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Eighteen Reasons Why You Should Not Follow Bill Sardi's Children Flu Season Vaccination Advice
Rebuttal of Bill Sardi's
"Eighteen Reasons Why You Should NOT Vaccinate Your Children Against The Flu This Season"
By David Kessner and Chris Hanson
Original article: http://www.lewrockwell.com/sardi/sardi119.html
Recently there has been a lot of Internet exposure of Bill Sardi's article on LewRockwell.com, and lots of people championing his views. We feel his is knowingly and intentionally spreading dangerously inaccurate and false information to promote himself and his line of Natural Health books "from the irrepressible and respected author and radio personality Bill Sardi ". Here, we address, point-by-point, Sardi's claims, with actual evidence.
#1. In this point, it's not clear if Sardi is arguing against a shot for the normal flu or H1N1. If he's talking about the normal flu then he's advocating not getting protection from something that is responsible for the deaths of 36,000 Americans a year (see point 15, below) and that's crazy. If he's referring to H1N1, then the CDC's recommendations for the getting the H1N1 vaccine are similar to those for conventional influenza: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/public/vaccination_qa_pub.htm "pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, health care and emergency medical services personnel with direct patient contact, children 6 months through 4 years of age, and children 5 through 18 years of age who have chronic medical conditions " These are people who would be at higher risk from ANY influenza because of their situation.
The rest of point #1 centers around a lot of unsubstantiated claims like: "Artificially boosting antibodies by exposureto flu viruses in vaccines is more problematic than natural exposure". Anyone who has suffered serious secondary illness (or death!) due initially to influenza could weigh in on whether they thought their "natural" exposure experience was preferrable to an "artifical" vaccine exposure.
Vaccines are good, and this has been proven over and over with things like smallpox, measles, and the flu.
#2. "This is because single inoculations have failed to produce sufficient antibodies". Again, it's not clear if Sardi is talking about H1N1 or the normal flu. In the case of H1N1, the American Academy of Family Physicians seems to think that one shot of unadjuvenated H1N1 vaccine should do the trick:
#3. "In addition to failure to produce sufficient antibodies, this swine flu vaccine is brought to you by the same people who haven't been able to adequately produce a seasonal flu vaccine that matches the flu strain in circulation." Getting the right flu strain is an issue with flu vaccines. There are probably hundreds of different types of flu, and the vaccine makers (and the World Health Organization) try to predict which 5 (or so) strains will be the most prevalent in a given year-- and that's what's put into the normal flu shot. Sometimes they get it right, sometimes not so much. But the data is obvious: on average the flu shot works.
But I'd take a 70-90% success rate on something that is responsible for 36,000 deaths a year. And the side effects are almost nonexistent!
But what Sardi is saying here is that in the past the vaccine manufacturers have not properly predicted which flu strain is going to be prevalent. And now that they know exactly which strain, H1N1, is going to be going around they are somehow NOT going to figure out which one to protect people from? Sardi's own logic fails him here. He goes on to say "why receive the season[sic] flu shot this year?". Um, 36,000 people dying each year? How's that for a reason?
#4. "Adjuvants are added to vaccines to boost production of antibodies but may trigger autoimmune reactions. Some adjuvants are mercury (thimerosal), aluminum and squalene. " Here he gets it just wrong and starts sounding like the anti-vaccination freaks Jenny McCarthy
(www.jennymccarthybodycount.com). Thimerosal is a preservative, not something to boost production of antibodies. Further Thimerosal-free vaccines have been available since 2001 if you prefer that. From the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/H1N1flu/vaccination/pregnant_qa.htm "Does the 2009 H1N1 flu shot have mercury in it? vaccine companies are making preservative-free seasonal flu vaccine and 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine in single dose syringes " (More on Thimerosal in 8, below) From the same article, "Does the 2009 H1N1 flu shot have an adjuvant or squalene in it? There are no adjuvants (such as squalene) in either the 2009 H1N1 or seasonal flu shot used in the United States. " Sardi is fantasizing some hypothetical case where there was a shortage of vaccine ("in a crisis, and in short supply, it will be diluted to provide more doses "). There is no shortage. If you are worried about this, go get vaccinated NOW, while you can be sure you can get the full-strengh undiluted vaccine, and don't wait. But I don't expect this hypothetical situation to come about, and it should not affect your decision about getting vaccinated at the present time. TIME is a bit worried about the supply schedule for the vaccine, but cites a Science study indicating the vaccine's effacacy after only one dose: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1921679,00.html This article is where Sardi probably got his shortage-adjuvant theory, but results from the UK show that even in that emergency situation, the vaccination was 80% effective.
