Last week I covered what the influenza vaccination is, the ingredients in it and how the serum is made by predicting the type of flu strain for the upcoming year. I am now going to write about how the CDC uses mass media to get higher compliance on taking the shot, the side effects of the flu shot, why the vaccine is really not “preventative”, and how the CDC calculates the number of deaths related to influenza. Also, I will be providing links to educational websites to that a person can make up their own mind as to whether taking the “shot” is worth the risks.
“Recipe that fosters higher interest and demand for influenza vaccine”
In 2004, a campaign was targeted at vaccinating not just the high risk groups, but also the healthy populations. Glen Nowak, Ph.D., acting director of media relations for the CDC and associate director for communications, NIP, CDC, put on a slide show that he presented at the 2004 National Influenza Vaccine Summit that focused on” fostering fear and demand, particularly among people who don’t routinely receive an annual influenza vaccination, requires creating concern, anxiety and worry.”
What are the side effects and safety of the flu shot and how prevalent are they?
Common side effects to the influenza vaccine are wheezing, Guillain Barre syndrome, encephalopathy, fever, respiratory infection, pain at injection site, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. I listed the package inserts on the previous post, which you can look up the various side effects for each. Dr Sherry Tenpenny has a Facebook page listing a partial list of adverse events and awards paid out by the U.S. government resulting from the flu shot. Facebook page partial listing adverse events and payout of U.S. for flu vaccine The one vaccine I am most concerned with is the Flumist, a nasal administered vaccine which continues to shed live viruses up to 28 days. This means that the person receiving the vaccine can spread the flu virus to another for up to 28 days from date of vaccination. Of course the insert says this is a rare event-
Influenza vaccines are either category B or C drugs (per FDA), which means that adequate and well-controlled studies on pregnant women have not been conducted and it is not known whether these vaccines can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or if they can affect reproduction capacity. Pregnancy categories and drugs
The CDC states the flu shot is safe for pregnant women. CDC says flu shot safe for pregnant women
Which should you believe-the CDC stating the vaccine is safe for pregnant women or the FDA drug classification stating that safety has not been proven?
Why is the flu shot really not “preventative”?
Think about it- there are over 200 strains of H1N1 influenza virus alone. The CDC tries to predict the strain that is going to be prevalent for the upcoming season. Predicting the next year’s strain is quite a tricky prospect. Going back to the first article I wrote, I listed the vaccine insert links. The effectiveness is considered to be around 50% overall. The 2013 vaccine was only 9% effective in the age 65 and older group. Flu Vaccine only 9% effective in population age 65 and older
How does the CDC arrive at the flu shot effectiveness statistics? Public health researchers measure how well flu vaccines work through different kinds of studies. “Randomized studies,” in which people are randomly assigned to receive either vaccine or placebo (i.e., salt water solution), and then followed to see how many in each group get the flu, are the “gold standard” (best method) for determining how well a vaccine works. The effects of vaccination measured in these studies is called “efficacy.” How the CDC establishes flu shot efficacy
Statistics can be easily manipulated. Dr Mercola has a pretty informative article on the difference between relative risk and absolute risk in regards to the flu shot statistics. It is beyond the scope of this article to go into the vast field of statistics, however if you are interested, here is a link: Relative verses absolute risk statistics
How does the CDC calculate the number of deaths related to the flu?
In order to understand the statistics the CDC puts forth for deaths from influenza, we must first look at the way the system classifies diseases and procedures. According to Wikipedia:
ICD-10 is the 10th revision of the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), a medical classification list by the World Health Organization (WHO). It codes for diseases, signs and symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances, and external causes of injury or diseases.
The code set allows more than 14,400 different codes and permits the tracking of many new diagnosis. The codes can be expanded to over 16,000 codes by using optional sub-classifications. The detail reported by ICD can be further increased, with a simplified multi-axial approach, by using codes meant to be reported in a separate data field. Wikipedia definition of ICD codes
The codes listed in the National Vitals Statistics report, Volume 61, number 4 for 2010- page 5, lists the cause of death based on ICD 10 codes for influenza and pneumonia as J09- J18 at 50,097 deaths lumped together. Page 39 of the same report breaks it down to 500 deaths for influenza (J09-J11) and pneumonia, remember, WITHOUT INFLUENZA diagnosis or as a complication (J12-J18) at 49,597 deaths. Compare page 5 with page 39 influenza and pneumonia deaths
I looked up exactly what code corresponded with what disease.
J09- is avian influenza
J10- influenza due to influenza virus. This was further broken down into subset such as influenza with pneumonia or respiratory complications
J11- influenza, virus NOT identified. With this diagnosis, it was further broken down into subsets, such as influenza with pneumonia or respiratory complications.
J12-J18- Are pneumonia- different types and strains NO INFLUENZA VIRUS DIAGNOSED. This was arbitrarily lumped in with the influenza statistics –
In other words, Influenza killed 500 people in 2010
Pneumonia WITHOUT a diagnosis or as a complication of influenza killed 49,597.
Educational sites to make up your own mind: