Health Articles
Flu Shots: Trick or Treat?
Posted on October 23, 2017 5:17 PM by Dr. Zimmer
Every year, right around the time of Halloween, something very scary begins. That’s right…I am talking about the annual flu vaccination campaign. This is the time of year when your doctors and advertisements urge you to get flu shots for everyone in your family.
Actually, the word “urge” should be replaced with the word “scare.” To understand why all you need to do is to pay attention to the underlying theme of advertisements that scare you to take immediate action in order to “protect” yourself, your children, the elderly and pregnant women. They infer that not getting the shot makes you irresponsible because you are increasing the risk of a grave outcome without reason. As you are about to learn, this is purposefully misleading and has nothing to do with improving your health.
Now, if you are not influenced by this type of "scare strategy" I would argue that you do not have a pulse (or you already know the facts I am about to share). This scare tactic is executed by telling only the part of the story that skews your opinion towards what advocates of the flu shot want you to believe. They purposely deceive their audience into believing that significant illness or even dealth are very real risks for the average person when it comes to the flu. What is the other name we use to describe purposeful deception? Oh, yeah…a lie! I am going to give you information to reveal that the flu shot does little to lower the risk of getting the flu and does not reduced the risk of death at all in a healthy population! I am also going to explain to you the important risks of taking the flu shot, since these risks are NEVER disclosed by either the marketing campaign or the medical community.
I realize that I have an uphill battle to wage here with many reading this article. The reason why is because in addition to the extensive advertising campaigns a more powerful force also urges compliance with getting flu shots every year and that force is the medical community.
Every doctor I know believes that just about everyone should get a flu shot. It is very difficult for most of us to believe that all doctors could be misguided or wrong on any topic. Maybe some…but not all! Really? There are so many examples of how this "group think", influenced effectively by the pharmaceutical industry, has been wrong in the past it is staggering. All doctors freely wrote for the prescription drugs Bextra and Vioxx for years.  That is until the fact that these drugs were killing tens of thousands of people could no longer be ignored. How could ALL doctors have been wrong for so many years? At one time, every doctor vigorously defended the benefits and safety of giving women horse estrogens (Premarin®). Studies revealing the dangers of giving estrogen to women were published all over the literature. They were absolutely and summarily ignored by the medical community because the studies did not agree with the collective thought that giving women horse estrogen was a good and safe practice. They were ALL wrong! These examples are very similar to the flu shot story. Doctors completely ignore any negatives and robotically recite the party line that everyone needs a flu shot. So, do not be lulled into a false sense of security that the flu vaccination must be safe and effective simply because of the medical community’s vigorous endorsement. Look at the facts to make your decision.
What Is The Flu?
Before we start talking about the flu, I want to make sure you understand what it is. Believe it or not, most people mistakenly think that most sicknesses during this time of year are the flu. You may be surprised to learn that the flu is a respiratory disease. It is not a digestive disease. You do not normally get diarrhea or vomiting with the flu. When you get a fever, nausea and diarrhea…YOU DO NOT have the flu! The flu is a sudden onset respiratory virus that causes coughing, fever/headache, and whole body muscle achiness/fatigue. Thus, when you or your child comes home with a fever, diarrhea and vomiting it is not the flu. They have a digestive bug. The flu vaccination does nothing to prevent these illnesses.
The reason why this is so important is that most parents will think that the flu is going around the school when it is a digestive virus, not the flu. Schools even send emails out warning parents that the flu is hitting hard when it is not the flu at all. The perception is that any bad illness is the flu, which makes most parents think that the flu is more prevalent than it really is. In fact, during a BAD season the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) estimates that only 2 out of 10 people will get the flu. People inherently think the number is much higher because they incorrectly label digestive illnesses as the flu.
The Benefits of Flu Shots
So, what is the real benefit gained from getting a flu shot? How effective is the flu shot at protecting you? If you listen to the flu advertising or to your doctor you would think that the flu vaccine is close to 100% effective. The intentionally mis-representation is if you get the flu shot you will gain significant protection from contracting the flu.
Let’s look at some facts so you can begin to form your educated opinion. As stated, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) estimates that up to 20% of the population can catch the flu in a bad season. Some years it can be much lower. Thus, at most, only 2 out of 10 people will get the flu in a bad year. So, how effective is the flu shot at lowering this already low risk? The answer is no one can tell you because it depends upon what strain of the flu hits your area. The benefit depends upon how lucky they get in matching the vaccine’s strain with the strain affecting the population. The CDC states that in years when vaccine strains are well matched to the flu virus circulating in the population, “vaccine effectiveness typically exceeds 50%...” For the most recent flu seasons the vaccine effectiveness has been less than 50%. Thus, it is basically less than a coin flip as to whether you will gain any benefit from the flu vaccine. The take home point is that the flu vaccine is not even close to 100% effective as is covertly suggested by flu shot advocates. In fact, in 2014-15 it was only 19% effective. In 2015-16 it was estimated at 48% and in 2016-17 it was only 42% effective. The average effectiveness over the 13 years prior to 2017 was only 41%.
The Dangers of Getting A Flu Shot
When the subject of getting a flu shot is brought up by a doctor or nurse, you are NEVER told about the potentially harmful effects of the shot. The potential side effects are dismissed by telling you there may be a mild (they always use the word mild) reddening and soreness at the sight of the injection. Or, you will be told there is a slight (another word they like to use) chance of experiencing a mild fever or muscle achiness. The dismissive nature used to list these side effects is meant to quell any concerns you may be harboring about getting the shot.
