Health Vitamins & Nutrition Centre, Langley BC
The Vaccine Debate: inform yourself
The Vaccine Debate for Flu Season
I want to present to you as much of the facts around vaccines as possible. This is a hot debate every year, should I get the flu shot, should I wait and see, or should I avoid it all together? All of the information below has been gathered from government websites and pier reviewed published scientific journals.To Start, a few facts:

1. Vaccines are designed to protect you from potentially deadly disease.
2. Even though vaccines come highly recommended, none of them are mandatory; however your job may be at stake.
3. Most vaccines offer no guarantee that the disease will be avoided, vaccines are only effective for a limited number of years.
4. Vaccines can save lives
5. Vaccines can cause adverse reactions that can be fatal or permanently crippling.
6. Only approximately 10% of adverse reactions are reported.
7. After a certain age some vaccines are not needed.

What is in vaccines?

Vaccines are designed to induce a protective immune response both effectively and safely.

Some vaccines contain live viruses which are designed to cause a mild form of the disease, some contain the whole killed virus or a weakened form of the virus, and some contain certain portions of the virus such as proteins or sugars.

Other common ingredients:

Formaldehyde: used to eliminate the harmful effects of bacterial toxins and makes the viruses unable to replicate or reproduce themselves. I have yet to find a solid answer as to how much formaldehyde is found in certain vaccines. There are clearly stated safe and unsafe levels of formaldehyde.

Animal & Human Proteins: Egg protein is commonly found in the flu vaccine as well as others.

Antibiotics: Used to prevent the growth of bacteria in the vaccine. Studies have consistently shown that the more you are exposed to antibiotics the more resistant bacteria become.

MSG (mono-sodium glutamate): Used as a stabilizer to protect the vaccine from degradation due to light and heat. Glutamate is known to stimulate the nervous system, therefore some people experience nerve-related symptoms like numbness and tingling. Some other common symptoms associated with exposure are headaches, agitation, increased heart rate, and tightness in the chest, it is also a possible neurotoxin. More research is required to evaluate the safe levels of exposure.

Aluminum Salts: Used to help stimulate a more potent response in your immune system. Studies have shown that there is potential for aluminum to accumulate in the brain and has been linked to Alzheimers and neurodegenerative disorders. Aluminum accumulation may cause impaired neurological and mental development at eighteen months old. According to one researcher there are over 2000 documented studies that show the adverse effects of aluminum exposure, many of which involve infants(4). The latest research shows that a healthy twelve pound two month old baby can handle 30 mcg of aluminum per day. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) requires that injectables have no more then 25mcg. Most vaccines have ten times as much as recommended. For a round of vaccinations babies have been shown to get as much 1875mcg. Check the packaging of the vaccine to see how much aluminum it contains.

Thimerosal: is a mercury-containing preservative that is added to vials of vaccine that contain more than one dose to prevent contamination and growth of potentially harmful bacteria. Thimerosal contains 50% ethyl mercury. This was the preservative of choice for most vaccines until the danger of exposure to such high levels of mercury was realized. The FDA recommends that a baby receive no more then 50mcg of mercury per day. Thimerosal is still used in a few vaccines administered in Canada.

The Canadian Immunization Guide offers information with regards to all the ingredients that are used in every vaccine that is administered in Canada.

Contraindications & Precautions
According to the public health agency of Canada everyone should be screened for precautions and contraindications before receiving any vaccine dose.
Anaphylaxis to a component of the Vaccine, Suppressed Immune System: this can be tested by your doctor (Live vaccines only), Pregnancy (Live Vaccines Only)(5)

Conflict of Interest!
Vaccines are very profitable to pharmaceutical companies. Some medical doctors have admitted to being offered incentives to encourage the use of certain prescription drugs and vaccines. Most vaccines are not tested enough prior to being released on the market. A significant portion of the research gathered on vaccines uses the public as the test group. Generally parents are not encouraged to review their family history prior to vaccination. Vaccines against children are creating a shift in the onset age of disease, for this reason many adults are at risk of contracting disease even if they were immunized as a child.

Seasonal Flu Vaccine
The Flu vaccine is designed to protect against viruses that cause influenza. The vaccine does not protect against other viruses or bacteria that may cause a cold or stomach flu. Common reactions to the influenza vaccine or flu shot include soreness, redness and swelling where the vaccine was given. Other symptoms can include fever, headache, aching muscles and fatigue that may last 1 to 2 days. About 1 in 20 people may have cough, sore throat, hoarseness or red eyes, sometimes called oculo-respiratory syndrome. Other reactions like itching all over are uncommon. Guillain-Barr Syndrome (GBS), a form of paralysis, is usually temporary and can occur after some common infections. GBS may be associated with influenza vaccine in about 1 per million recipients.

A vitamin D supplement is more effective at reducing the risk of flu infection than vaccines or antiviral drugs, according to a study conducted by researchers from Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Flu Vaccine Brands being administered in Canada

FluViral: contains killed virus, thimerosal as a preservative, made in a base of egg protein, and it contains formaldehyde.

Influvac: contains killed virus, no listed preservative, in base of egg protein, also contains chicken protein, formaldehyde and polysorbate-80.

When deciding whether to get the flu vaccine this season, consider the alternatives, such as immune boosting herbs, vitamins, and mushrooms, homeopathic formulas specifically designed to prevent this seasons flu, and natural antiviral and anti-bacterial herbs. Chat with your health team for ideas to stay healthy this season.

1. Public Health Agency of Canada
5. Public Health Agency of Canada
6. Canadian centre for disease control
7. Public Health Agency of Canada

-Briony Martens B.Sc ROHP 2010

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