Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dr. Jay Gordon on Swine Flu Vaccine

Hello and merry meet to all my new readers! Welcome. :)

I just received an e-mail from Dr. Jay Gordon regarding the swine flu vaccine and I thought I'd share it with you, loyal readers. I have a far more comprehensive piece on the swine flu planned for early next week.

I will say though, I completely agree with Dr. Gordon.

Without further ado, here's his thoughts on the topic:


I have seen more children and adults with influenza-like illness: 104 degree fevers, muscle soreness, sore throat and negative tests for strep, than in any summer I can remember. I haven't used the "flu swab" to test anybody, but I'm sure that many if not most of these sick people had Swine Flu. They all felt miserable, and they are all feeling just fine now.

Preventing outbreaks of this "novel H1N1" influenza may be a mistake of huge proportions. Yes, sadly, there will be fatalities among the 6 billion citizens of the planet. Tens of millions of cases of any illness will lead to morbidity and mortality, but this is completely (tragically) unavoidable. The consequences of not acquiring immunity this time around, however, could be really terrible and far outweigh a mass prevention program.

Here's my rationale for not using Tamiflu: If (if, if, if) this virus circles the globe as the rather innocent influenza it now appears to be, but mutates and returns as a very virulent form of influenza, it will be quite wonderful and life-saving to have formed antibodies against its 2009 version. These antibodies may be far from 100% protective, but they will help. This is incredibly important but being ignored in the interest of expediency.

In 1918, it appears that influenza A (an H1N1, by the way) did this globe-trotting mutation and killed millions. The times and state of medical care are not comparable, but a milder parallel occurrence is possible. Perhaps this happens every 100 years or so, perhaps every three million.

Whenever possible, we should form antibodies against viruses at the right stage of their existence and at the right stage of our lives (For example, chickenpox in childhood and EBV/mono in early childhood. There are many other examples.) Getting many viral illnesses confers lifetime immunity, and very few vaccines do.

Tamiflu is a very powerful drug with little proven efficacy against this bug, and with its major side effect being tummy upset. I'm not using it at all. Psychiatric side effects are also possible.

I also won't be giving the flu shot to the kids and parents in my practice unless there are extraordinary risk factors. I anticipate giving none at all this year. I doubt that there will be any really large problems with the vaccine, but I also doubt any really large benefits. As I said, I think that this year's version of this particular H1N1 is as "mild" as it will ever be and that getting sick with it this year will be good rather than bad. The chances that a new "flu shot" will be overwhelmingly effective are small.

I consider this, and most seasonal and novel influenza A vaccines, as "experimental" vaccines; they've only been tested on thousands of people for a period of weeks and then they'll be given to hundreds of millions of people. Not really the greatest science when we're in that much of a hurry. Yes, one can measure antibodies against a certain bacterium or virus in the blood and it may be associated with someone not getting sick, but there are very few illnesses common enough or enough ethics committees willing enough to do the right tests. That is, give 1000 people the real vaccine and 1000 placebo shots, expose all of them to the disease and see who gets sick. Seriously. I know it sounds terrible.

This is, obviously, a difficult public discussion because it touches on the concept of benefits and risks, again, of morbidity and mortality. Few public officials have the courage or inclination to present all facets of this difficult decision. I give vaccines to my patients every single day, but I always err on the side of caution. Implying that this is a dangerous new shot is not scientifically or statistically correct and represents hyperbole and even dishonesty on the part of the so-called "anti-vaccine" camp.

It sure isn't "sexy" to suggest handwashing, good nutrition, hydration, extra sleep and so on. It's not conventional to suggest astragalus, echinacea, elderberry and vitamin C. Adequate vitamin D levels are crucial, too.

I just think that giving this new H1N1 vaccine is not the cautious nor best thing to do.


Jay Gordon, MD FAAP

More to come! In the meantime, stay healthy loyal readers. :)


Sherry said...

the # 1 way to prevent the flu?


i wrote an email to my local paper today about the flu vaccine. The reason? For those not on Medicaid, like me--those WITH health insurance it is $25 UPFRONT in my city to get this vaccine. Wow, that is almost criminal. I won't get the vaccine.

