Why I Never Got a Flu Shot
Written in 2014
I decided to resurrect a post I made to Facebook in 2014.
How likely you are to die of flu vs. experience extreme injury from a flu shot? I thought those statistics might be interesting, so I decided to do some digging.
The CDC’s model indicates that, on average, 36,000 people die from influenza-like-illness (ILI) complications yearly. This includes actual influenza, pneumonia or secondary infections to influenza, and influenza-like illness.
A 2009 study in the British Medical Journal showed that 7% of ILI is caused by actual influenza (this link is broken now 8 years later, so I’ve linked to this 2017 paper instead showing similar rates of actual influenza). The remaining 93% of influenza-like illness is caused by rhinoviruses or other unknown viruses which vaccines do not protect against.
Assuming this, there are at most roughly 2,520 deaths attributable to actual influenza each year. If you peruse CDC documents carefully, you will find that they also admit that at most, 10% of influenza-classed deaths are from actual influenza.
Also according to the CDC, only around 10% of all ILI deaths are in people under 65 years of age, i.e. 252 deaths. Let’s further assume that ALL of these deaths were in unvaccinated people, and that 70% of them could have been prevented (that’s the percentage of the people who normally respond with protective titers to the flu vaccine). We're now down to 176 yearly vaccine-preventable deaths from influenza.
Roughly 100 of these deaths will be children, so that means this number is further reduced to roughly 76 yearly vaccine-preventable deaths from influenza in adults.
Conversely, 95 people per year on average since 2005 have been compensated for injury or death by the government each year from the flu vaccine. Roughly 2/3 of these injuries and deaths are in adults, so roughly 64 adults on average per year were injured or have died from the flu vaccine.
In summary, for healthy adults only, in relation to the influenza vaccine:
Vaccine deaths or injuries per year: 64
Vaccine-preventable deaths: 76
Obviously, there is a range of uncertainty in both of these numbers, but the likelihood of either of these events is very low. It’s on par with being mauled to death by a dog, struck by lightning, or being legally executed by the state.
These numbers will be slightly different if you are a child, and substantially different if you are an elderly adult. Assuming that the 185 million Americans who don't get vaccinated for flu would get vaccinated for it, only around 9 million cases of flu would be prevented, generously assuming that there are 185 million who would get flu without the vaccine (this number is only around 5%-20%), that 7% of that number would get actual flu, and that 70% of that number would be protected from the flu by the vaccine. The actual number of people who could be protected from flu by getting a flu shot is probably more like 1 million.
The best independent evidence available that evaluates influenza vaccine efficacy across many different groups of individuals (elderly, children, healthy adults, and people with various respiratory disease or who are immunocompromised) is here. The results are surprising, with the positive effects estimated to be quite limited for most groups of people, even for healthcare workers working with the elderly. (Note: these data may have been updated in the last 8 years as Tom Jefferson has come under attack by the mainstream medical profession.)
As you can also see from the graphs below, there were obviously some very powerful factors that reduced the vast majority of influenza-classed mortality before the flu vaccine came online in the late 1960s. Of course, this doesn't mean that there could be not be another flu-related Black Swan event such as the 1918 influenza pandemic. Whether health authorities are capable of predicting and preparing for such an event by inclusion of the relevant strains of influenza in the yearly vaccine remains to be seen.
Graphs below are from "Trends in Recorded Influenza Mortality: United States, 1900 -- 2004” at this link.
For further risks associated with the flu vaccine, including increased risk of flu transmission, increased susceptibility among the vaccinated as they age, lack of safety testing, increased susceptibility to other viruses, increased neurological problems such as Guillain_Barre and Bell's palsy, and bias in CDC-funded non-profits, see here:
https://www.facebook.com/PICphysicians/posts/955405457948944 https://www.facebook.com/PICphysicians/posts/955917671231056 https://www.facebook.com/PICphysicians/posts/899877170168440 https://www.facebook.com/PICphysicians/posts/914670465355777 https://www.facebook.com/PICphysicians/posts/899882416834582 https://www.facebook.com/PICphysicians/posts/914668488689308
Doshi P. The unofficial vaccine educators: are CDC funded non-profits sufficiently independent? BMJ 2017; 359:j5104.