These are my reasons. Public Health England report that last year’s vaccine was 12% effective for adults up to 65 and 10% effective for those over 65. Eg one in ten who get flu benefit with shorter duration. The latest comprehensive review of vitamin C shows up to 46% reduction in duration of colds, and also reduction in severity, reported in those taking 8 grams of vitamin C in the first day of a cold/flu, although there is some evidence than 15 grams within 24 hours of first symptoms would be more effective.
This is what I do, and recommend, taking around 1 gram an hour, or 2 grams every two hours. If your vitamin C also has zinc and black elderberry it is likely to be even more effective. I very much doubt flu would ever be fatal if all ‘at risk’ eg elderly people did this on first signs of symptoms. Bear in mind that 9 in 10 vaccinated would succumb in any event, assuming this year’s vaccine is comparable to last. There is also evidence that those vaccinated and more susceptible the following year (see BMJ article later).
Now, let’s consider two other issues – adverse reactions and money.
HOW MUCH DO GPS EARN FROM FLU VACCINES?
One of the reasons there’s such a big push by your GP to have the flu vaccine is that’s they get a kickback.
Last year, according to a report in the British Medical Journal, a bit of a turf war broke out in Doncaster. Pharmacists can give the flu jab to certain people, and get paid £7.64, as do GPs. GPs wanted the business because everyone in their practice who has the flu jab earns them more QOF points and money. If a practice can vaccinate 3,000 people that’s over £22,920 – not a small sum. Now you might understand why there’s such a big push on vaccination. 24 grams of vitamin C, with zinc and black elderberry costs circa £3, just to put this into perspective.
ADVERSE EFFECTS – WHAT AND HOW COMMON ARE THEY?
Although seemingly denied, there are risks with flu vaccines (but not with vitamin C). In the UK its virtually impossible to get any reliable data on numbers. The last figures I have been able to access were in the US, in 2010, when there were ten associated deaths and 458 adverse reactions ranging from developing asthma to chest infections. The following year there were 79 settlements in the US for damage, including one death, from the flu vaccine. I will update this if I can find more recent data.
An article in the British Medical Journal this year entitled ‘Official doubletalk hides serious problems with flu shot safety and effectiveness’ points out that ‘these studies used to prove effectiveness make no effort to look for adverse vaccine effects (e.g. narcolepsy, seizures, high fever, oculorespiratory syndrome)’ and then lists studies finding adverse effects, including an increased risk of flu and other infectious diseases the following year for those vaccinated, why it is highly dubious children should receive the vaccine, and unwise to give to pregnant women. A recent ‘large cohort study found that flu shots given during the first trimester of pregnancy were associated with a 20% increase in autism spectrum disorder in the offspring. The authors acknowledged that, if it was causal, would mean four additional autism cases for every 1000 mothers vaccinated.’ Another study calls for more research to be done 'before promoting universal seasonal influenza vaccinations of pregnant women. Meanwhile, vaccination in second to third trimester should be offered while communicating the uncertainties that still exist.'
The other reason I don't like it is that the vaccine contains aluminium. This is used as an ‘aggravant’ to spur the immune system to attack the viruses. Personally, I don't want to inject aluminium, even in tiny quantities, into my body unless there’s a really compelling reason and no safer alternative.
The ‘herd immunity’ argument – that if everyone is vaccinated the disease (for example, smallpox) can be eradicated – does not apply to the flu vaccine because the influenza virus is endlessly mutating into different forms. One could argue that, if all were vaccinated flu might spread less, but this would need to be demonstrated.
If you do decide to have the flu vaccine my recommendation is to have a supply of vitamin C, ideally with zinc and blackelderberry, to take if you do get any symptoms of either a cold or flu, taking in the equivalent of 1 gram an hour until symptoms cease. if this gives you too loose bowels then reduce the dose or frequency but don't go 5 hours without any intake.