Anonymous said...

Thank the Gods that there are docs out there who get it. You can't tell the average person on the street any of this and have them believe it because they're all listening to the media hype and mass hysteria. And the docs they go to are slaves to the pharmaceutical industry. I'll not be giving any of my children that vaccine, no matter what.

angie said...

i believe that my boyfriend and i had this strain of flu in June. we were both very sick for about a week. since neither one of us is prone to illness, much less flu in summertime, i do think it was swine flu. anyway, we combatted it the normal way-- rest, hydration, echinacea, boxes of tissues (lol) and so on, and started feeling better after a few days, completely better after a full week.
obviously people with weak immune systems (i.e. elderly) should consider getting the shot, but i agree that healthy people shouldn't be so quick to get vaccines like this. our bodies are designed to form natural antibodies as a survival mechanism, we should trust that when there is minimal risk.

Rue said...

I worry about these 'quick fixes' that are not proven. I had to hassle my brother to write a note for my neice to refuse to grant permission for her to be another 'experiment' in the cervical cancer drug that they were mass-injecting school girls with last year.

I wonder how long until they bring this into the schools...

Aewynne Redwolf said...

I'm sending this email around my office... every single one of them gets a flu vaccine. Whereas I get the flu almost every year. I get it for about 4 days... and then i'm done. No biggie. These people get the vaccine and have a cold alllll winter from it!

I don't trust this stuff... never have. I'm only 24, but have never ever gotten a flu shot. :P

Aewynne Redwolf said...

Although- on a side note.. getting the flu is kinda fun to me, since it usually is bad enough where I start hallucinating and my boyfriend has to stay home to make sure I don't like... cut my hand off in the blender. LOL!

VintageSage said...

Very interesting! I have to agree with the doctor though. You just never know what you're getting into with experimental drugs..and we know they are! Good 'ol fashioned natural remedies, washing hands, etc. are what I opt for. :) I've been doing good so far!


Peaceful blessings always!

Michelle :)

Hyla said...

I will be looking into his suggestions. However I am on the fence when I have 4 kids, 2 of which will be going to school this year (one for the first time). I have a 3 month old baby and my youngest boy goes from running nose to hospitalization within 24 hours of getting sick. UGh, so depressing to dread the babies going to school for fear of them bringing home sickness.

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Sherry Byrum said...

That is a very interesting article and I agree with it also!!

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I love your blog!!!!

Junie Moon said...

I'm dead set against getting experimental vaccinations. For some odd reason, I've never had a bout of flu in my entire life and I'm 57. I've never had a flu shot either. Maybe my body has somehow naturally taken care of things. It doesn't mean I'll never get the flu, but messing around chemically with my immune system seems like playing with a loaded gun. Thanks for sharing the doctor's thoughts on this as I agree.

Aelwyn said...

Thank you for this thought provoking article. I'm seeing my specialist in October, and will be asking him about the H1N1 vaccine (he is very much into naturopathy and proper nutrition, so he won't force unneeded vaccines on me).

I have a low immune system, which is the only reason I'm considering a flu vaccine. I hadn't had one in YEARS, until I worked in a hospital and had to. After I stopped working there, I stopped getting them.

But with my crappy immune system, I think I might need the vaccines. But again, I'll get them with my specialists' approval, and not before then!

I'm also a psychotic handwasher/hand sanitizer! After taking cosmetology and learning about germs....I'm VERY conscious of what I touch outside of me home.

Okay...ramble over...LOL!


prashant said...

Very interesting! I have to agree with the doctor though
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Tabbycat said...

Someone asked about how long until the vaccines got brought into the school. Last week I got a phone call from the county school board where I live saying they were sending home permission slips so that students could get the shot at school. I believe a parent would also have to go to the school the day it was given to the student. I am not having my son get one.

Thistle Cove Farm said...

I've never had a flu vaccination and never intend to have one. My husband gets them and that's his decision; he also ordered Tamiflu but I'm not sure I want to take that either. I'd rather wash my hands, until raw if necessary -smile-, use hand disinfectant and take Sambucol if I get sick. I also drink elderberry juice and that helps my immune system. Staying away from sick folks helps as well.

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