First Do No Harm

Flu — Statistics, Vaccinations, and Prevention

I found a post on Facebook by a friend in which he admitted his fear of a future Spanish Flu like epidemic here in America, especially because so many people have become anti-vaccination. I’m pretty sure that he thinks I’m one of them, though, actually, I believe that especially with vaccinations, everything in moderation. I know that mercury is not good for the human body and I’m a bit leery of the 20+ vaccinations in a newborn with a rudimentary and nascent immune system (especially with mercury).

Let’s face it, medical science purports to be scientific with peer reviewed studies which are supposed to be the “gold standard” of studies: I’m talking double blind studies.

I say purports because the actual practice of medicine is not like the “study” of medicine.

When more than two drugs are prescribed/mixed at any one time, all those double blind studies go out the window. Nobody knows what will happen in the person taking three or more drugs at once just as nobody knows what will happen when a newborn gets hit with up to 30 vaccinations in such a short span of time. There are no studies.

I’ve been told that we do know what will happen when a baby isn’t vaccinated: it will die.

I would like to believe there is a happy medium here, but the “controversy” over vaccines is as polarized as our current political system in the US.

Besides, in just a few shakes you’ll read that when the H1N1 first hit us, babies were actually safe.

So, with temperatures rising over the coming bird flu epidemic, I thought I’d look into epidemics, vaccinations, and vaccinations against epidemics.

With a rise in any given population, we see changes in the behaviors of that population, especially when that population is bulging up against limits. Studies abound using rats and mice in “limitation studies,” and in cases extreme overpopulation, the changes these critters undergo are not pretty; their society breaks down and cannibalism becomes “what’s for dinner.”

Another situation a burgeoning population encounters is mass extinction due to contagion. Though theories abound concerning the relatively rapid extermination of the dinosaur involving asteroids and meteorites, they don’t satisfy all scholars because rodents, and other early mammals, along with smaller reptiles, like frogs and toads, should have met their demise along with those dinosaurs. One of my favorite theories is that because of a change in climate (yes, climates do change on their own but that in itself is not proof that human’s have nothing to do with our recent climate change) these gigantic creatures were able (or forced) to migrate and meet up with other dinosaurs who could have been carriers for diseases for which the new guests had never built immunity; and thus they quickly dropped dead.

When a population starts getting out of hand, the possibility of mass extinction through contagion increases dramatically.

The world’s populations are starting to reach limits. There are those who say science and technology will come to the rescue and extend those limits. There are those who say mass extinction by disease, drought, and famine (not to mention wars caused by those same issues) will keep populations in check. Personally, I’m one of those who hopes we can come up with saner and more humanitarian methods of coping and somehow come together to attain Zero Population Growth.

But for now, our focus is the flu (which, my friend fears will wipe us all out because of people  refusing to be vaccinatedlike me).

First, let us define epidemic. An epidemic occurs when new cases of a specific illness or disease, during a specific time, exceed substantially what is expected based on previous experience.

In other words, the cold and flu season is just a cold and flu season until someone declares it to be an epidemic because the number of cases (of cold or flu) are much, much greater than we would normally see during your normal cold and flu season.

Surely you can see problems with this definition, though one huge problem is when anyone with letters behind his/her name (MD, PhD, DDS) suddenly decides to call out “epidemic,” the news media jumps all over it.

At times like these, it is the media we have to fear more than the contagion.

Our news media love to scare the population. This is how they make their money and increase viewership. In 2011 we heard “flu epidemic” in the news and in 2012 we heard it again.

From the end of September to the end of December, in 2012 there were 22,048 flu cases reported, while the year previous for that time reported only 849 cases, but in both years, the media flaunted the word “epidemic.” [http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/]

Transmission of a flu bug occurs more readily between individuals in areas of denser populations. People living and working in the cities have a greater chance of coming into contact with a flu bug than those living and working in rural areas. However, here’s something you might not know: children who have the flu actually exhale more flu viruses and exhale them for longer periods than adults. As Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, put it, this makes children the “great distributors of influenza virus.” [http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2013/01/10/flu-season-2012-13-by-the-numbers-how-bad-is-it/]

Now let’s take a look at the famous Spanish Flu that spread world wide during the first world war.

It is also called the 1918 Flu Pandemic, and pandemic for a good reason as it affected 500 million people around the globe killing somewhere between 50 – 100 million, or 3-5% of the earth’s population. Most flu epidemics kill the young, the elderly, and the already ill, but this one killed mainly young adults with strong immune systems. It seems, the bug created what doctors today would call a “cytokine storm,” which is basically an over-reaction by the immune system. This is what killed the patients, not the actual flu bug. The flu bug just set the whole process in motion.

