Joseph Mercola, DO [medical doctor]
February 12, 2011
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is looking into an uptick in young children having febrile seizures following a flu shot. There have now been 36 confirmed reports of such seizures during the current flu season.
All of the seizures took place less than a day after the children were given Fluzone. Fluzone is currently the sole flu shot recommended for very young children in the U.S.
Google News reports: “The [FDA] said recommendations for using the vaccine have not changed, nor has there been any change in flu vaccine guidance … FDA officials said they’ve been paying special attention to seizure reports because of an unexplained higher rate of fevers and seizures in young children in Australia and New Zealand who got a specific flu vaccine earlier this year.” Sources: Google News January 21, 2011
Seizures are not unheard of following flu vaccination. In April last year, Australia suspended its seasonal flu program for children under the age of 5 because of an abnormal number of febrile seizures occurring within 12 hours of vaccination.
Australia’s flu season precedes ours, so we can look to them for a preview of vaccine issues. By June of 2010, more than 1,000 adverse reactions in children under the age of 5 had been reported, and high fevers, vomiting and convulsions were the most widely reported reactions!
The U.S. Did NOT Take Warning from Australia’s Flu Vaccine Side Effects
I warned a few months later that, just like 2009 where the experience in Australia with the swine flu was replicated precisely in the United States, you would see many of these same side effects emerge in U.S. children.
The Sydney Morning Herald even reported last fall that:
“[Australian] public health experts have called for an independent body to monitor drug safety after it emerged that young children were more likely to end up in hospitals because of side effects from a flu vaccine than they were from the disease itself.
The analysis contradicts government safety advice that the harm did not outweigh the risk and raises concerns about the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s assessment of the vaccine.”
It seems the beginnings of this trend are now appearing in the United States, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating a similar chain of events, with 36 confirmed reports of seizures among children aged 6 months to 2 years occurring within one day of vaccination with Fluzone, the only flu vaccine recommended for infants and children up to 23 months.
You may not feel so safe giving this “pediatric” vaccine to your kids once you look at the information in the Fluzone package insert, though, as it looks like they came to the conclusion it was safe by testing it on a grand total of 31 kids between the ages of 6-36 months. The insert also specifically lists seizures (convulsions) as a Serious Adverse Event found during “post-marketing” analysis of the drug.
Serious Reactions to Flu Vaccine Alarmingly Common
For the past several years, physicians in America have been insisting that every child age 6 months to 18 years must get an annual flu shot. Making matters worse, health officials have now ramped up those recommendations, telling EVERY person over the age of 6 months get a flu shot, healthy or not, low risk or high.
Everyone. Over 300 million Americans, every year from the year you are born until the year you die.
Unfortunately, the safety of these shots is highly questionable, and even more so now that the new trivalent vaccine containing influenza A, influenza B, and 2009 pandemic swine flu (H1N1) strains is being administered.
In Finland, France and Sweden, narcolepsy was reported in teenage children in response to Pandemrix monovalent swine flu vaccine, leading the Finnish government to suspend its use. In Korea, nearly 2,600 swine flu vaccine side effects were reported as of August 2010, ranging from allergic reactions to fevers to headaches—and including 10 deaths.
According to Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), a special government committee has also been created to investigate the 2009/2010 H1N1 monovalent “swine flu” vaccine for signs it may be associated with more adverse reactions. What the committee found out provisionally is that there were three signs of increased reaction risks with the 2009/2010 H1N1 swine flu vaccine, which is now in this year’s trivalent influenza vaccine.
Fisher outlined these three primary health concerns in an influenza vaccine update:
- Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), an autoimmune disease that has been associated with influenza vaccine since 1976, when the swine flu vaccine was first used. In fact, British government health experts acknowledged the link between the H1N1 vaccine and an increased risk of GBS last fall. Prior to this public admittance, the government had always denied such a link
- Idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP), an autoimmune disorder, is a blood clotting disorder characterized by insufficient platelets
- Bell’s palsy, a reaction causing temporary facial paralysis
And, remember, all vaccines are immune suppressive — that is, they suppress your immune system, which may not return to normal for weeks to months. Here are just some of the ways vaccines impair and alter your immune response:
- Some components in vaccines are neurotoxic and may cause immune and brain dysfunction, particularly heavy metals such as mercury preservatives and aluminum adjuvants
- The lab-altered vaccine viruses and bacteria themselves may further impair your immune response
- Foreign DNA/RNA from animal tissues can wreak havoc in your body and trigger serious health problems for some people
- Vaccines may alter your t-cell function and lead you to become chronically ill
- Vaccines can trigger allergies by introducing large foreign protein molecules into your body that have not been properly broken down by your digestive tract (since they are injected). Your body can respond to these foreign particles in the form of an allergic reaction
Flu Shots are Not Proven Effective in Young Kids
If you’re going to risk side effects like seizure, it had better be for a medical procedure that will significantly lower your risk of serious disease … but that is not at all the case with flu shots. Giving young children flu shots appeared to have no impact on flu-related doctor visits or hospitalizations during two recent flu seasons, according to a study published in the October 2008 issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine.
