Flu Vaccine. Necessary or Harmful?

  1. 2 Just curious as to what you guys think about the flu vaccine. Don't sit here and feed me the CDC's "recommendations", as I am well aware of them and also their "statistics". From my own personal research, I've found that the number of cases of flu related deaths seem to be blown out of proportion. Also that the vaccine contains questionable ingredients, such as formaldehyde and mercury, which are known to be quite toxic to the body...particularly the brain. And it also disturbs me about the strange phenomenon of guillian-barre syndrome that occurs in some people as well as other neurological types of side effects. There are documented vaccine-related deaths from extreme allergic reactions, to unknown reasons, but there is suspicion that these are underreported. I have also ALWAYS been puzzled as to the process of creating the vaccine itself. We basically just make an educated guess as to which strains of flu will be most prevalent during the upcoming flu season and place those strains in the vaccine. So in otherwords, it might work or it might be totally useless.

    This leaves me to question as to why are we injecting our patients and ourselves with this every year? Do the risks of getting or spreading the flu truly outweigh the risks associated with the vaccine? And is it ethical to force all healthcare workers to get an annual flu vaccine or be terminated? In my area, there are hospitals who have fired hundreds of employees who refused to take the vaccine. That's pretty extreme in my opinion. I mean...I've had the flu. Other than feeling like a truck ran over me for a week....I survived. And it really wasn't THAT bad.

    Why are we so paranoid of the flu? Yes it can be a deadly disease....usually only in the sickest, most immunocompromised of patients, like the elderly or those with many comorbidities, so I get that. But...the average healthy person just gets knocked on their keester for a week or so, then they are just fine. And in the process formed new immunities against whatever strain of virus they had. To some extent, it is good for the body to be exposed to pathogens because of the immunities that are developed.

    There are some studies suggesting that annual flu vaccines lead to Alzheimer's later in life. I would personally rather take my chances with the flu every year. And have the right to make that decision for myself without having my job/livelyhood dangling over my head. I just feel like trying to prevent a (in most cases) non-fatal illness is a waste of resources. This really makes me question the true motives of this "flu paranoia" and the use of scare-tactics and bullying to get people to take the vaccine. Yes, threatening your job over a vaccine is bullying in my opinion and it's not right. If there was an outbreak of (insert deadly disease) going on, cities were being quarantined and health care workers were refusing the vaccine....that's a whole different scenario.

    No, I am not a conspiracy theorist that thinks the government is deliberately trying to inject us with "something".

    And for you people with the "it's the right thing to do to proctect your patients" mantra...save it. I wash my hands, I stay home if I have a fever. Period. Your 50/50 flu shot doesn't make you any less likely to spread flu virus if you don't wash your hands. Your hands are a vector whether you are immune or not.

    I welcome all your comments....pro vaccine or against.
    Last edit by HeartRN_09 on Nov 27, '13
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  3. Visit  HeartRN_09 profile page

    About HeartRN_09, BSN, RN

    HeartRN_09 has '5' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Cardiac/Telemetry/step-down care'. From 'OK'; 28 Years Old; Joined Feb '10; Posts: 82; Likes: 130.

    50 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  Okami_RN profile page
    12
    Before I decided to go to nursing school I was a biology major and happened to take an upper level class on virology. While you make some valid points about vaccine reactions and ingredients it is important to remember that vaccine reactions are quite rare, only a very small percentage of the vaccinated population actually develop them. The ingredients needed to preserve the vaccine are in very small quantities and have not been shown to cause any serious long term health issues.

    The flu vaccine is not made based on an educated guess. Scientists around the world study flu outbreaks and trends around the year to determine which are most likely to be active during the season.

    I strongly advocate for the annual flu vaccine. What many people fail to realize is that vaccination has prevented MANY childhood illnesses that were once crippling or deadly. We have essentially almost eradicated polio and completely did it with Smallpox. In a world where everyone is interconnected the risk for a flu pandemic is quite real, as we saw with swine flu a few years ago. Imagine a flu outbreak like the Spanish Flu of 1918 in today's world, with thousands of international flights a day. Imagine how quickly infection could spread.

