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No, the CDC did not just apologize and admit that this year’s flu vaccine doesn’t work

USMC-091001-M-7097L-014

If there’s one thing about having a demanding day job, it’s that the cranks usually have the advantage. They can almost always hit first when a news story comes out that they can spin to attack their detested science. On the other hand, it usually ensures that by the time I get home, have dinner, and settle down in front of the TV with my laptop to discusse the latest bit of science, there’s some tasty crankery to deconstruct.

Oddly enough, tonight appears not to be one of those times. Heck, as of this writing, even that wretched hive of antivaccine scum and quackery, Age of Autism,, doesn’t have anything up about it. Oh, well, never let it be said that something so minor stopped me from discussing science that interested me. I’ll just have to try to find new ways of making it fun and interesting.

So, by now surely you’ve seen the news stories that popped up beginning yesterday morning with headlines like CDC Warning: Flu Viruses Mutate and Evade Current Vaccine and Flu vaccine protects against wrong strain, US health officials warn, Flu shots may not be good match for 2014-15 virus, CDC says, and Health Officials Warn This Year’s Flu Vaccine Won’t Prevent New H3N2 Strain Of Influenza. You get the idea. This year, apparently, the flu vaccine isn’t as effective as health officials would like. How could this have happened.

Those of you who are knowledgeable about the flu vaccine know that, as useful as it is, it’s not one of the greatest vaccines as far as effectiveness. Actually, that’s not true. Its effectiveness can and does vary considerably from year to year. The reason is simple. There are many strains of influenza, and the vaccine as currently formulated generally only covers a handful of strains. Basically, every year the World Health Organization, in collaboration with the CDC and other health organizations throughout the world, has to make an educated guess which strains of influenza will be circulating the following winter. Many months’ lead time is required because vaccine manufacturers require it to develop and test the new formulations and then to ramp up their manufacturing capabilities and distribute the vaccine. Generally, the WHO chooses three strains it deems most likely to cause significant human suffering and death in the coming flu season. Specifically, the chosen strains are the H1N1, H3N2, and Type-B strains thought most likely to cause significant human suffering in the coming season, although, starting with the 2012–2013 Northern Hemisphere influenza season, the WHO has also recommended a second B-strain for use in quadrivalent (four strain) vaccines. Basically, the WHO coordinates the contents of the vaccine each year to contain the most likely strains of the virus to attack the next year. Wikipedia has a helpful article that lists the formulations of all the flu vaccines recommended for the Northern and Southern Hemispheres dating back to 1998, to give you an idea what’s been recommended in the past. Also, there are exceptions. In the 2009-2010 season, for example, the H1N1 pandemic was occurring, and it was recommended that everyone be vaccinated against H1N1 in addition to the normal flu vaccine.

As you can imagine, predicting many months in advance which strains will be circulating in the following flu season is a dicey proposition under the best of circumstances. When the WHO gets it right, the flu vaccine is maximally effective. When it doesn’t, we have a situation in which the vaccine is not as effective as we would like. As this news story relates:

Much of the influenza virus circulating in the United States has mutated and this year’s vaccine doesn’t provide good protection against it, federal health officials are warning.

Flu season’s barely starting, but most cases are being caused by a strain called H3N2 this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a health warning issued to doctors Wednesday night.

The flu vaccine protects against three or four strains of flu — there’s always a mix of flu viruses going around — and H3N2 is one of them. But the strain of H3N2 infecting most people has mutated and only about half of cases match the vaccine, CDC said.

Basically, all the news stories to which I linked report a the issue in a similar way. One of the major strains in the vaccine is H3N2, a strain that normally circulates in pigs and can cause serious outbreaks. Unfortunately, based on its initial observations and data collection, the CDC has concluded that the H3N2 strain that’s causing most of the disease has undergone what is referred to as “genetic drift,” changes in the genetic makeup of the virus that make them different from the strain used many months ago to determine the recommended formulation. Personally, when I see stories like this, I like to go to the source. When the story is about a scientific study, that source is the original peer-reviewed scientific article. When it’s about something like this, the source is the CDC press release:

So far this year, seasonal influenza A H3N2 viruses have been most common. There often are more severe flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths during seasons when these viruses predominate. For example, H3N2 viruses were predominant during the 2012-2013, 2007-2008, and 2003-2004 seasons, the three seasons with the highest mortality levels in the past decade. All were characterized as “moderately severe.”

Increasing the risk of a severe flu season is the finding that roughly half of the H3N2 viruses analyzed are drift variants: viruses with antigenic or genetic changes that make them different from that season’s vaccine virus. This means the vaccine’s ability to protect against those viruses may be reduced, although vaccinated people may have a milder illness if they do become infected. During the 2007-2008 flu season, the predominant H3N2 virus was a drift variant yet the vaccine had an overall efficacy of 37 percent and 42 percent against H3N2 viruses.

