Wednesday Dec 10, 2008 (foodconsumer.org) -- At this time
of the year (winter), flu becomes an issue.
People are wondering all the time whether or not they should get flu
shots. They want to know the safety and effectiveness of the drug the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends for more than children and
People who want to have flu shots believe that the drug
can save their lives and prevent the disease.
Flu can be dangerous in certain cases. But it is
not as deadly as you are led to believe and flu vaccine is not as effective as
you thought at preventing the disease and reducing death risk.
Medical workers always say that flu kills 36,000 each
But the fact may not be the same.
Dr. Joe Mercola, a physician who advocates
natural health, said on his website "This is simply not true." He said
CDC reports show that "only 1,138 deaths are caused by the flu each year.
The other 34,000-plus are caused by pneumonic and cardiovascular deaths."
Regardless of the real number of deaths, he said flu
vaccine does not help reduce your death risk nor prevent the flu.
He cited studies to support his arguments.
One recent study published in the October issue of the
Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine found flu vaccine did not have any
impact on children's flu-related hospitalizations or doctor visits during two
recent flu seasons.
One review of 51 studies, published in the Cochrane
Database of Systematic Reviews in 2006, found no evidence either that the flu
vaccine is more effective for children than a placebo.
And no studies showed that flu shots prevent flu-related
deaths among the elderly.
Flu virus strains are constantly mutating and the vaccine
makers have no way of knowing exactly what strains would dominate in next flu
Because of this, construction of
a flu vaccine for a season is based on researchers’ guess and recommendations
from the government.
The efficacy of flu
vaccine depending on how the vaccine is constructed is often times no more than
48 percent, according to the CDC.
According to Dr. Mercola , the flu vaccine recommended in
2004 by the CDC didn't even contain the influenza strain causing most of the
flu that year, meaning that the flu can’t prevent flu.
"In some years when vaccine and circulating strains
were not well-matched, no vaccine effectiveness can be demonstrated in some
studies, even in healthy adults. It is not possible in advance of the influenza
season to predict how well the vaccine and circulating strains will be matched,
and how that match may affect the degree of vaccine effectiveness," the CDC
Probably because of the ineffectiveness of flu vaccine
and other issues including safety, as many as 75 percent do not get flu
vaccine, according to Dr. Mercola.
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