    While many of us healthcare workers complain that we have to get a vaccine, we are at the front lines if there were to be an outbreak so I would like to be prepared along with the necessary PPE.
    Last edit by Okami_RN on Nov 27, '13 : Reason: Spelling
  5. Visit  Glycerine82 profile page
    7
    I would rather take my chances with the Flu too, because I don't really care if I get it. I would not rather take my chances and risk giving it to a patient who can't get the shot themselves and I really don't want to wear a mask, they are suffocating. That's why I get it. There are tons and tons and tons of threads around here on this topic, btw. They all have some good opinions.
    wtbcrna, cardiacfreak, Madras, and 4 others like this.
  6. Visit  morte profile page
    0
    1) oP has stated her view that side effects are underreported, can you help us with that? not just deny it?

    2) this is pretty much the definition of an educated guess, lol.
    3) The subject here is the flu vac, not the others.
    Quote from happyloser
    Before I decided to go to nursing school I was a biology major and happened to take an upper level class on virology. 1)While you make some valid points about vaccine reactions and ingredients it is important to remember that vaccine reactions are quite rare, only a very small percentage of the vaccinated population actually develop them. The ingredients needed to preserve the vaccine are in very small quantities and have not been shown to cause any serious long term health issues.

    2)The flu vaccine is not made based on an educated guess. Scientists around the world study flu outbreaks and trends around the year to determine which are most likely to be active during the season.

    I strongly advocate for the annual flu vaccine.3) the subject here is specifically the flu vac, not the rest. 3)What many people fail to realize is that vaccination has prevented MANY childhood illnesses that were once crippling or deadly. We have essentially almost eradicated polio and completely did it with Smallpox. In a world where everyone is interconnected the risk for a flu pandemic is quite real, as we saw with swine flu a few years ago. Imagine a flu outbreak like the Spanish Flu of 1918 in today's world, with thousands of international flights a day. Imagine how quickly infection could spread.

    While many of us healthcare workers complain that we have to get a vaccine, we are at the front lines if there were to be an outbreak so I would like to be prepared along with the necessary PPE.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Nov 28, '13
  7. Visit  HeartRN_09 profile page
    1
    Haha Morte those were my thoughts exactl, especially with number 2.
    cardiacfreak likes this.
  8. Visit  HeartRN_09 profile page
    1
    Haha Morte those were my thoughts exactly, especially with #2.

    I think overall my point is being missed. Why is the potential of a flu outbreak so disturbing? The flu is an inconvenience not a death sentence. I'm pretty certain that a lot of the deaths attributed to "flu" are more like the straw that finally broke the camel's back....someone with end stage CHF or COPD is not going to fare well against a respiratory illness on top of the problems that already exist. In essence the flu didn't kill them....it just helped push them over the edge that they were hanging by a thread to in the first place.
    Bklyn_RN likes this.
  9. Visit  morte profile page
    0
    yup, in a very cold, but realistic statement, it is culling the herd. You know that pneumonia was called "the old man's friend"?
    Quote from HeartRN_09
    Haha Morte those were my thoughts exactly, especially with #2.

    I think overall my point is being missed. Why is the potential of a flu outbreak so disturbing? The flu is an inconvenience not a death sentence. I'm pretty certain that a lot of the deaths attributed to "flu" are more like the straw that finally broke the camel's back....someone with end stage CHF or COPD is not going to fare well against a respiratory illness on top of the problems that already exist. In essence the flu didn't kill them....it just helped push them over the edge that they were hanging by a thread to in the first place.
  10. Visit  fetch profile page
    9
    Quote from morte
    yup, in a very cold, but realistic statement, it is culling the herd
    So you're saying I deserve to be "culled" for daring to live with a respiratory illness?

    What about the children who died from garden-variety flu between 2004-2012, 40% of which had no underlying risk and were perfectly healthy before they caught the flu? (source) Did they need to be culled? You're saying the estimated 100,000-200,000 deaths from swine flu, a majority of whom were young people, deserved to die? (source) You're saying that we should all stop getting the flu shots and invite another flu pandemic like the one in 1918, which killed more people in ONE year than the Bubonic Plague killed in FOUR? (source) But hey, that's just getting rid of the chaff, right? Who needs a younger generation anyway? The 1918 flu was most deadly to people between the ages of 20 and 40 (source), which is the majority of the current workforce (including healthcare), but that's no big loss I'm sure.

