The flu shot is perfectly safe (almost) -

The flu shot is perfectly safe (almost)

Odds of a serious side-effect are 0.00001 per cent


When it comes to the swine flu vaccine—or any seasonal flu shot, for that matter—the myths are as virulent as the disease itself. The shot causes cancer. The shot increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The shot triggers autism. But while countless Canadians have decided not to roll up their sleeves for the H1N1 vaccine—fearing the needle might do more damage than the flu it’s designed to fight—the actual stats are quite reassuring. According to Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada’s chief public health officer, only 36 of 6.6 million Canadians have suffered “serious adverse reactions” from the swine flu vaccine, which include life-threatening illness and hospitalization. One elderly person who received the shot has died, but the death hasn’t been conclusively linked to the vaccine. In contrast, 198 Canadians have died of the H1N1 strain since it first emerged in the spring. “Canadians can be assured that to date the frequency of serious reactions is less than 1 per 100,000 doses distributed, which is what we’ve seen with other vaccines,” Butler-Jones told a news conference this morning. “The benefit of immunization, the prevention of serious illness and death far outweigh any theoretical risk associated with being immunized.”

Toronto Sun

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The flu shot is perfectly safe (almost)

  1. So the epidemic increase in auto-immune disorders (which correlates almost perfectly with Vaccination rates) is fiction?

    Figures don't lie but liars figure. There's been around two weeks of data collection and no serious long term study ever of suspcted linkages between vaccine and asthma, MS, arthritis, lupus etc.

    By the same standards, gun shot wounds are rarely fatal, it's the damned bleeding that's killing folks.

    • Correlation is not causation – just because auto-immune disorders are increasing in the population as are vaccination rates does not mean the two are at all related. Do you have a study demonstrating that people who do get vaccinated are more likely to have auto-immune disorders than those who do not?

      • Go to His post there today should answer many of your questions. I just checked and the vaccine story has already had 127,000 page views today. He is quoting the inventor of the vaccine and a former FDA vaccine official….you know crackpots.

        • I don't see any studies linked there. What you've given is an opinion piece with no hard science behind it, but with a fair number of products whose marketability depends on people being afraid of mainstream medicine.

          This guy is using his credentials to sell products that are completely ineffective (which he should well know) by promoting fear and doubt – he's a shyster. Just taking a look at one product (krill oil) is enough to convince me of this, as he's using rather standard false claims about the effectiveness of encapsulated omega-3 and antioxidants. He's jumped on the homeopathic medicine bandwagon and is looking to score a quick buck by making people afraid of mainstream medicine.

          Again, show me a study, not an opinion piece. A simple sampling of individuals with auto-immune disorders and those without vs. their propensity for vaccination before the disorder presented itself.

          • No studies there either. Opinion pieces written by professionals, sure, but they reference no empirical evidence, meaning they're just that – opinion. The autism-vaccine link is rather easy to test – simply compare vaccination rates amongst those with autism with that of the general population. And it's been done, repeatedly, with no real correlation demonstrated, despite incredible attention from the scientific community on the subject when the claim first surfaced decades ago. Every major medical body has rejected the notion that vaccines cause anything but rare allergic reactions and extremely infrequently, G-B syndrome (which is a legitimate concern).

          • Google Amish +vaccination +autism

            There is no incidence of autism in the "never vaccinated" population. Other autoimmune disorders DO correlate higher than smoking/cancer compared to never vaccinated populations…what is "public health policy" there? If you accept the smoking/cancer argument how can you be so obstinate on this?

            As to the "lack of studies" in my healing arts post above, there are around 25 or 30 papers referenced. Do you work for Glaxo? I've encountered the deliberately obtuse many times and almost always they are beholden to an interest other than the one they are purporting to represent.

          • No, there aren't. There are opinion pieces, those are not studies. They all cite other opinion papers, not studies. These are not published in academic journals, because they are opinion.


            This is a study. Notice that it has a method, data, is published in a respected medical journal and references other studies also published in medical journals.

            As for my "obtuseness", the only interest I'm beholden to is one in which people base their opinions on data and science, rather than conspiracy theories which, thus far, have nothing to back them up but the opinions of "experts" trying to peddle their wares over the internet to saps for a quick buck. If you've got some data, real data, to support your contrarian position, show it. Not opinion papers, actual research.


          You can't be serious. I'm supposed to ignore Canada's chief public health official because of a blog post at the site of some D.O. trying to hawk krill oil and detoxification using green algae? Alternative health practices certainly have validity. People hawking branded lines of "natural health products" online are not their best spokespeople (well, maybe they ARE their best spokespeople, but they shouldn't be…). You might as well be asking me to take my vaccine advice from the Sham Wow guy.

          It's sad to me, the apparent inability of supposedly intelligent people to distinguish between serious scientists and cranks.

          Here's a hint:

          Chief public health officer of your country? Probably a scientist.

          Guy on the internet trying to sell you krill oil, fish oil, holistic health products for your dog, and DVDs at low (LOW!) prices (including exclusive access to his "Inner Circle" of experts for the low, low price of 24.99 a month!!!) probably a crank.

