered protective.  The cherry on top is that the adjuvant used frequently enough to sometimes be referred to as the “universal adjuvant” is one of the most neurotoxic elements on the planet —- aluminum, which is not only inflammatory, but neuro-inflammatory (HERE or HERE). 

Thus, the not-so-great-to-begin-with odds of preventing an acute disease (flu) which is largely innocuous to begin with (HERE are more accurate death statistics from a typical season), are offset by a significantly increased potential to provoke chronic, inflammatory, neuro-inflammatory, neuro-degenerative, and neuro-developmental diseases — diseases that are rarely counted in official statistics (HERE).  Face it folks; the association between VACCINATIONS & AUTISM (or any of a myriad of other neurological diseases) is not coming from thin air.  And with BIG PHARMA’S TRACK RECORD FOR DOING WHATEVER IT TAKES TO MAKE A BUCK AT THE PUBLIC’S EXPENSE, significant amounts of research can’t be considered anything other than unreliable.

Now let’s discuss who is really dying from the flu.  For the most part it’s not just the elderly, but a segment of the geriatric population known as “the frail elderly“.  A study from last week’s issue of Oxford’s Journals of Gerontology (Beyond Prevention of Influenza: The Value of Flu Vaccines) confirmed this in the paper’s opening sentence.  “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 63% of annual hospitalizations and 90% of influenza-related mortality occur in people over the age of 65 years.”  And here’s the rub; we know from at least two Cochrane Reviews (HERE is the latter of the two that came out earlier this year) that flu vaccines are all but totally worthless in the geriatric population, despite what you may be hearing from your doctor or on TV.

An interesting study from the October 24 issue of Frontiers in Immunology (Influenza Vaccine-Induced Antibody Responses Are Not Impaired by Frailty in the Community-Dwelling Elderly With Natural Influenza Exposure) helped prove this, even though that is not what the authors were trying to do.  The team of 17 from institutions around the world discussed the benefits of flu vaccines in the elderly before admitting in the last sentence of the abstract that

Pre-existing antibodies due to natural [influenza] exposure appeared to positively influence vaccine-induced antibody responses.  With most subjects lacking previous history of influenza vaccination, the pre-vaccination titres were likely due to natural exposure and seen to match the pattern of influenza subtype prevalence in the time period of vaccination.” 

In other words, the thing that made arguably the biggest difference in the elderly was whether or not the individual had antibodies from previous flu exposures as opposed to vaccine exposure.

Allow me to talk about one of the chief reasons that flu vaccines don’t work as advertised (for instance, LAST YEAR we saw that 200 individuals had to be vaccinated in order to prevent a single case of flu —- even though this was touted as ‘10% vaccine efficacy’); a phenomenon known as genetic drift.  Less than three weeks ago, Frontiers in Microbiology published a collaboration between ten French and Israeli researchers titled Seasonal Genetic Drift of Human Influenza A Virus Quasispecies Revealed by Deep Sequencing.  Their conclusions included this sentence.  “Clear differences in single nucleotide polymorphism profiles between seasons for a given subtype also revealed the constant genetic drift that human influenza A virus quasispecies undergo.”  In other words, like the viruses responsible for the common cold, flu viruses are in a constant state of flux / mutation.

Do you think this “genetic drift” might adversely affect vaccine efficacy?  Let’s go to the experts and look at a few studies from a decade ago forward.