It is important for you to know the flu vaccination causes many serious adverse reactions every single year. The numbers below represent the number of people who experienced signficant reactions to the seasonal flu vaccination during the past ten years. I want you to know that I am not pulling numbers off of an anti-flu vaccination web site. These numbers come from the United States government’s CDC (Centers for Disease Control). Here are some disturbing facts taken from the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS).
CDC Reported Adverse Events in Last 10 Years for Flu Vaccinations:
Adverse Event Total Number Yearly Total
Deaths 365 37
Permanent Disability 1,191 119
Hospitalization 4,962 496
Emergency Room 28,858 2,886
Not Serious But Reported 80,453 8,045

Let’s analyze the meaning of these numbers. First, you have to understand that the flu shot does not reduce the risk of death in a healthy population at all! The redection of death in the elderly and very sick is minimal, if at all.
A study published in the Lancet Infectious Disease journal (Lancet Infect Dis. 2008 Aug;8(8): 460-1) had this to say about flu vaccinations:
“Recent excess mortality (death) studies were unable to confirm a decline in influenza-related mortality (death) since 1980, even as vaccination coverage increased from 15% to 65%.”


“New studies, however, have shown substantial unadjusted selection bias in previous cohort studies…We conclude that frailty selection bias and use of non-specific endpoints such as all-cause mortality have led cohort studies to greatly exaggerate vaccine benefits…The remaining evidence base is currently insufficient to indicate the magnitude of the mortality (death)  benefit, if any, that elderly people derive from the vaccination program.”
But, the flu vaccine causes 37 deaths and 119 permament disabilities each year! Almost 3,000 people go to the hospital and 500 of those are hospitalized each year thanks to the flu shot! Over 8,000 adverse effects are bad enough to be reported and how many tens of thousands are not reported at all?
Unfortunately, the direct risk of getting sick from the flu shot is not the only risk. There are a number of toxic ingredients found in a flu vaccine. The negative impact upon you and your child’s health from these ingredients are impossible to determine. The influenza virus is grown in egg protein and is deactivated with formaldehyde. Other ingredients include MSG (MonoSodium Glutamate), polyethylene glycol p-isooctyl-pheyl ether, polyoxyethylene 9-10 nonyl phenol and thimerosol (mercury). Mercury is found in adult vaccines. Most children’s vaccines only contain a trace of mercury. But, many clinics give children and adults the same vaccine. I guess I would advise you to ask yourself how much formaldehyde and other chemicals you are comfortable having injected into your child. My answer would be none unless the benefits greatly outweigh the negatives.
The Bottom Line:
The flu shot has the potential to impart some protection from contracting the flu. The facts suggest that, at most, it reduces your chance by less than a coin flip. There is no solid evidence that the flu shot reduces mortality (death) in any age group. Remember, also, the flu does not cause digestive symptoms. These illnesses will not be helped by getting a flu shot. Thus, the benefits gleaned from getting a flu shot are not impressive by any manner.
You would not come to this conclusion if you listened to the medical community or to the advertising blitz. The medical community is willfully ignorant and those making money from these shots intentionally deceive the public as to the dangers of the flu and to the benefits from getting a flu shot. Are they deceiving you for your own benefit or for theirs? Do you really think they intentionally deceive you because they know you are too stupid to figure out the benefits for yourself if they give you all of the information? No, they deceive you because they know if you found out that the flu shot is minimally effective, not completely safe, and contains toxic ingredients you would more than likely opt out of getting the shot. If, however, they paint a false picture of danger and amplify the benefits of the cure you will be motivated to go out and get the shot.
No health professional can attest to the true safety for you or your child in getting a flu shot. In their minds no immediate reaction equates to safety. As is true with any vaccine, health professionals are reluctant to admit the negatives. If you don’t believe me, just call your doctor and tell them that you think your child is getting a reaction from a vaccination. Their first inclination will be to dismiss this claim. I have heard this story more times than I would like to admit.
Here is what you should be told when you ask your doctor whether or not you should get a flu shot:
“You should know the risk of getting the flu is typically less than 20%, which means you have more than an 80% chance of not getting the flu. The shot may help reduce this chance by less than a coin flip. The shot does contain egg, formaldehyde, mercury and other chemicals, but in very small amounts. We have no idea whether you will experience any negative effects from these ingredients, but you most likely will not. It is extremely rare, but you should know the shot can cause serious illness such as death, permanent disability or hospitalization. Again, this is extremely rare. Do you want the shot?”
I have no problem at all if you want to get the flu shot for you or your family after you consider all of the information. I think you would be better served by washing your hands immediately after touching any surface that is contacted by multiple people. The funny thing is that when you go to your doctor’s office you grab a door knob that has been contacted by MANY sick people. How many times do you use a tissue to open that door or wash your hands immediately after entering the office? Doctor, I am here to get my flu shot because I just touched your door knob! The irony is that you increase your chance of getting the flu simply by going to the doctor to get a flu shot.
So, is the flu shot a Trick or a Treat? I would say it is both. There is a lot of tricking going on and the treat is like that person who gives you a handful of pennies… not that great of a treat.