5. Mock vaccines. The "mock vaccine" process is one where a prototype is extensively tested, but then the "final" version has an updated viral signature taken from the most-current known strain(s) so as to try to be applicable and not out of date. In item 3, Sardi blasts vaccine makers for not getting their targeting right, but here in #5 he blasts them for the very effort they're making to ensure it is targeted correctly. In theory, the "mock" and "real" vaccines are different, and there is a slight chance that someone out there will react differently to one than the other. But for the vast majority of the population, they will be essentially identical. In fact, the odd are equally probably that someone who might react unfavorably to the "real" vaccine but be ok with the "mock" vaccine could have exactly the opposite reaction – they might have reacted to the "mock" but not the "real". This is not a credible reason to avoid being vaccinated.
6." American children are subjected to 29 vaccines by the age of two. " You say this like it's a bad thing. We're also winning the battle against nasty, deadly and disfiguring diseases. When was the last time you met a kid with Polio? Why do you suppose that is? Because we KILLED it. With VACCINES. And by keeping our immunological guard up constantly, we're preventing it from ever coming back, even among those who cannot or will not personally get vaccinated (see Herd Immunity, below). Here is a good rationale for the aggressive immunization schedule from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Not that they'd know anything about keeping kids healthy or anything. http://www.cispimmunize.org/pro/pdf/Vaccineschedule.pdf If you like shock value, take a look at some lovely pictures of all the nasty conditions your kids DON'T get to enjoy after they've been immunized: http://www.aap.org/pressroom/aappr-photos.htm Kids these days don't get to enjoy the chicken pox like we did when we were young (and have the scars to prove it). And ask your grandparents about how much fun Polio was.
7. "A recent study showed exposure flu viruses among women during pregnancy provoke a similar gene expression pattern in the fetus as that seen in autistic children. " Sardi doesn't cite the study, but here are some links: https://sfari.org/news-and-commentary/all/-/asset_publisher/6Tog/content... and http://www.blisstree.com/geneticsandhealth/swine-flu-can-change-genes-of... and the actual paper (subscription needed) http://www.europeanneuropsychopharmacology.com/article/S0924-977X%2809%2... While the SFARI article (with references) does mention that "the vaccine itself may stimulate an immune response in the mother that leads to neurodevelopmental disorders in the fetus, some researchers caution. "it is unclear if this is from the original paper, or who the "some researchers" are who are quoted or what their grounds for that statement are. The medical establishment feels that the benefits of the flu or H1N1 vaccine outweigh the risks when administered to pregnant women. http://www.cdc.gov/H1N1flu/vaccination/pregnant_qa.htm If catching the flu during pregnancy can cause Autism, (according to Sardi), then avoiding the flu would seem to be the best course of action! And the best way to avoid the flu is with a vaccine. If your choice is maybe-genetic-damage-from-the-flu or maybe-possibly-genetic-damage-from-the-vaccine, I'm thinking that the vaccine looks like a better prospect. But if you're a pregnant woman (I'm not!) you now have the relevant information in your hands to make your own informed decision.