“It’s too early to say for sure that this will be a severe flu season, but Americans should be prepared,” said CDC director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “We can save lives with a three-pronged effort to fight the flu: vaccination, prompt treatment for people at high risk of complications, and preventive health measures, such as staying home when you’re sick, to reduce flu spread.”

I can see what’s coming. In fact, I’m very surprised that, as I write this, it hasn’t come already. If there’s one vaccine that antivaccinationists love to hate, it’s the flu vaccine, because, compared to other vaccines, it’s the easiest target, given that it tends not to be as efficacious as many other vaccines. Heck, it’s the vaccine that Bill Maher likes to hate on (or at least show contempt for). Contrary to what antivaccinationists and cranks like Bill Maher would have you believe, the flu vaccine is not dangerous, and it does work. It might not work as well as some vaccines, and, until a universal flu vaccine is developed that targets antigens common to all strains of flu is developed, it never will be. But it’s still worth getting.

No, the flu vaccine is not worthless, but you know that hysterical antivaccine articles claiming that to be the case are coming.

For completeness’ sake, I’ll just mention that the quadrivalent flu vaccine for the 2014-2015 flu season is targeted to these strains:

  • A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • A/Texas/50/2012 (H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus.
  • BBrisbane/60/2008-like virus (only included in some vaccines)

As this story on how this happened relates:

Since Oct. 1, 82% of the influenza virus samples subjected to laboratory testing have been H3N2 viruses, according to data from the CDC. And only 48% of these samples are closely related to the A/Texas/50/2012 strain that was picked for the flu vaccine distributed in North America.

Most of the rest of the H3N2 samples were similar to another strain called A/Switzerland/9715293. That strain was picked for the flu vaccine for the Southern Hemisphere, but not the one here.

Unfortunately, although the “drifted” A/Switzerland/9715293-like (as in genetic drift) strains were detected in late March 2014, after World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for the 2014-2015 Northern Hemisphere vaccine had been made in mid-February, their prevalence increased enormously by September, by which time it was far too late to reformulate this year’s vaccine:

Health experts charged with monitoring flu viruses first detected strains of the A/Switzerland virus in the U.S. in March, Frieden said. By then, “it was already too late to include them in this season’s vaccine,” he said.

Besides, at that time, the A/Texas strains were still “by far the most common of the H3N2 viruses,” he said. The A/Switzerland strains didn’t appear in large numbers until September, he said.

Twice each year, the World Health Organization issues a recommendation for a flu vaccine — one for the Southern Hemisphere and one for the Northern Hemisphere. This approach gives health planners two opportunities to plan a vaccine.

Putting it all together, what this all means is that the remaining 18% plus the remaining 48% of the H3N2 strains that are close matches to the vaccine H3N2 strain (0.48 x 0.82 = 0.39 or 39%), for a total of 57% constitute a good match for what’s out there. How did this happen this year? The same way it happens on any year when the flu vaccine isn’t as good a match as we would like to the strains circulating: Health officials made the best prediction they could at the time, but the virus changed in the six or seven months between when they had to commit to a formulation of the flu vaccine and the start of the flu season.

Another aspect of this is that it is likely that the H3N2 component of this year’s flu vaccine is still good enough to confer partial immunity to the A/Switzerland/9715293-like strains, so that, while it doesn’t protect against becoming sick by these strains it could make the illness less severe. This is important because the H3N2 strains tend to be associated with severe flu seasons.

Not surprisingly, as I was writing this, a notice popped up in my Google Alerts telling me that everyone’s favorite quack, antivaccinationist (but I repeat myself), and all-purpose conspiracy theorist, Mike Adams, had weighted in under a rather restrained (for him) title, CDC issues flu vaccine apology: this year’s vaccine doesn’t work!, complete with a link to this video:

Contrary to what Gary Franchi of NextNewsNetwork claims, no, the CDC did not just say that the flu vaccine doesn’t work. It really didn’t. It just said that we can expect it to be less effective this year because it’s not as good a match as we would like. What’s with this concrete thinking among quacks? It’s the Nirvana fallacy in action: If a “Western” medical intervention isn’t 100% effective, to them it’s pure, dangerous crap. Funny how they don’t apply that standard to the woo they normally like to pedal.

But back to Mikey. Hilariously, after touting a “story” from a crank news source and criticizing the CDC for supposedly producing a defective vaccine and then selling Tamiflu at a high cost, Adams pivots to promoting his own execrable science. Truly the man is without self-awareness:

Mercury tests conducted on vaccines at the Natural News Forensic Food Lab have revealed a shockingly high level of toxic mercury in an influenza vaccine (flu shot) made by GlaxoSmithKline (lot #9H2GX). Tests conducted via ICP-MS document mercury in the Flulaval vaccine at a shocking 51 parts per million, or over 25,000 times higher than the maximum contaminant level of inorganic mercury in drinking water set by the EPA.(1)

The tests were conducted via ICP-MS using a 4-point mercury calibration curve for accuracy. Even then, the extremely high level of mercury found in this flu shot was higher than anything we’ve ever tested, including tuna and ocean fish which are known for high mercury contamination.

