LETTER: Flu vaccine: What if numbers were reversed?

Posted 7/4/17

Well, the numbers are in.

According to the state Department of Health Immunization Office, there were 268 deaths attributed to the flu this past season. Of those, 119 had received the flu shot, 59 …

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LETTER: Flu vaccine: What if numbers were reversed?

Posted

Well, the numbers are in.

According to the state Department of Health Immunization Office, there were 268 deaths attributed to the flu this past season. Of those, 119 had received the flu shot, 59 had not, and the vaccination status of 84 was unknown.

Two hundred fifty-five people had pre-existing conditions; 234 were over the age of 65.

One has to wonder – if the vaccinated versus unvaccinated numbers were reversed, would it not be shouted from the rooftops by our state and local health officials?

So, I’ll ask a question considering the bona fide statistics: In the 2016-17 flu season, you were twice as likely to die from an influenza-related illness if you received the flu shot. What other medical intervention would you risk if you knew those odds?

A healthy, robust immune system does not come out of a syringe. Good nutrition, adequate levels of vitamins C and D, sufficient sleep and exercise, and avoidance of environmental toxins are key to good health and well-being.

You can find the package inserts for last year’s flu shot and other vaccines online. You can find the material safety data sheet for thimerosal online. An excerpt from section 11 of the one on thimerosal: “Changes in sperm production, decreased offspring survival, and offspring nervous system effects including mild to severe mental retardation and motor coordination impairment.”

Caveat emptor.

ANNETTE HUENKE

Port Townsend

Editor’s note: The debate about vaccinations has been going on for some time in Jefferson County and in particular between Ms. Huenke and Dr. Tom Locke. The Leader asked Dr. Locke, health officer for Jefferson County, to respond so that both sides of the issue could be presented in the same edition. Dr. Locke wrote:

“Ms. Huenke’s assertion that ‘you are twice as likely to die’ from influenza if you receive a flu shot is untrue and misleading. Flu vaccination is not 100 percent effective in preventing influenza infection and its complications. In most flu seasons, effectiveness is in the 50-60 percent range and varies according to age and health status.

“We have long known that flu vaccine is less effective in the elderly and in those who have chronic illnesses that impair their immune systems. We also know that the risk of influenza-related death increases with age and the presence of chronic disease. While I cannot verify Ms. Huenke’s statistics, it would not be surprising that elderly and chronically ill individuals who received flu vaccine nonetheless contracted influenza and died from its complications. This is the reason public health officials strongly recommend that children and healthy, non-elderly adults get vaccinated for influenza. Vaccine effectiveness is highest in these populations, and their immunity reduces the level of infection in the community and protects the elderly and chronically ill from exposure to active flu cases. And senior citizens still derive some benefit, albeit reduced, from flu immunization.

“Vaccines in general, and influenza vaccine in particular, have saved countless lives. A more effective influenza vaccine would be very welcome, but 50-60 percent effectiveness is the best current technology can offer.”

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