8. "Modern medicine has no explanation for autism, despite its continued rise in prevalence. Yet autism is not reported among Amish children who go unvaccinated." Apparently Sardi is part of the faction that links Autism with vaccines. There is tons of info on the net both for and against this, including the results of several recent studies and lawsuits concluding there is no link. But most telling is that the guy who proposed this theory in the first place, Andrew Wakefield, is a fraud. Here's some articles talking about it:
The most likely cause of the rise in autism rates is the increased testing and labeling that our modern society does for psychological disorders (I use that term loosely). The rates of Autism was low before simply because we weren't looking for it. We're a labeling society now, and love to use terms like ADHD, bipolar, etc. Of course, the Amish have no use for these terms, as is the case with many third world countries that "don't have problems with autism". The autism anti-vaxxers often claim that the thimerosal in the vaccine is what causes autism. What they don't show is that the autism rate didn't change at all in 2001 when thimerosal was removed from the vaccines. Finally, going back to the Amish, even if there was a correlation, Correlation Does Not Imply Causation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation
Let's say for a moment that the Amish don't have Autism. The Amish also don't have cell phones. Bingo, there's correlation, and if correlation implies causation then we must conclude that cell phones cause Autism. Or perhaps it's that the Amish don't have televisions, then Televisions cause Autism. The Amish certainly don't have AOL, so clearly AOL Causes Autism. (Actually, I could get behind that last one...) See, the way you find out if there is in fact causation is through rigorous testing of all the combinations of potential causes, looking for statistical indications that presence of the purported cause in fact affects the result, and that ABSENCE of the purported cause PREVENTS this result. This is the research that has ALREADY BEEN DONE with vaccines, thimerosal/mercury and Autism. Here's the cheat sheet from the American Academy of Pediatrics: http://www.cispimmunize.org/Vaccine%20Studies.pdf "
It is not surprising that these studies do not show any link between vaccines and autism. " Here's a little more human-interest coverage of the same issue: http://www.salon.com/env/vital_signs/2009/02/19/autism_and_vaccines/
9. Re: Flu-Mist vaccine. This issue has already been covered elsewhere. It's not like snorting a shot of the live virus and then sneezing it all over everyone around you.
10. "This triple reassortment virus (H1N1) appears to be man made." Now Sardi is really going down the conspiracy theory path. For him to try and imply that there's a link between this "Man Made H1N1" and some vaccine factory in Mexico is unsupported at best. Sardi cites a quote from Dr John Carlo, "This strain of swine influenza that’s been cultured in a laboratory " to mean that Carlo believes it is man-made. Except that if you ask Carlo himself, his words were misunderstood by laypeople: http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2009/04/dallas_county_health_... "when Carlo said the strain had been cultured in a lab, he just meant: "They took the swab off the individual infected with the illness and grew it in the lab," he says. "It's confusing, but it certainly wasn't created in a lab. I guess it seems obvious for the medical professionals. " Either Sardi is ignorant of what Carlo meant (which means he's not much of a medical professional, since even I understood what was intended) or he is deliberately lying to you. You decide.
11. Here's a much more complete perspective on the 1976 outbreak: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swine_influenza#1976_U.S._outbreak This article also talks about the 1918 pandemic. It could be said that we were lucky in 1976. Had it been an especially virulent pandemic in 1976 and had we NOT been prepared to immunize, the government would have been accused even more of ineptitude. In 1976, it would have been better not to vaccinate. What about 2009? Only time will tell, but certainly there have already been more H1N1 cases in 2009 than in 1976.
12. Yes, use of anti-flu stuff will tend to mutate the flu into a different strain. But that can be said of anything, really. The use of alcohol gel on our hands will do the same thing. And antibacterial soaps will too. Diseases also mutate on their own without our enhanced selection. We have a choice, then. Get vaccinated and trust that our scientific and medial people will be able to help our future generations battle a different flu strain (or wipe it out, like we did with Polio). Or not get vaccinateed and allow 10,000 or 20,000 more people a year in the U.S. to die because of the flu. And if we choose the latter, who amung us will stand in front of the friends and family of those 10,000-20,000 victims and tell them, "we have the stuff that would have saved your loved ones, but decided that they couldn't have it, sorry."
13. "Tamiflu has become a nearly worthless drug against seasonal flu. " That's the brilliant thing about the flu vaccine shots-- they are targeted to specific strains! I have no idea why Sardi even brought this up as a point, since the point of the article isn't anti-Tamiflu.
14. "the federal government may coerce or mandate Americans to undergo vaccination." Awesome! I'd vote for that! There is this thing called "Herd Immunity". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herd_immunity Basically, if enough of the population is immunized then those who couldn't get immunized (allergic to eggs, too old/young, pregnant, of for some reason the shot was ineffective) are still protected. There are some communities where the herd immunity to measles and other things has been compromised with the result being needless deaths ( http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=18919 "Measles once again endemic in the United Kingdom." and "the number of children susceptible to measles is now sufficient to support the continuous spread of measles "). So for someone to refuse to get vaccinated is like someone agreeing to put myself and my family at risk. So, if someone doesn't want to get vaccinated then they should be forced to, or moved off to some leper colony somewhere. But that's just my opinion. I'm not sure Pharoh is trying to eradicate all the baby boys now. Maybe if he were WITHOLDING A LIFESAVING PREVENTATIVE FOR A POTENTIALLY WIDESPREAD DEADLY DISEASE, but it sort of seems like he's doing the opposite.