          I mean, c'mon. You might as well be citing that guy I see on T.V. late at night claiming that the powers that be have already cured cancer and are just hiding it from us. I'm not sending that guy $24.99 either. I mean, maybe my microwave really is going to kill me, but I'm not going to believe that if it simply comes from the site of a guy who, coincidentally, would like to sell me the Mercola brand convection oven.

          Dress it up in the internet all you like, snake oil is still snake oil…

          • Like the president of the Wheat Board is non-political, like the president of the CFIA is non-political, like CN was non-political when it was a Crown Corp. ditto for Air Canada?

            No, politics would never intrude into the single most expensive undertaking of government. Health is the single shining example of probity in government affairs.

            As to the guy trying to sell me krill oil, check out why he recommends that particular souce of EFAs and Omega 3s, at least he's paying his own way and his customers are spending their own money. The guy trying to "give me a free flu shot" is paid by me and so is the stuff he's giving away.

          • "Chief public health officer of your country? Probably a scientist."

            So what. Are scientists and/or doctors infallible? Vaccines are declared safe all the time and then taken off the market a year or two later because they weren't actually as safe as first claimed.

            Maybe you are comfortable with being a guinea pig to see how mercury and a couple other adjuvants affect humans. Others are not.

          • Of course scientists and doctor's aren't infallible, the important part is the data behind it. The doctors peter here has referenced have no supporting studies, just their own opinions. Those LKO has mentioned do have studies to back up the claims, studies which have repeatedly shown no correlation between vaccines and the vast majority of disorders, including auto-immune disorders and autism-spectrum disorders.

          • "Ottawa initially ordered the adjuvant-free vaccine for use by pregnant women and young children, since there is a lack of clinical data around the use of adjuvants in these two groups.

            But when data started showing that the adjuvant version offers better immune protection for children under three years of age, federal health officials decided to offer some of the adjuvant-free doses to Canadians aged 10 to 64 with a healthy immune system." CBC, Nov '09


            What do you think of the first sentence? Does it give you confidence in medical profession that they make things up as they go along? Exactly how much data was collected in such a short period of time and are you filled with confidence they are 100% correct now, rather than two weeks ago when they were claiming the opposite.

          • That's about the effectiveness of an additive – a minor consideration of "does it work?" vs. "does it work slightly better?"

            Of course, there is never time to know the exact effect of any given vaccine, but the same can be said of any application – heck, the best doctors in the world can't tell what exactly happens to any given person when they eat an orange. However, vaccines, both theoretically and through repeated experimentation, have not been demonstrated to increase the incidence of any disorder besides G-B syndrome.

            I'm not claiming 100% confidence in the claims of safety, but I feel that way about every instance of science, where nothing is ever 100%. Yet, we have mountains of data that indicate what the most likely downsides of vaccination are, and they do not seem to include anything peter mentions. If you have studies – actual, peer reviewed studies – that indicate otherwise, I'd love to see them, but there are numerous ones that indicate that vaccines are largely safe.

          • I agree that, in general, vaccines do work and do not cause other horrible diseases/disorders. But that's not true for everyone ever produced because vaccines are regularly introduced and then removed after a year or two because new symptoms have cropped up.

            My skepticism of doctors/medicine started about 20 years ago when I went to see my family doctor shortly after Christmas. Doctor had been given calendar as a present – it was calender of medicine and medical procedures that were performed on patients but we considered barbaric a couple of decades later. Anyways, doctor shows me the calendar, has a laugh at doctors older than him and thinks they are rubes. I asked him which procedures he did regularly now would be on this calendar in twenty years.

            I agree that vaccines are mostly safe and that's why I would agree to have one. But the H1N1 vaccine has not been thoroughly tested yet and what happens if it turns out to be one of those vaccines that get yanked from the market because it was not as safe as first claimed.

          • Well, for one the H1N1 vaccine isn't that much different than a standard flu shot, largely because H1N1 isn't that much different from a standard flu (actually, it pretty much is a standard flu). The only difference is the introduction of the adjuvant, which has been tested with other flu vaccines in the past and, generally speaking, is only left out of the regular flu shot because of cost/effectiveness considerations. Health officials were worried about the virulence and timing of the H1N1 strain, so they brought out the big guns.

            But, if you're really concerned, wait a few months for more testing (both in labs and now in the real world) to be done, then get the shot if you feel like it. Depending on where you work and whether you have kids, you'll likely get H1N1 and just be sick for a week, after which you'll make a full and quick recovery.

            I don't think there's any real basis to worry about this particular flu shot, but to each his own – if you don't feel safe with the shot, don't get it (and please stay home if you get sick). What I do worry about is conspiracy theories like those peter's throwing about, with no evidence to back them up or scientific theory behind them.

          • Do you not think it a tad ominous that vaccination the "corner stone of public health policy" which billions of public dollars have been spent on, has never had long term safety and efficacy studies?

            If no one funds the studies how do you propose they be conducted other than inferential epidemiology? As to LKO he posits diddly but opinion (which is his right) whereas you are acting as an agent of influence with a bunch of hokey "appeal to authority" arguments while trying to erect straw men in my statements and references. I'd like to know where your IP is.

  2. Keep on putting the BS out there. I don't really understand where the 6.6 million vaccinated Canadians are hiding.