Interestingly enough, this is also the first time we ran up against the H1N1 virus; the second time being 2009, our Swine Flu Pandemic that killed between 294,500 and 579,000 people, mostly in Southeast Asia and Africa.

In America, the 1918 Spanish Flu affected 28% of our population of 104,514,000, or 29,263,920 people. It killed approximately 2% (the number of estimated deaths is between 500,000 and 675,000). Since it took young, healthy adults, it ended up killing more soldiers than we'd lost in combat during WWI.

The next time we see this bug, in 2009, it kills only 3,642 people in all of North America, but this time instead of dying from an overcharged immune system, what killed most people with the bug was acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), or simply put, pneumonia.

Knowing all this, let’s get back to our original discussion: what would happen if a Spanish Flu like pandemic struck today with people not getting vaccinated.

First we have to take a look at our population.

Right now we have an estimated 315,000,000 people living in America. If 28% got hit with that same kind of Spanish Flu bug, that would mean (using the same percentages from 1918) 88,200,000 people would get sick. If 2% died, that would amount to 1,764,000 deaths. This is what we could expect if history were to repeat itself and no one got vaccinated.

How effective is the flu vaccine?

From the CDC’s own site we get the figure, 60%. I took a look at the math involved and was truly impressed because I didn’t understand a thing on that entire page. But I do have a friend who is a master mathematician and I sent him to look at it. He wrote back to me that he too was impressed, but also pointed out that it was their initial assumption upon which all that math was based. And so where did they get the initial assumption? It was a guess. An educated guess.

You see, to truly find out how effective anything is, people have to be sampled and their data compiled. This would consist of a huge cohort study, the type where individuals are asked questions and all their answers are added up, down, and sideways. Using a mathematical model (rather than a cohort study) means first establishing an initial assumption (in this case, an educated guess) and then performing a variety of statistical analyses from that assumption.

So what we’ve got here is the CDC claiming that they have a 60% success rate with their flu vaccine, or a 40% failure rate.

Yet the flu itself was only caught by 28% in the first place. This is where our discussion of rural v urban populations, kids exhaling the virus longer than adults, and population growth comes into play.

And we can’t forget that there are, simply, some people who are just immune to certain bugs.

Let’s use the CDC’s numbers and vaccinate just the 88,200,000 people (28% of our current population) who would have caught the virus in the first place; that way, only 40% of them would now get sick (the 40% for whom the vaccine does not work), or 35,280,000; and if 2% of those died, that number would be: 705,600 deaths.

What we see here, mathematically, with only those who would catch the flu being vaccinated, we’re still going to bury more than died from the original Spanish Flu.

To make this subject even more interesting:

There are those who feel the CDC’s numbers are rigged.

A report reviewing evidence of protection against flu over 45 years found that flu vaccines “lack consistent evidence of protection” in the elderly.

Experts are concerned that previous studies were poorly done with two major failings resulting in inaccurate statistics. [Scientists Warn Evidence for Flu Vaccine Is ‘Biased’]

And since, obviously, not everyone catches the flu, can the rest of us take preventive steps beyond an injection to keep flu free when the season hits?

Here are Ten reasons you should think twice before getting a flu vaccine and at the end of that article is another article showing how Natural alternatives to the flu shot prove just as effective.

It really comes down to a personal decision, though your author (and my friends and family) have not had a bout with the flu since discovering Del-Immune V. There are many ways of boosting immunity thru nutrition. A good vitamin D-3 has shown to help prevent the flu. Maintaining your anti-oxidants can help, along with mushroom extracts (beta glucan). And if a Spanish Flu type bug should hit again that kills only those with healthy immune systems (keep in mind that the “cytokine storm” referred to earlier can only happen after the bug has taken hold; until that time) its your initial defense that keeps the bug from getting to that point.

If the patient's immune system should start to kill the patient, we have a host of immunomodulators (they “modulate,” or bring down, the immune response) such as Aloe Vera, PCM-4, Moducare™ Sterinol™, and from China, Tripterygium Wilfordii hook. [http://www.mnwelldir.org/docs/immune/immune2.htm#Immunomodulators]

Again, it’s a personal choice. And again, though I am not a vaccination denier, I’m still pretty sure that we need to study the effects of multiple vaccinations on newborns, and that we have to remove those preservatives from vaccines that we know for certain are harmful. They've removed mercury from vaccinations for our pets. Perhaps it's time to do the same for human vaccinations.

Let’s face it: the medical industry is working harder at taking away your right to sue for damages than they are working trying to preventing those damages. But that’s another story.

To find out just how much the industry is doing to take away your rights to fight back in court should you be injured, I truly suggest you check out the documentary, Hot Coffee.

Further Reading (Viewing)

Vaccine Nation A documentary, free online.

Ian's Voice

Dr Ghislaine Lanctôt, The Medical Mafia


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