  • “By accumulating amino acid changes, the HA protein is said to ‘drift’ from one form, recognizable by host antibodies, to another form which is less recognizable and more successful at infecting vaccinated and unvaccinated hosts alike; this process is called antigenic drift. Antigenic drift can decrease a vaccine’s efficacy….”  From the July 2008 issue of Vaccine (Vaccination and Antigenic Drift in Influenza)
  • “The highly pathogenic H5N1 is a major avian pathogen that intensively affects the poultry industry in Egypt even in spite of the adoption of vaccination strategy. Antigenic drift is among the strategies the influenza virus uses to escape the immune system that might develop due to the pressure of extensive vaccination. H5N1 mutates in an intensified manner and is considered a potential candidate for the possible next pandemic with all the catastrophic consequences such an eventuality will entail.”  From the June 2011 issue of the Virology Journal (Genetic Drift Evolution Under Vaccination Pressure Among H5N1 Egyptian Isolates)
  • “Among military recruits in 2011, serum antibody response differed…… We hypothesize that antigen drift in circulating H1N1 viruses contributed to reduce vaccine effectiveness at Fort Jackson.”  From the April 2012 issue of PLoS One (Decreased Serologic Response in Vaccinated Military Recruits during 2011 Correspond to Genetic Drift in Concurrent Circulating Pandemic A/H1N1 Viruses)
  • “The 2010 Cochrane review on efficacy, effectiveness and safety of influenza vaccination in the elderly by Jefferson et al. covering dozens of clinical studies over a period of four decades, confirmed vaccine safety, but found no convincing evidence for vaccine effectiveness against disease thus challenging the ongoing efforts to vaccinate the elderly.  Vaccine efficacy values decrease with increasing antigenic distance between vaccine components and circulating strains.”  From a 2013 issue of Vaccine (Cochrane Re-arranged: Support for Policies to Vaccinate Elderly People Against Influenza)
  • “Given the uncertainty in the timing and nature of antigenically drifted variants, the findings highlight the difficulty in determining optimal vaccination dynamics for seasonal epidemics.  Frequent generation of influenza virus mutations is an important drawback for disease control, as reflected in the isolation of vaccine-escape viral mutants and in the antigenic variation of viral populations. The latter occurs at widely different rates due to the rapid drift of influenza viruses. If the new variant strains generated by drift are significantly different from predecessor strains, cross-protection conferred by vaccination or natural infection may diminish, thereby enabling antigenically drifted viruses to effectively escape from herd immunity.  The results indicate that optimizing vaccine distribution for susceptible, previously vaccinated, and previously infected individuals, is confounded by several factors, most notably by the effect of viral drift on the pre-existing immune protection and its duration of partial functionality.  Determining optimal vaccination strategies may not be achievable due to the unpredictability of the nature of viral drift and unknown protection levels of pre-existing immunity in the population.”  From the December 2013 issue of BMC Infectious Diseases (Impact of Viral Drift on Vaccination Dynamics and Patterns of Seasonal Influenza)
  • “Variations in vaccine effectiveness in association with genetic drift of circulating influenza strains are expected and the currently observed genetic drift in the circulating influenza strains does NOT affect our recommendations for influenza vaccinations. The influenza vaccines are still expected to offer meaningful protection against the current or other potentially upcoming circulating strains….  In the US, the interim estimate of overall vaccine effectiveness against medically attended influenza illness (incidence) is 23% this year as compared to 10-60% in the past decade.”  Flu vaccine schizophrenia from a January 2015 press release put out by the Hong Kong Medical Association
  • “However, knowledge of these components of effective immune responses has often been more useful in hindsight for explaining features of successful human vaccines, rather than providing a clear prescription for optimal design of new vaccines against challenging pathogen such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the Plasmodiuorganisms that cause malaria, or even influenza viruses that vary by antigenic shift and drift in successive years.”  From the March 2015 issue of Cell Host and Microbe (Predicting Vaccine Responsiveness)