    [ETA] All of which is not to mention, someone with CHF or COPD could still live for years if they aren't exposed to a flu virus. How dare you suggest that they should go ahead and die now instead of spending their last days/months/years alive? Do you also think cancer patients shouldn't get treatment? I mean, they're going to die anyway, and if it's discovered at stage four why even bother offering them treatment. [/ETA]

    I didn't really expect to see any new anti-vaccine arguments in this thread, but you have surpassed all others with your incredible assertion that people deserve to die from a disease just because you don't believe the research presented by the CDC.


    Quote from HeartRN_09
    To some extent, it is good for the body to be exposed to pathogens because of the immunities that are developed.
    Do you realize what you have described here? VACCINATION. That is literally the entire point of getting your flu shot.
    Last edit by fetch on Nov 27, '13 : Reason: eta in brackets
    Not_A_Hat_Person, wtbcrna, Luckyyou, and 6 others like this.
  11. Visit  Twisted Nurse profile page
    4
    I did my honors research on the efficacy of the flu vaccine among health care workers. Although recommended, less than half of HCWs get the vaccine. This is due to numerous misconceptions about the vaccine, lack of access and education about the flu and the flu vaccine.

    And there is substantial research that shows that HCWs are vectors of the flu virus. After reading the literature out there, I am definitely a proponent of the flu vaccine. Of course, I do believe that forcing HCWs to take it or even terminating employment is very severe and out of line if they decline the vaccine. But you have to remember, the patients you deal with in the hospital are sick and vulnerable, and the last thing their body needs is a flu virus to besiege them on top of what they are in the hospital for already. Granted, if you are young and healthy, the flu vaccine is not necessarily needed. Good hand hygiene will do. But if you do take care of children, elderly and/or critically ill patients, I personally would advise to take it.

    When a person is infected with the flu, transmission actually can occur prior to symptoms appearing. So for example, if you're infected unknowingly, you can transmit that to your coworkers and patients, and they can transmit it to other coworkers and other patients, exponentiating the effect. The flu is highly contagious. As a nurse, getting vaccinated is the ability for me to protect myself, my fellow coworkers, and my patients.
    mama.RN, loriangel14, fetch, and 1 other like this.
  12. Visit  BostonFNP profile page
    17
    Quote from HeartRN_09

    From my own personal research, I've found that the number of cases of flu related deaths seem to be blown out of proportion.
    Share the sources your have uncovered in your research so we can read them and respond. What study do you think is most compelling?

    Quote from HeartRN_09
    Why are we so paranoid of the flu? Yes it can be a deadly disease....usually only in the sickest, most immunocompromised of patients, like the elderly or those with many comorbidities, so I get that.
    Exactly. Are the majority of patients on wards or in clinics healthy? Most nurses are surrounded by....the sickest people.

    Quote from HeartRN_09
    To some extent, it is good for the body to be exposed to pathogens because of the immunities that are developed.
    This is an argument for vaccination isn't it?

    Quote from HeartRN_09
    There are some studies suggesting that annual flu vaccines lead to Alzheimer's later in life.
    Please share a citation!

    This is an absolute untruth that has been disproved by several major studies including the landmark 2004 paper in JAMA as well as well-powered study from the CMAJ looking directly at this link. The original link was proposed by Dr. Fudenberg, who started the MMR and Autisim debate. He was also stripped of his medical license in 1995 for unethical conduct.

    Verreault, R., Laurin, D., Lindsay, J., & De Serres, G. (2001). Past exposure to vaccines and subsequent risk of Alzheimer's disease. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 165(11), 1495-1498.

    Quote from HeartRN_09
    This really makes me question the true motives of this "flu paranoia" and the use of scare-tactics and bullying to get people to take the vaccine.
    Google flu vaccine on the internet.

    Do you get "scare" tactics from the CDC and AMA and AANP?

