The flu season is coming, and the flu vaccine debate with it. While divisive arguments have become the norm in many areas of society, sometimes the argument is not about who is for or against vaccines, but whether our doctors are giving us all of the information for us to make an informed decision (and if they even know it themselves).
The time I considered a flu shot, my doctor stopped me by saying he needs to order one without a particular ingredient because in his experience its risks were far too severe.
This discovery changed how I assessed the benefits and risks of getting anything created by the pharmaceutical industry. An elderly teacher of mine becoming completely paralyzed a year later after getting a flu shot confirmed my initial concerns. But not everyone receives the complete, factual information when going to the doctor’s office.
One important piece of the puzzle most people are not given is the full list of vaccine ingredients (not every flu shot is the same). There is a new controversial ingredient in flu vaccines, and people need to know about it.
The new adjuvant is called Squalene, and many of the news stories covering it linked the story to an article written by Dr. Peter Doshi about the aggressive marketing and over-exaggerated benefits of flu shots.
While many sources called him a Johns Hopkins Researcher, he is a former fellow of their school of medicine and has no scientific affiliation with it.
And while he does have a Ph.D., it is in history, anthropology, and science, technology and society, not medicine.
However, where Dr. Doshi excels at is evaluating clinical study reports and pointing out where the science is flawed – something that happens quite often when it comes to the pharmaceutical and vaccine industries.
Dr. Doshi: Flu shots are less beneficial than claimed, and the threat of the flu is overstated.
Dr. Doshi, currently an assistant professor of pharmaceutical health services research at the University of Maryland, is an associate editor at The BMJ (British Medical Journal). He has been known to push pharmaceutical companies to be more transparent about their drugs’ true benefits and risks by publishing clinical trials and studies and disclosing financial ties with other organizations leading to a conflict of interest.
Drug makers are known to publish only the clinical trials that benefit them; only about 50% of all clinical trials are disclosed.
In recent years, Vioxx underreported the number of heart attacks caused by this painkiller. Paxil also underreported the risk of suicide caused by this antidepressant. Dr. Doshi studied and pointed out huge flaws in these drugs, and then stumbled upon flu vaccinations through his research.
His concerns about the effectiveness of flu vaccinations were confirmed by another researcher, Dr. Tom Jefferson, a British epidemiologist.
What they both believe is that flu vaccines lack sufficient evidence showing their effectiveness.
As Dr. Doshi concludes in one of his articles:
“Promotion of influenza vaccines is one of the most visible and aggressive public health policies today.”
“Closer examination of influenza vaccine policies shows that although proponents employ the rhetoric of science, the studies underlying the policy are often of low quality, and do not substantiate officials’ claims. The vaccine might be less beneficial and less safe than has been claimed, and the threat of influenza appears overstated.”
Moreover, he does not think the flu itself is as dangerous as it is claimed to be.
“I don’t agree with CDC’s portrayal of influenza as a major public health threat.”
And finally, he finds that there is “no compelling evidence of hospitalization and mortality reduction in [the] elderly.”
Ironically, the elderly is the population group that gets hit with the newest flu shots (remember Fluzone High-Dose controversy?).
One of the newest flu vaccinations is also aimed at the elderly, and this is the same vaccine that uses the new ingredient Squalene, which has gotten its bad reputation due to reports linking health problems of Gulf-War veterans to squalene.
Squalene: Ingredient Linked to Gulf War Syndrome Now In Flu Shots
Veterans of the Gulf War are known to struggle with multi-systemic illness, the cause of which has never been determined. This mysterious condition, known as the Gulf War Syndrome, leads to:
-Chronic fatigue syndrome
-functional gastrointestinal disorders
One potential clue to solving this mystery came when studies discovered that 95% of those sick had antibodies to squalene. It was also found that 100% of those who were vaccinated to be deployed in the Gulf War but were never deployed had antibodies to squalene and had the same ill symptoms.
Another study suggests that squalene in certain experimental Anthrax vaccines caused the production of anti-squalene antibodies (ASA), which in turn was associated with the Gulf War syndrome.
The World Health Association (WHO) claims there is not enough evidence to draw the final conclusion on squalene and Gulf War syndrome association, but it points out that post-marketing experiences of the new squalene flu shots are important.
Fluad: A New Flu Shot with a “Gulf War Syndrome” Linked Ingredient
The flu shot in question, which uses squalene as an adjuvant, is FLUAD. It was first approved in 2015, and now has a 2017-2018 formula.
Here is its full list of ingredients:
Adjuvants: squalene, polysorbate 80, sorbitan trioleate, sodium citrate, citric acid, water for injection. Excipients: sodium chloride, potassium chloride, potassium dihydrogen phosphate, disodium phosphate dehydrate, magnesium chloride hexahydrate, calcium chloride dehydrate, and water.
It can also contain trace amounts of: neomycin, kanamycin, ovalbumin (egg protein), formaldehyde, cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB), and barium.
Besides the controversial squalene, its other ingredients are also concerning. Formaldehyde has been associated with increased cancer risk; potassium chloride linked to paralysis; neomycin to difficulties breathing.
The vaccine’s post marketing experience reports include:
-Nervous system disorders
-Encephalomyelitis (inflammation of the brain)
The full list is available in the Fluad insert.
Accelerated Approval of Vaccines Is a Huge Issue
Another issue is that Fluad has been approved on an accelerated schedule, something that is becoming common with vaccinations (many may begin coming from China because of an agreement the Clinton Foundation made as well).
The FDA allows an accelerated approval process for pharmaceutical products that are made for serious illnesses. Most if not all of the vaccines can by this logic skip a large amount rigorous studying and go straight to the approval process if there is “evidence that the product has an effect on an outcome that is reasonably likely to predict clinical benefit” – evidence that is most often provided by the same companies that make the vaccines.
This accelerated process is a sure way to miss a big risk, as is still happening repeatedly with pharmaceutical drugs.
Isn’t Squalene a Health Food?
Squalene comes from the livers of animals, often called shark liver oil, when derived from sharks. It is often added to foods and cosmetics and is even sold as a supplement and natural skin product. Squalene can be found in olive oil. And it has been found that squalene oil may be cancer-preventative.
When taken internally as a supplement or applied on skin, the human body can accept squalene oil as its own (after all, it is naturally found in our nervous system and brain).
This way the body can reap the benefits from its concentrated antioxidants.
The issue comes when the body receives squalene through an abnormal route such as being injected with other vaccine ingredients. When this happens, the body destroys it (along with its own needed, naturally-occurring squalene) and creates anti-bodies for it.
This may be throwing the immune system off and creating the many aforementioned mysterious and debilitating health symptoms.
While not fully understood, there is enough information from the Gulf War studies to be extremely wary of anything containing this adjuvant, and to think long and hard about skipping the vaccines containing it.
This article was first published in October 2017 and updated in December 2018.
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