  • “First, viral mutation (also known as drift) is an ongoing process, resulting in vaccine mismatch with circulating strains in some years and therefore decreased vaccine efficacy. Furthermore, influenza epidemiology is unfortunately characterized by dissociation between populations most likely to have severe disease (infants and elderly people), and populations most likely to benefit from vaccination (older children and adolescents—ie, those aged 2–16 years).”  From the February 2017 issue of Lancet (Have You Herd? Indirect Flu Vaccine Effects are Critically Important)
  • “Development of optimal vaccines for influenza is challenging, in part as a result of the high antigenic variability in field strains associated with genetic shift from reassortment and genetic drift from point mutations.”  From a 2017 issue of Perspectives in Biology (Is It Possible to Develop a “Universal” Influenza Virus Vaccine?)
  • “In 1960, the US Surgeon General issued a report recommending routine annual vaccination for older adults and others at high risk for influenza complications.  A child born in 2017 can therefore expect to receive 70–80 annual influenza vaccinations based on current recommendations.  Annual vaccination has been justified on the basis of influenza virus antigenic drift requiring periodic vaccine updates, and by the gradual decline in vaccine-induced antibody over time.  Signals of concern regarding potential negative effects of repeated vaccination were first raised four decades ago.  Epidemiological analyses of repeat immunization must consider the classical host–agent–environment triad: immunological landscapes that vary by age, birth cohort, host, vaccine strains, and antigenic drift of circulating viruses.”  From 2017’s Spring issue of Expert Review of Vaccines (Repeated Annual Influenza Vaccination and Vaccine Effectiveness: Review of Evidence).  This is one of the numerous studies saying not only that a flu shot this year means that next year’s vaccine will be even less effective than normal (HERE), but also that the already poor vaccine efficacy has a half life of 4-6 weeks (HERE)
  • “Flu vaccine season is already in full swing, with banners outside pharmacies urging: “Get Your Flu Shot Now.” What’s not advertised, however, is just how lackluster the vaccine is. The most commonly used flu shots protect no more than 60% of people who receive them; some years, effectiveness plunges to as low as 10%.  The influenza vaccine teaches the body to produce antibodies against the head of the virus’s surface protein, hemagglutinin (HA). Those antibodies ideally prevent HA from attaching to cellular receptors, thwarting infection. But HA’s head is highly mutable, which is why vaccine makers must come up with a new formula every year.  For many decades, researchers believed the flu vaccine offered solid protection if it was a good match to the circulating strains; studies from the 1940s through the 1960s routinely showed an efficacy of 70% to 90%. But those studies relied on a misleading methodology. Without a simple way to detect the virus in the blood, researchers measured antibody levels, looking for a spike that occurs after infection. Then in the 1990s, sensitive polymerase chain reaction tests enabled researchers to actually measure viral levels, and they told a different story. It turned out that some people who did not have the big antibody spike after exposure—and were therefore counted as a vaccine success—actually did show a jump in viral levels, signaling infection.”  From the September 2017 issue of Science (Why Flu Vaccines So Often Fail)
  • “Besides affecting vaccine efficacy, viral evolution [genetic drift] has been associated with changes in diagnostic test sensitivity…  Such variances have been observed with the introduction of pandemic strains as well as with drift in established cell culture reliability has also been influenced at times, with changes in cell line permissiveness.”  From the January 2018 issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology (The Drift in Molecular Testing for Influenza: Mutations Affecting Assay Performance)
  • “While the H1N1 subtype strain recommended for vaccine use has remained constant in the seven seasons between 2010 and 2016, the circulating strain of H1N1 influenza (2009 pandemic subtype) has drifted both genetically and antigenically since 2009. Influenza drift reduces the efficacy of the inactivated vaccine antigen.”  From the January 2018 issue of Frontiers in Immunology (Mouse Models of Influenza Infection with Circulating Strains to Test Seasonal Vaccine Efficacy)
  • “Amid predictions that this year’s flu vaccine will offer limited protection, medical researchers are renewing their focus on a universal flu vaccine.  During the nine or more months before flu season begins, the virus undergoes ‘genetic drift’ as it evolves and reasserts its genetics. Such drift is a major reason why, even in healthy adults, influenza vaccines are only 10 to 60 percent protective.”  From FluGen’s January 2018 PRESS RELEASE (As Influenza Looms, Madison Firm Advances Human Trials of Revolutionary Vaccine )

