Now, I need to admit that I used to get a yearly flu shot – mainly when I was in college and nursing school and before I had kids. After having kids and starting my journey into Real Food, I naturally started looking into other things I put into my body besides food. Prior to that, I never second-guessed vaccines. After all, it’s what the government and my doctors had always strongly suggested, right?
Now, if you refuse the flu shot, it can feel like you are in the minority.
For some background info, you should know that my first two kids are fully vaccinated. My youngest is not. He has had a few vaccines but we’ve skipped a lot of them. I don’t judge those of you who have fully vaccinated kids OR those of you who get the flu shot every year. I think we all make the best decisions for our family based on the information we have at the time. For me, more information has led to the decision of less (or no more) vaccines.
For the last 6 years or so, none of us have gotten the flu vaccine and here are a few reasons why:
1. I don’t like putting unnatural stuff into our bodies.
One of the best sources for vaccine information is the National Vaccine Information Center. Here’s what they have to say about what’s in the vaccine:
The flu vaccine is prepared from the fluids of chick embryos inoculated with a specific type(s) of influenza virus. The strains of flu virus in the vaccine are inactivated with formaldehyde and preserved with Thimerosal, which is a mercury derivative. (There is a limited supply of thimerosal-free influenza vaccines and it is supplied in single dose vials which do not require a preservative).
Influenza vaccines are Category C drugs, which means that animal reproduction studies have not been conducted and it is not known whether these vaccines can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or if they can affect reproduction capacity. -Source
Even more, if you would like an eye-opening lesson, check out the ingredients in the Seasonal/H1N1 flu vaccine here!
2. I prefer us to build immunities on our own.
When you obtain the flu naturally (actually getting sick from it), you build long-lasting (even lifetime) immunities to that strain and closely related strains. That goes for other diseases as well. The flu shot only offers temporary immunity. And since they try to guess which flu strains will be prevalent the next flu season and only include 3 of them, it’s not guaranteed that it will protect from that years’ actual strains. PLUS, the flu virus strains are always changing and mutating – so that’s a lot to keep up with!
We use Homemade Elderberry Syrup to help prevent the flu. It’s also a great treatment (in place of Tamiflu) if you DO happen to come down with the flu. Read more here about Elderberry Syrup: A Natural Cold/Flu Remedy, and how to cheaply make it yourself.
Cod Liver Oil is another immune system booster. Also, I firmly believe that eating mostly Real Food helps a TON. We have been sick so much less since doing so. Things like coconut oil and homemade chicken broth are other great things to add into your diet.
In my mind, it makes sense that if your body isn’t having to deal with chemicals, pesticides, and fake food and instead is getting nourished by what it’s receiving, then it can do a better job fighting off diseases and sicknesses. No source for that statement, by the way. Only my common sense!
4. The potential side effects/dangers outweigh the fear.
The “swine flu epidemic” of last year was a big drama-fest, in my opinion. In fact, the numbers were so low that at one point the CDC actually instructed states to stop counting cases. Weird, huh? It’s important to know that this years’ vaccine INCLUDES the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine as well. If you are pregnant or wanting to become pregnant, you may want to read a recent article on how a Study Confirms Anecdotal Link Between Flu Vax and Miscarriage. To me, that vaccine is certainly too new and unstudied to be injecting it into my body. - Source
5. I’m not convinced the flu shot is even effective.
And I’m not alone. Read this:
Like all vaccines, the flu vaccine only gives a temporary immunity to the virus strains or closely related virus strains contained in the vaccine. The only way to get natural and permanent immunity to a strain of flu is to recover naturally from the flu. Natural immunity to a particular strain of flu can be protective if that strain or closely related strains come around again in the future. However, because the vaccine only provides temporary immunity to selected strains and those strains may or may not be prevalent each year, doctors say you have to get a flu shot every year.
Every year, federal health agency officials try to guess which three flu strains are most likely to be prevalent in the U.S. the following year to determine which strains will be included in next year’s flu vaccine. If they guess right, the vaccine is thought to be 70 to 90 percent effective in temporarily preventing the flu of the season in healthy persons less than 65 years old. For those over 65 years old, the efficacy rate drops to 30 to 40% but the vaccine is assumed to be 50 to 60% effective in preventing hospitalization and pneumonia and 80% effective in preventing death from the flu. When health officials do not correctly predict which flu strains will be most prevalent and the vaccine’s effectiveness is much lower for that year.
However, according to a 2011 review of existing research, inactivated influenza vaccine had a pooled efficacy of 59% for adults 18 to 65 years of age for 8 out of 12 seasons. Similar data for inactivated influenza vaccine for adults over 65 years of age and children between 2-17 years of age was lacking and require additional study. This same review found that Live-Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV), had a pooled efficacy of 83% in 9 of the 12 seasons analyzed for children aged 6 months to 7 years. Similar data for LAIV efficacy for children aged 8-17 years was lacking and requires additional study. -Source
So, basically, it’s 59% effective (on average) in adults. Just over 50/50. To me, the additives and preservatives in the shot aren’t enough for me to benefit from a 50% chance of maybe getting the flu. I’ve had the flu before and while it’s inconvenient and no fun to be sick, the preventative measures I take and the natural remedies (like Elderberry Syrup) that I use have caused my recovery to be quick.
I have had people ask me if I would get the flu shot for me or my kids if one of us was in the “high risk” group – elderly or very young or with weakened immune systems. My answer would still be “No”. The reason? Having something injected into me that could possibly further weaken my immune system as a foreign substance just doesn’t make sense. I am sure others might make a different decision and that is fine!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and I do not want you to substitute my advice or experience for that of a qualified healthcare practitioner. I only urge you to get all of the info you can, ask questions and then make the decision that is best for you and your family!
This post is shared at: Sunday School @ ButterBeliever, Monday Mania, Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Real Food Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Wednesday Fresh Foods, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Whole New Mom, Thank Your Body Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Freaky Friday, Fight Back Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Simply Natural Saturdays, Big Wave Wednesday @ HolisticSquid.com