The flu vaccine was also found to be no more effective for children under 2 than a placebo, according to a large-scale, systematic review of 51 studies, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. The authors stated:
“In children under the age of two, the efficacy of inactivated vaccine was similar to placebo. It was not possible to analyze the safety of vaccines from the studies due to the lack of standardization in the information given but very little information was found on the safety of inactivated vaccines, the most commonly used vaccine, in young children.”
You may also not be aware that only about 20 percent of flu-like illnesses are actually caused by influenza type A or B, according to CDC. The other 80 percent are caused by more than 200 other bugs that can make you feel just as sick — respiratory syncytial virus, bocavirus, coronavirus, and rhinovirus, to name a few. Of course, the flu shot will do virtually nothing to prevent those latter viruses that cause 80 percent of flu-like symptoms. As the authors stated again in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews:
“Neither type [injected or nasal spray vaccine] was particularly good at preventing ‘flu-like illness’ caused by other types of viruses (33% and 36% respectively).”
The Best Ways to Avoid the Flu …
Every day you’re around viruses and bacteria, and when you’re healthy, you usually don’t get sick. But even if you do get sick, most healthy adults and children will not have a problem with influenza. If you do come down with influenza and have a good immune response, you will likely quickly recover without serious complications, as well as obtain natural immunity to that strain of influenza and to similar ones.
Further, what is often NOT explained to parents and others considering a flu vaccine is that there are methods far superior to vaccinations to prevent the flu.
Following these simple guidelines will keep your immune system in optimal working order so that you’re far less likely to acquire the infection to begin with … and without any risks.
- Optimize your vitamin D levels. This is one of the absolute best strategies for avoiding infections of ALL kinds, and vitamin D deficiency is likely the TRUE culprit behind getting sick during the winter “flu season” — not the influenza virus itself. This is probably the single most important and least expensive action you can take. I would STRONGLY urge you to have your vitamin D level monitored to confirm your levels are therapeutic at 50-70 ng/ml and done by a reliable vitamin D lab like Lab Corp.
- Avoid Sugar and Processed Foods. Sugar decreases the function of your immune system almost immediately, and as you likely know, a strong immune system is key to fighting off viruses and other illness. Be aware that sugar is present in foods you may not suspect, like ketchup and fruit juice.
- Get Enough Rest. Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you’re tired, if your body is overly fatigued it will be harder for you to fight the flu. Be sure to check out my article Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep for some great tips to help you get quality rest.
- Have Effective Tools to Address Stress. We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness. If you feel that stress is taking a toll on your health, consider using an energy psychology tool such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which is remarkably effective in relieving stress associated with all kinds of events, from work to family to trauma.
- Exercise. When you exercise, you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of finding an illness before it spreads. You can review my new Peak Fitness program for tips.
- Take a Good Source of Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats. Increase your intake of healthy and essential fats like the omega-3 found in krill oil, which is crucial for maintaining health. It is also vitally important to avoid damaged omega-6 oils that are trans fats and in processed foods as it will seriously damage your immune response.
- Wash Your Hands. Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don’t use antibacterial soap for this — antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary, and they cause far more harm than good. Instead, identify a simple chemical-free soap that you can switch your family to.
- Use Natural Antibiotics. Examples include oil of oregano and garlic. These work like broad-spectrum antibiotics against bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in your body. And unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics, they do not appear to lead to resistance.
- Avoid Hospitals and Vaccines. Hospitals are prime breeding grounds for infections of all kinds, and could be one of the likeliest places you could be exposed to a new bug. So unless you absolutely have to go to the hospital for a medical emergency, avoid it.
Finally, if you or your child has had a reaction to a flu vaccine, be sure to report it to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a national vaccine safety surveillance program. It was an increase in reported seizures to VAERS following flu vaccination in children that prompted this latest investigation, and it’s important that these types of serious events are recorded.
An important aspect of VAERS is that anyone can both read and post vaccine adverse events to this database. So if your doctor discounts your concerns when your child regresses or gets ill after a vaccine, you can and should report them yourself — and that’s what people are doing in record numbers.