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Flu Shots..... poll/rant/question(21 posts)

Flu Shots..... poll/rant/questionfunknuggets
Dec 12, 2003 12:19 PM
Ok... now that everyone is in panic mode and all the news programs are reporting on the flu epidemic, I just want to know your take on getting flu shots. Personally, I am against them and here are my basic reasons:

1. Don't protect against all flus, only the 'predicted' top 10 or so strains.

2. Some people get sick from the shot itself.

3. The preservatives in the immunization (mercury?, aluminum? formaldahyde?) are not good or adequately tested for cumulative negative impact.

4. I rarely get the flu.

Now, my wife is a nurse and only gets them when she is mandated to. But help me with this. I recently got some letter from a friend (holistic, chiropractor) who sent me an article from some reknown doctor that states if a person gets flu shots for 5 successive years, that due to the aluminum in the shot, that person is 20 times more likely to develop alzheimers than someone who doesn't. Can anyone back that up???

It goes further to state that schools requring kids to have immunizations for diseases that have not been seen in the US for years, is causing the CDC to predict the number of Alzheimers cases to quadruple due to the fact that kids have at minumum 15 vaccinations by the time they are 18 months old... and that it is some kind of government and pharmaceutical conspiracy.

I just didnt know whether to take this as some kind of elaborate nonsense or is there some truth to it?

So, who here gets flu shots, or has gotten them?

So ponders the funk...
Chris
One at a time....Tri_Rich
Dec 12, 2003 12:31 PM
1. somewhat true, the vaccine is based on last years strain with the idea being there will not be enough mutation in one year to make the vaccine ineffective.

2. All people get "sick" from the shot; or at least they mount an immune response, which is what leads to the immunity. Some people get sicker than others. (simplified answer)

3. I assume you are referring to adjuvants which are included in immunization shot to ensure a response. Adjuvants used in humans are extensively tested for safety by the FDA. (I don't think aluminum is in vaccines made now)

4. Good!!

The causes of alzheimers are unknown and I have never seen them linked to vaccines, remember that there was a flap linking autism to childhood immunizations which has been pretty severly debunked. Immunizations are one of the reasons many diseases have not been seen in the US in years.

(I used to do immunology research)
Poll, ethics this flu season,TJeanloz
Dec 12, 2003 1:01 PM
We were all warned to get flu shots this year. Now the flu is upon us and particularly nastier than usual. There is apparently a shortage of the vaccine (70MM doses produced, 290MM people, you do the math). Given the shortage, do you believe it is ethical for healthy men (and woman) like ourselves to get a shot? Or are we morally bound to forgo the shot so that an "at risk" (elderly, child, ill) person can receive it?

I like to think that I'm nobley declining a shot so that somebody who really needs it can get it. But really I don't like needles...
Poll, ethics this flu season,bill105
Dec 12, 2003 1:08 PM
hopefully, we all ride and are healthy enough that the flu wouldnt actually kill us. i didnt get the shot and couldnt if i wanted to anyway now. they are restricted to pregnant women, the elderly and children under 18. we ran out about a week ago.
never gotten one and rarely get sickColnagoFE
Dec 15, 2003 9:29 AM
everyone I know who got one has had the flu this year. I have yet to be sick (knocking wood). Taking lots of Vitamin C though.
count me outmohair_chair
Dec 12, 2003 1:15 PM
These days, we're supposed to take a pill or shot for everything. Well not me. I don't take any unnecessary medical treatments of any kind, and flu shots are just that. I've never had one, and I got the flu once in maybe 10 years. I'll take my chances.

As for the big scare, it turns out that flu kills at least 30,000 people in America EVERY year, and this year is no different. NO DIFFERENT. That's a big number, but it's not unusual and it's not unexpected. This is all a hyped-up media event, and people are starting to realize that right now. Oh God, we've run out of flu shots!!! We're all gonna die!!

As for the aluminum causing Alzheimers, that was disproven years ago by Alzhiemer researchers. That reknown doctor you quote is a quack.

"People, go back to your homes. There's nothing to see here..."
media-driven hysteriagtx
Dec 12, 2003 3:16 PM
I think there has been some sloppy investigative reporting, and manipulation of the statistics. I don't think it's even been proven conclusively that this particular strain or whatever has killed anyone--check the wording in these articles, it's pretty vague. From the New York Times:

"States are not required to track the number of flu cases, so the exact total is not clear; however, at least 20 children have died nationwide during this outbreak. Many cases are never classified as the flu, but doctors say they are seeing a clear increase this year."

What the hell does that mean? Basically, nothing as far as I can tell.

Or my favorite line in the story: "But anecdotally, this flu season seems to be worse for children."

Oh, okay.

Kids and the elderly DO get colds and sometimes when they do they die. The "flu season" will go away as soon as we get a better story.
Ah, for the love of CHR!ST! The media again?Cory
Dec 12, 2003 4:15 PM
The evil media have reported that children have died from the flu (which we all know is a liberal hoax anyway--there really IS no flu under a Republican administration)? It's clearly a case of hysteria. And if 20 kids had died and the media DIDN'T report it, then it would clearly be a cover-up designed to protect the liberal elitists in the AMA, who have a vested interest in keeping us all sick so they can afford their boat payments.
Does reason intrude at any point in these harangues?
you get the prizegtx
Dec 12, 2003 4:45 PM
best knee-jerk response of the day
dunno man, yours was pretty good too n.m.shawndoggy
Dec 12, 2003 4:47 PM
yes and nodr hoo
Dec 12, 2003 4:50 PM
It has started earlier than usual, and is ramping up steeply. The curve looks much like 99, which the cdc calls a "moderately severe" year. So the potential is there for a bad year.