Firstly, I could have probably given you hundreds more examples.  Secondly, I could have included a whole other section showing that poor flu vaccine efficacy is not solely a basis of viral genetic variation / mutation, but of host (human) genetic variation as well.  This is why many experts believe the quest for a UNIVERSAL FLU VACCINE sounds noble but is nothing short of a pipe dream.  The advice from the people with the power, however, never changes. 

No matter how bad the effectiveness of the flu vaccine was, is, or is predicted to be (THIS YEAR’S VACCINE is predicted to be about the same effectiveness as last year’s, which was ballpark 10%), the mantra is always the same; get your flu shot anyway — something seen in the title of the quote from the Forbes article at the very top of the page.  That same article made this absurd statement after trying to convince readers that 1/3 vaccine effectiveness is not so bad after all.  “If you have flu-like symptoms, go see the doctor immediately, and tell them that the CDC (not me) is recommending that any of the two or three antiviral drugs for influenza should be used if your symptoms are indeed determined to be consistent with influenza, even in the absence of a blood test.”  Really?

First of all it’s not news that none of the antivirals are very effective (neither TAMIFLU or the ridiculously overhyped new kid on the block, XOFLUZA).  Secondly, have you seen the research on Tamiflu (oseltamivir) that came out just last week?  On November 12th, the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy carried a study by a South Korean team titled Risk of Neuropsychiatric Adverse Events Associated with the Use of Oseltamivir: A Nationwide Population-Based Case-Crossover Study that concluded “the short-term use of oseltamivir triggers the incidence of NPAEs.”  What is a NPAE you ask?  It’s a “neuropsychiatric adverse event“. 

Why would this team be asking questions about NPAE’s now?  It might have to do with the “trust us” distortion factor of previous research on this topic; including an almost identical 11 year old study (Assessment of Neuropsychiatric Adverse Events in Influenza Patients Treated with Oseltamivir) and it’s 2012 follow-up (Post-Marketing Assessment of Neuropsychiatric Adverse Events in Influenza Patients Treated with Oseltamivir: An Updated Review), that used common industry parlor tricks to explain away similar findings.  So; even though Tamiflu has been around since 1999, and Cochrane concluded in 2014 that it neither reduces flu-related complications nor hospitalizations, it continues to be heavily pushed, all while we continue to learn juicy little tidbits that were being observed and debated a decade and a half ago.

“We conducted a population-based case-crossover study using the National Sample Cohort data from the National Health Insurance Service in South Korea. From a total of 236 ,348 incident patients with NPAEs as either a primary or secondary diagnosis….  Matched analyses found a consistently increased risk of NPAEs associated with the use of oseltamivir in the 2 day (190%), 7 day (132%), 14 day (128%), 28 day (125%) and 56 day (113%) hazard periods compared with use in the control periods.”

What exactly does this mean?  It means that people who had taken TAMIFLU had greater chances of having one or more NPAE’s.  Here is a list of the most common NPAE’s; suicide, attempted suicide, suicidal ideation, ANXIETY & DEPRESSION, abnormal dreams / nightmares / night terrors, aggression, FATIGUE, insomnia and other signs of SYMPATHETIC HYPER-STIMULATION, confusion, DEMENTIA, disorientation, SEIZURES, irritability, sleep disorders, somnolence (an almost NARCOLEPTIC state of exhaustion), dizziness, VERTIGO, paresthesias (numbness, tingling, crawlies, or numerous other abnormal sensations), and even death.

My point is simply this; flu vaccines are not even remotely as beneficial or effective as they are constantly touted via GOVERNMENT or BIG PHARMA mouthpieces and their propaganda propagators in the media.  To see all my posts on INFLUENZA, simply click the link.  And if you are one of those people looking to turn your life around and get healthy in the process, HERE is a post that may be helpful in starting the process of reducing inflammation and possibly even regulating (AS OPPOSED TO “BOOSTING“) your immune system.  Don’t forget to like, share or follow on FACEBOOK either since it’s one of the best ways I know to reach the people you love and care about most.


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