15. "Health authorities repeatedly publish the bogus 36,000 annual flu-related deaths figure" ... " Maybe just 5000-6000 or so flu-related deaths occur annually, mostly among..." [sarcasm]Oh, well, in that case! No problem. Those 5000-6000 were just the unproductive portions of our society anyway! I'll gladly sacrifice those 5000 people to be assured that my kid won't get autism from a vaccine (even though there is no proven link between autism and vaccines). [end sarcasm] Though Sardi tries to make it sound like the other 30,000 deaths were from flu-unrelated pneumonia, the CDC's description of the study ( http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/us_flu-related_deaths.htm ) clarifies that those "extra" deaths were people who are believed to have died of a cause that would not have killed them had they not ALSO had the flu. While it might not be 100% accurate to phrase the conclusion as "influenza kills 36,000 per year", saying "36,000 people died who would probably not have died if they did not have influenza" would be accurate. In the same way, virtually no one dies of AIDS. They die of infections and diseases enabled by the compromised immmune system. However, they are generally counted as having died "of AIDS".
16. While I do agree that the news media has not been responsible in reporting H1N1, we have to remember something: In the past the flu deaths were not tracked during the summer months because there was no significant activity. But this year, because of H1N1, the CDC and other organizations have been tracking the flu during the summer months. So while the recent spike in H1N1 is not quite as big as the previous flu season, it occurred during the off season. As we go into the new flu season, the potential exists for massive flu outbreaks. And indeed, we've seen them already.
Some schools in Colorado are already reporting 25 to 40% absentees due to the flu (no idea how much of that is H1N1 and how much is the normal strain). From personal anecdotal experience in the past few weeks I am seeing people all around me felled by this year's early "bug". Doctors around here aren't even bothering to test if it's H1N1 or conventional flu because the test is expensive and doesn't return any result that helps in the treatment. For either strain, if the patient is mildly sick, rest and fluids are about all you can do. If they have a serious case, they're going to need to head to the hospital. I'm told by my local doctor that Tamiflu seems to only be effective in limiting the duration and severity if administered early in the illness so they're only using it where the patient really seems to be in dire situations.
17. "despite the fact there is strong evidence that vitamins C and D activate the immune system" There is no proven link between Vitamin C and flu/cold immunity
And companies have been sued for claiming that vitamins help to treat colds and flu:
However, there are some indications that Vitamin D from sunlight may inhibit the flu, potentially one factor for why the flu is always more epidemic in winter:
Did you know that Bill Sardi sells a $20 book about vitamins for healthcare and a $6 e-book about the wonders of Vitamin C? Do you suppose he has a vested interest in promoting the consumption of vitamins and the rest of his snake oil? I'm not going to link to his site or his book because I think Bill's entire purpose in writing this article is to drum up publicity for himself and sell more books.
18. Hey, this is the first point that Sardi actually refers to a real article! Oh wait, it's just another article that he, himself, wrote. Um, never mind. I read the article and he seems to be saying that in 1993 there were 93,000 more deaths than the previous year and then somehow blames flu vaccines given to nursing home patients. Now I'm not an expert here, but I'd think that 93,000 nursing home patents dying of any cause would not go unnoticed. This is an incredible claim, and incredible claims require incredible proof. But he offers none. Sardi is just going all conspiracy theory on this again. Might as well blame the deaths on the 93,000 Buffalo Bills fans, who in an act of severe embarrassment after loosing three straight Superbowls, did the only noble thing and committed Hari-Kari.
Except that I don't think there are 93,000 Bills fans (at least, not anymore. Hmmm).
In all seriousness, given Sardi's track record of playing VERY loose with the facts on the above points, I can't take this point seriously at all. Sardi seems to be the only one espousing this theory, and I can find no supporting evidence.
I should also point out that I'm not an expert in this any more than Bill Sardi is an expert in this. Don't take my word for it. Do your own research! Editor's note: David wrote this while suffering from a week-long bout of something miserable that has been determined not to be flu. Chris edited and rewrote it while taking care of his wife who is suffering with what appears to be the flu, though whether it's H1N1 or not is unknown and really irrelevant. Chris is getting his (conventional) flu shot tomorrow, assuming he's not ill already. Thanks to Wikipedia for the influenza image.