flu vaccinations

  1. The shot we forgot

    America skips out on flu vaccinations

    What a difference a year makes: Last winter, you couldn't get a flu shot if you begged for one... while this season, they can't give the things away.

    The chain pharmacies banked big on another round of flu fear this year -- and now, they're sitting on millions and millions of unused doses. It was such an epic miscalculation that they're feeling their own chills as stock prices take a hit.

    And if you're among the two-thirds of Americans who've said no to the needle, don't worry... because the latest science backs you up.

    What'd I tell ya?

    Researchers from The Cochrane Collaboration examined 50 studies -- including 40 clinical trials -- on flu vaccinations, and found only the most minimal of benefits: slightly fewer symptoms, and slightly fewer work days missed among those who get the shot.

    But they found zippo in just about every other measure -- including no reduction in the rate of complications such as hospitalizations and pneumonia, and no evidence that flu shots slow the spread of the disease.

    On the other hand, they found plenty of evidence of funny business.

    "The review showed that reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin but there is evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions and spurious notoriety of the studies," they wrote.

    They also discovered that studies with no Big Pharma backing were "significantly less likely to report conclusions favorable to the vaccines."

    Coincidence? Not a chance!

    While I'm on the topic, I've got a special warning for seniors. They're coming after us hard this year with a whole lot of mumbo jumbo about the new Fluzone High Dose shot.

    It comes with some "high dose" risks, too. Just check out this classic bit of doublespeak from the CDC:

    "The safety profile of Fluzone High-Dose vaccine is similar to that of regular flu vaccines although adverse events (which are also reported after regular flu vaccines) were reported more frequently after vaccination with Fluzone High-Dose."

    So let me get this straight: It's similar. No wait, it's worse. No wait, it's similar, but only because the regular flu shot is already bad. But it's also worse.

    It's like watching a lunatic argue with himself, and lose.

    Allow me to simplify: High dose or low dose, the only flu shot you need is no dose.

  2. DIY flu shots should be DOA

    There's no such thing as a safe and effective flu shot... but that hasn't stopped researchers from trying to find new ways to give it to more people just the same.

    Now, they're working on poison in a patch -- a flu shot you can slap on yourself, no doctor or nurse necessary.

    I can picture the public service announcements now: GO STICK YOURSELF!

    Instead of the usual hypodermic needle, the flu patch described in Clinical and Vaccine Immunology is delivered via 100 tiny microneedles that dissolve as the vaccine enters your body.

    In a study on mice, researchers say their new patch gave the rodents flu "immunity" on par with -- or better than -- the traditional vaccine injection.

    Talk about setting the bar low -- the flu shot itself is only barely effective in the best of times, and completely ineffective the rest of the time.

    I wouldn't brag about matching that.

    The researchers say their do-it-yourself vaccinations will bring the shot to more people by doing away with the worst part of the experience: the needle.

    But who are they kidding? The worst part of the shot isn't the sting of the needle -- it's what's inside it, because these vaccinations can leave you in a world of hurt whether you feel that prick or not.

    Ordinary flu shots come with a risk of fever, rash, hives and seizures. What's more, most of them contain the dangerous toxin mercury.

    If that's not bad enough, all you need to do is look at what happened during last year's mass public health experiment: Patients given the swine flu vaccine passed out, got sick and even dropped dead.

    And in addition to all the usual flu shot risks, the new patch comes with a bonus: The microneedles are made of polymer polyvinylpyrrolidone, or PVP. An allergic reaction to PVP can lead to anaphylactic shock.

    So whether it's delivered in a needle, patch, bubble gum or kick to the head, do yourself a favor -- and skip the vaccine.

  3. FDA cracks down on flu products

    You know how I feel about supplements: Some you need, some you don't -- and plenty make outrageous claims they can't back up.
  4. New Jersey mandates flu shots for preschoolers

    This month a New Jersey state law went into effect that requires mandatory flu vaccinations for children who attend licensed pre-school and child care centers.
  5. Scientists look to 1918 flu survivors for vaccine answers

    A new study shows that some of our oldest citizens could actually better equipped to weather a disease pandemic than the rest of us.

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