In a disease that spreads exponentially, if anything can be done it needs to be done early.

Overhyped? Yes. Nothing to the story? No.

Chart from CDC, showing percentage of doctor visits with "flu like symptoms".
that's bogus datamohair_chair
Dec 12, 2003 9:23 PM
This thing is so over hyped that anyone who gets the sniffles reports to the ER with "flu-like symptoms." People are freaking out! How many of those doctor VISITS resulted in an influenza diagnosis? I'll bet it's nowhere near what that curve indicates.

Let's draw a graph of all women who missed their period and thought they were pregnant. I'll bet it doesn't match the birth rate.
Yeah, the CDC is know for its bogus data.dr hoo
Dec 13, 2003 4:36 AM
You are right in that the data is not of ACTUAL cases. However, you are totally wrong that this data is not useful in comparing the level of flu in the general population year to year.

Given that this data is collected EVERY YEAR, differences between years gives a valid way of comparing THIS year with PAST years in terms of timing of the symptoms and rate of increase of the symptoms. So, since it measures the same thing, in the same way every year, we can get good "change" scores, so to speak.

Now, as for your point that these numbers might be produced by people flocking to the doctor with the sniffles. I can see your logic, and it makes sense.... but you are wrong. Do you "run to the doctor" with sniffles? Does anyone you know? I doubt it.

Ah, but maybe those "stupid people" out there are the ones you are talking about? The ones influenced by the media hype unlike you and me? Still, you are incorrect.

These numbers are reported by doctors and IT IS THE DOCTOR WHO DETERMINES THAT THE SYMPTOMS ARE FLU LIKE! Not the "freaked out" patient.

So what that means is that IF there are a bunch of people running to the doctor with the sniffles, it will actually LOWER the percentages of people with flu like symptoms by increasing the numbers of those with non-flulike symptoms.... such as cold symptoms. The chart shows percentages of visits, not numbers. Hype will lower the percentage, not raise it.

Would it be better to have numbers that show patients testing positive on a blood test? Yes, but who does a blood test for the flu? Absent that, this measure seems pretty good in terms of knowing the incidence level in the population, and comparing it with previous years.
oh, and for lab testing data look here:dr hoo
Dec 13, 2003 4:47 AM
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/

Turns out the CDC does collect and test samples in the lab. Look at the "Laboratory Surveillance" chart. Notice how THAT curve matches the doctor reports of symptoms curve for this year. I think the curve match is more proof that the graph I posted comparing the 3 years can be taken as valid.

I totally missed this one when I was looking for info. I was trying to find multi year comparison info, so I skipped right over any single year measures. Live and learn.
I get 'emPaulCL
Dec 12, 2003 6:12 PM
Why?

My wife is an MD and exposed to that crud all the time.
I have three kids under 12. They bring it home.
I don't want to miss work since I don't have paid sick days.'

'nuff said. Paul
I never miss getting the shot...The Walrus
Dec 12, 2003 6:21 PM
...especially since I'm now middle-aged and have a chronic illness (diabetes). My experience with the flu vaccine was that the years I missed the shot, I got sick, to the point of developing serious bronchitis in addition to the flu, and pneumonia on two occasions. In the years I've had the shot, I didn't even get colds--I know that there shouldn't be a connection between colds and influenza, but that's the way it works out in my case.
Connection between cold and flu53T
Dec 13, 2003 5:03 PM
Who says there is no connection? They are both caused by viruses. The flu vaccine illicits an immune response to a virus. Why are we so sure that the human immune response is not broad spectrum enought to cover the rhino virus (head cold)?

Doctors, chime in here.
Two things..Tri_Rich
Dec 15, 2003 6:31 AM
One, virus coat proteins are limited in number on an individual strain but the total pool is enormous, so the likelyhood or two viruses haveing similar coat proteins is small. Coat protiens allow the inate and antibody systems to remove Viruses.

Two, T-cells kill infected cells by recognizing MHC bound fragments of viral protein displayed on the cell surface. The process of selecting T-cells which respond correctly leaves a very small population with a very specific reactivity. Virus DNA encodes only a handful of proteins, and has little to know DNA proofreading. Together these create a high mutation rate, reducing the likely hood of the recognizable motif being recreated.

So the simple answer is because we understand how the immune response occurs and we understand the difference between flu and cold viruses, we know that the immune response generated by the flu vaccine offers no protection against the common cold.

Think about it this way; Have you had more than one cold in your life? Those viruses are more similar than the cold is to the flu.
Now THAT'S an explanation...Thanks! (nm)The Walrus
Dec 15, 2003 10:32 PM
never had oneDougSloan
Dec 15, 2003 1:14 PM
I never had one, and get the flu maybe once every 5 years. Even then, never that bad.

I read that your chances of getting the flu are the same whether you get the shot or not.

Don't know anything about the aluminum issue.

Doug
damn. I just screwed myself. Probably will get flats, too nmDougSloan
Dec 15, 2003 1:38 PM