Friday, October 31, 2014

6 Reasons I Will Not Give The Nasal Flu Vaccine to My Children

Flu Vaccine

Two of my daughters arrived home from primary school last week with public health packages in their bags. It’s that time of year again, when nurses are out in force like army recruitment officers, waging a war on deadly germs and rounding up volunteers for vaccines.

This year in the United Kingdom the intranasal flu vaccine is being rolled out. It’s already been used in the United States where 14 to 15 million doses of AstraZeneca’s FluMist are currently in distribution for this flu season but this is the first year it is being offered under the brand name Fluenza Tetra in the UK  to all children older than 24 months and it is heavily promoted by public health officials.  They’ve even produced a “Flu Hero” cartoon  directed at children in which a superhero gives a little boy a nasal flu vaccine which, like a bite from a radioactive spider, transforms him into a superhero himself with super defenses.

I hate the flu as much as other parents, but the public health information struck me as superficial and smacked of a sales pitch, so I decided to look a little deeper into the vaccine and here are the top half dozen reasons my children won’t be going near it.


A lot of effort has been put into dispelling the “myth” that you can get the flu from the flu vaccine. Little wonder such a myth exists though, when the listed side effects for the vaccine are exactly those listed for flu: runny or stuffed nose, headaches and muscle aches, sore throat, loss of appetite, chills and fever. It’s not influenza, we’re told, it just feels like it.

But the flu vaccine does contain live flu viruses. According to an electronic Medicines Compendium printout , each vial of Fluenza Tetra vaccine mist contains 107    — that’s 10 million  — of each of four strains of reassorted live attenuated and “genetically modified organisms”—for each nostril. That’s 80 million viruses (give or take) per dose, designed to replicate inside a child’s nasal passages.

These engineered viruses include H1N1 (swine flu), and three other strains that are based on what scientists admit to being best guesses for the most likely influenza viruses in circulation this year.

Live viruses up our nasal passages are dangerous because they can lead to encephalitis or swelling of the brain which, while rare, can also kill and disable people, just like the rare worst case flu. They can also cross the blood brain barrier and lead to long term brain inflammation.

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