    No. You get "scare" tactics from a myriad of pseudoscience websites promoting false data and defunct studies to "scare" people into avoiding vaccination.
    Last edit by BostonFNP on Nov 27, '13
    Not_A_Hat_Person, wtbcrna, NRSKarenRN, and 14 others like this.
  13. Visit  Laurie52 profile page
    0
    Quote from HeartRN_09
    Haha Morte those were my thoughts exactly, especially with #2. I think overall my point is being missed. Why is the potential of a flu outbreak so disturbing? The flu is an inconvenience not a death sentence. I'm pretty certain that a lot of the deaths attributed to "flu" are more like the straw that finally broke the camel's back....someone with end stage CHF or COPD is not going to fare well against a respiratory illness on top of the problems that already exist. In essence the flu didn't kill them....it just helped push them over the edge that they were hanging by a thread to in the first place.
    The global mortality rate from the 1918/1919 pandemic is not known, but an estimated 10% to 20% of those who were infected died. With about a third of the world population infected, this case-fatality ratio means 3% to 6% of the entire global population died.[29] Influenza may have killed as many as 25 million people in its first 25 weeks. Older estimates say it killed 40–50 million people,[4] while current estimates say 50–100 million people worldwide were killed.[30]
  14. Visit  Steve123 profile page
    1
    Good research! You are an independent thinker. Very few nurses are able to think out of box. The majority of nurses think only within so called "nursing theories" and nursing dogmas. I am healthy and I am not going to inject myself with a "small" dose of mercury. A question to those who think that the dose of mercury in flu vaccine is small. Do you measure medication dose in pounds or milligrams, sometimes micro grams?
    Bklyn_RN likes this.
  15. Visit  HeartRN_09 profile page
    3
    Quote from BostonFNP
    Share the sources your have uncovered in your research so we can read them and respond. What study do you think is most compelling? Exactly. Are the majority of patients on wards or in clinics healthy? Most nurses are surrounded by....the sickest people. This is an argument for vaccination isn't it? Please share a citation! This is an absolute untruth that has been disproved by several major studies including the landmark 2004 paper in JAMA as well as well-powered study from the CMAJ looking directly at this link. The original link was proposed by Dr. Fudenberg, who started the MMR and Autisim debate. He was also stripped of his medical license in 1995 for unethical conduct. Verreault, R., Laurin, D., Lindsay, J., & De Serres, G. (2001). Past exposure to vaccines and subsequent risk of Alzheimer's disease. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 165(11), 1495-1498. Google flu vaccine on the internet. Do you get "scare" tactics from the CDC and AMA and AANP? No. You get "scare" tactics from a myriad of pseudoscience websites promoting false data and defunct studies to "scare" people into avoiding vaccination.
    You have some valid points and it sounds like you are well versed in the medical literature. I can't sit here and quote specific studies and I'm not going to pretend that I can! Otherwise I would've listed citations for everything I said. I could definitely put in the time and do it, but frankly I have better things to do than write an entire thesis on allnurses.com about the controversy surrounding the flu shot. That was never my intention! I also am not going to sit and pick apart every single person's argument and make snide and condescending remarks about why they're wrong. I am merely curious about other people's opinions on this subject as I have only scratched the surface on the wealth of information for both sides.

    That being said, if you look at the vital statistics reports on the CDC's website you'll find that they claim 3,000-49,000 people have died yearly from flu since the 70's. Why such a wide range? In 2010 it listed only 500 true influenza deaths, that's 0.2 deaths per 100,000 people. That statistic doesn't particularly make me want to run out and get a flu shot. Then it goes on to more or less say that they don't really know how many people die from the flu each year, so the 3,000-49,000 is actually just an "estimate" because they are looping deaths from possible flu-complications into that mix. Well, what comes first? The chicken or the egg? Did people get flu and subsequently bacterial pneumonia or pneumonia, and then contract the flu due to their immunocompromised state? If they didn't test for flu on admission or during the hospitalization....how would you know??? That sounds like a bunch of fuzzy math to me or I am just missing something?

    Have we even considered the profit margin for the flu vaccine?? That's a multimillion dollar industry. If I had my hands in that pie, I'd want people to get vaccinated too! Not to mention....who do you think provides the funding for the studies in the " literature" aka the Bible of modern medicine? You can make a research study reflect the results you want a lot of the time. I took that to heart in my statistics class. I would like to see data from several meta-analysis studies proving consistently that the flu vaccine provides greater benefits than risks in all populations.

    I want to challenge people to THINK! Think outside the box!! Just because you read something in a reputable journal does not necessarily mean that it's immune to corruption and falsities.
    Bklyn_RN, cardiacfreak, and morte like this.


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