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A strange vaccine-related phenomenon spotted in Canada at the start of the 2009 flu pandemic may well have been real, a new study suggests.
Researchers, led by Vancouver's Dr. Danuta Skowronski, an influenza expert at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, noticed in the early weeks of the pandemic that people who got a flu shot for the 2008-09 winter seemed to be more likely to get infected with the pandemic virus than people who hadn't received a flu shot.
Five studies done in several provinces showed the same unsettling results. But initially research outside Canada did not, and the effect was dismissed as a "Canadian problem," a problem with the flu vaccine used in Canada.
But a new study suggests the findings were real.
Skowronski and a group of researchers have recreated the event in ferrets. Their findings were presented Sun-day at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a major international infectious diseases conference taking place in San Francisco.
Skowronski, who outlined the work at a webcast press conference, worked with 32 ferrets, giving half the 2008 seasonal flu shot and the rest a placebo injection. The work was blinded, meaning the researchers didn't know which ferrets received which shot. Later, all the ferrets were infected with the pandemic H1N1 virus.
The ferrets in the vaccine group became significantly sicker than the other animals, though all recovered.
"The findings are consistent with the increased risk that we saw in the human studies," Skowronski said.
The reason is unclear and Skowronski urged other research groups to take up the question. She said it's important to get to the root before the next pandemic. But in the meantime, Skow-ronski insisted the findings should not deter people from getting flu shots.
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver
I find this last piece of advice rather interesting:
"Skow-ronski insisted the findings should not deter people from getting flu shots."
I conclude that we should be very cautious about relying on flu vaccines for protection against flu epidemics. What this research further tells me is we should be concentrating our public health promotion efforts on ensuring that populations have much robust natural immune systems, rather than relying on unreliable technology to protect us from bugs like the flu. In coming to these conclusions, we must also bear in mind that
"One swallow does not make a Summer"
We have evolved over millions of years to coexist with bugs of every kind imaginable. Most of these bugs do us no harm, or when we catch them, the healthy Human will, in most cases, shrug off the infection in about 10 days after which there will be the best part of lifelong immunity or resistance to it - and resistance to future variants.
Where bugs do the most harm is when a person's immune system is weak. This is very common nowadays due to nutrient-compromised foods, widespread environmental toxins, drugs/medicines and an ageing population that previously would have been thinned out from famine, industrial accidents, child birth and war. And infection from poor sanitation (mostly eliminated nowadays).
Why do vaccines appear to give only partial, temporary immunity?A good example is the tetanus vaccine which requires regular booster shots. Or the Gardisil vaccine for Herpes which may require successive shots to ensure a reasonable immunity.
If you want to learn more about how we acquire immunity, please read this online lecture on the topic:
In a nutshell, what may be happening is the weak vaccine-initiated immune response is too weak to shunt the immune process through all stages of acquiring powerful and lasting immunity. It fizzes out partway, leaving the person vulnerable to future infection.
Here are a number of things you can do for yourself and your family to ensure your immune system is in good condition:
- Ensure your diet is rich in betacarotene, vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C, zinc and magnesium (A Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis takes out the guessing). This is most essential during puberty, pregnancy, periods of illness, stress and when on medication. For example, when a girl goes through puberty her zinc requirements soar, rendering her extremely vulnerable to severe viral, fungal and yeast infections - if she is zinc deficient (most are!).
- Get a little daily natural vitamin D from supplements or from the sun. Avoid, at all costs, medical megadoses of synthetic vitamin D! A dribble of about 1,000iu of natural D per day is about right.
- Avoid toxins that weaken the immune system. Toxins include most medicines, excessive alcohol, food additives, environmental pollutants such as exhaust fumes and even many cosmetics.
- Get rid of or mitigate unnecessary stress. Excessive and constant stress smashes and confuses the immune system.
- Get regular sleep. Be in bed and asleep by 10am and awake by 7am. Children need more sleep.
- Get regular but not exhausting exercise. Preferably outdoors. It should leave you invigorated - not wasted.
- Here's a radical suggestion: Expose yourself to dirt, colds and flus when you are in excellent health. Sure, you might end up off work for a few days; but you'll shrug it off within 10 days and then have immunity for life. In the case of flu each one contracted naturally primes your immune system against future variations. Complete avoidance may leave your immune system more vulnerable for the really nasty variant should one end up doing the rounds!
- Wash your hands, but go easy on the antibacterial wipes and sprays.
I am definitely not anti-vaccinationVaccines do have their place, such as for protection against the really nasty of the nasty bugs, such as tetanus. What I do have a serious problem with is the vast vaccine industry that is fueled by massive profits. This industry knows no limits. There are millions of bugs out there and if this this industry and those that profit from it, had their way they would have us taking a vaccine for protection against every single one! Or so this would appear to be the motivation. Of course, this is sheer fantasy but I think we have already gone too far down this track.
Its not a surprise that all the fear-mongering about the flu and other bugs does not include sensible advice about how to strengthen you and your family's immune health. Your immune system is your first and most powerful line of defense against ALL infections! Why is it not a surprise it is largely ignored?
Because there's no money in it!
We have to draw the line somewhere because we can't vaccinate against anything and there is the possibility that too many vaccines may end up actually weakening and confusing the immune system. So, I advocate vaccination against bugs like tetanus but not against the flu. Instead, I advocate simple and effective nutrition and lifestyle strategies to bolster one's natural defenses against these lesser bugs.