Influenza vaccines are recommended each year by the CDC and the mainstream medical community, but many people still wonder whether or not they should get one. Influenza vaccines are not for everyone, but they can be very important for people who are at high risk for developing complications of the flu, such as the elderly or people with compromised immune systems. The rest of the population can be left wondering why they should get it. Does it even work?
The influenza vaccines are usually composed of three different strains of Influenza which are predicted to be most prevalent each year based upon samples taken from over 100 national influenza centers around the globe. Samples are taken from people who are suspected to have the flu and then sent to 5 World Health Organization (WHO) centers around the world. With this data the WHO makes a recommendation to the FDA as to what strains of the flu are most likely to be problematic each year. The FDA then makes the final decision as to what strains to include in that year’s seasonal flu shot.
The CDC claims that getting the annual flu vaccine is the best way to prevent getting the flu. However, studies indicate that the flu vaccine is very inconsistent and its effectiveness can fall anywhere between 3% and 60%. It could be argued that good hygiene, in the form of handwashing, is the best method of illness prevention. People should be careful to cover their mouths and noses while coughing or sneezing and to frequently wash their hands with soap and warm water. If you become sick do not go to work or school just to end up sharing your illness with others.
Studies published by the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Oxford’s International Journal of Epidemiology critique the data collected by the CDC and the corresponding conclusions reached. The latter cites significant bias in the selection of elderly adults who would be given the vaccine.
Since the CDC recommends that specific populations of people need to get the vaccine every year they should share with people the reasons why influenza vaccines are not for everyone. By a simple process of elimination most skeptics realize that if it is more important for some groups of people to get the vaccine then it is less important for others. Despite saying these things the CDC tells people that anyone who is over 6 months of age should get an annual flu vaccine.
You may be wondering what other options you have. In a personal interview, Jim Fain, Naturopathic Doctor and former chief of nuclear medicine at UCLA said that once a person gets the vaccine they should continue getting it each year. People who got last year’s vaccine and not this year’s are more likely to get sick. Similarly, if a person gets a vaccine and it does not cover the correct strain, and they contract a different one, they will get much more ill than if they had not gotten the vaccine at all.
Jim Fain suggests that going into the fall it is most important to “optimize vitamin D levels.” If a person starts to get sick he recommends they take Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE), high doses of Monolaurin, and says that sometimes taking a mushroom extract can be beneficial. While he and his staff come into contact with many people who are sick each year, they follow this routine and “none of them have gotten sick in years.” Doctor Fain agrees that the flu vaccine is not for everyone, but if a person wants it they should get it. He tells skeptics that he himself does not get them. So decide for yourself.
By: Lara Stielow
Personal Interview with Jim Fain