In fact, the concentration of mercury found in this GSK flu shot was 100 times higher than the highest level of mercury we’ve ever tested in contaminated fish. And yet vaccines are injected directly into the body, making them many times more toxic than anything ingested orally. As my previous research into foods has already documented, mercury consumed orally is easily blocked by eating common foods like strawberries or peanut butter, both of which bind with and capture about 90% of dietary mercury.

This was, of course, one of the silliest things Adams ever did with his new toy (his mass spectrometer), as I had considerable fun relating here.

Adams then goes on to tick off a litany of antivaccine lies, using a typical antivaccine technique known as “argument by package insert.” The central fallacy of such an argument is that package inserts are legal documents, not so much scientific documents, and are thus hyper-conservative in listing any reaction that’s ever been reported after a drug or vaccine, whether there is good scientific reason to believe that reaction is due to the vaccine or drug or not. He trots out the old claimed link with Guillain-Barre syndrome that is almost certainly not real. He even trots out the formaldehyde and toxin gambit!

It all builds up to a crescendo of Mike Adams crazy belied by the relatively tame (for him) title of his post:

Trusting a flu shot made by a corporation of felons is a lot like trusting the purity of heroin you buy from a street dealer. Both flu shots and street heroin have at least one thing in common, by the way: neither has ever been tested for safety.

We also know that flu shots contain neurotoxic chemicals and heavy metals in alarming concentrations. This is irrefutable scientific fact. We also know that there is no “safe” form of mercury just like there is no safe form of heroin — all forms of mercury are highly toxic when injected into the body (ethyl, methyl, organic, inorganic).

The only people who argue with this are those who are already mercury poisoned and thus incapable of rational thought. Mercury damages brain function, you see, which is exactly what causes some people to be tricked into thinking vaccines are safe and effective.

Technically, you’d have to be stupid to believe such a thing, as the vaccine insert directly tells you precisely the opposite.

Mikey, Mikey, Mikey…at least he always entertains. No one can quite reach the spittle-flecked faux outrage with such hyperbole, with the possible exception of his mentor Alex Jones. But notice the inherent sucking up to his audience. He (and, by extension, those who believe him) are not “sheeple”! They’re not “brain-damaged” by mercury! Oh, no! Only they understand and avoid the evil pharma cabal. Everyone else is a mercury-damaged sheeple.

This year’s flu vaccine might well be suboptimal. Unfortunately, until there is a universal vaccine that targets parts of the virus that don’t mutate so rapidly, the flu vaccine will always be suboptimal. Of course, companies and scientists are frantically working on just such a vaccine. If it weren’t so incredibly hard to do, they would have produced one already. In the meantime the flu vaccine, as imperfect as it is, is the best we have, and it is still very much worth receiving because the flu still can kill healthy individuals.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

1,372 replies on “No, the CDC did not just apologize and admit that this year’s flu vaccine doesn’t work”

Couple questions.
(1) Is this the same flu shot that 14 people died shortly after receiving in Italy?
(2) Isn’t there a possibility that vaccination with this flu shot (or any flu shot), while it might protect you from the strains it was intended for, may actually make you more susceptible to other strains, a phenomenon sometimes associated with “Original Antigenic Sin”? As shown, for example, in
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19440239

is a lot like trusting the purity of heroin you buy from a street dealer..

Speaking from experience, Mike?

there is no safe form of heroin

A perfect analogy, showing how little Mike know..
Heroin is used in low doses as a painkiller, notably in the UK hospitals.
Apparently, using small doses of something dangerous at high doses is relatively safe. Who would have thought it?

@Nat – that particular Flu shot is only used in Europe & it only indicated for high-risk / elderly individuals (and yes, as Rebecca pointed out, the shots have been cleared as a cause – especially given that at least one of those individuals died of a ruptured aorta).

And to your second question, that study involved Mice & has not been shown to be replicated in humans.

making them many times more toxic than anything ingested orally

I’m curious about his definition of “many times”, since about 95% of orally ingested methylmercury gets absorbed through the intestinal tract.

As for his strawberry/peanut butter binding claim, I’d like to see a study showing that eating those foods at the same time as your tuna fish sandwich (blech) would lead to binding of the mercury in the tuna such that it gets excreted rather than absorbed.

Wouldn’t you think that a commenter would not post a study of lab mice, published during 2009, when the topic of Orac’s blog is the update from the CDC, about weekly confirmed cases of influenza in humans?

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/

Todd W. I read columns and posts from the brain trust at AoA, that the increase in peanut allergies is directly attributed to the number of vaccines on the CDC Recommended Childhood Vaccine Schedule.

One polite gentleman (no irony this time) on the comments threads already used the “CDC said the flu shots are worthless” claim. The problem is that given what the regular media was doing with this, there are more sources for this around, including some that are not anti-vaccine. It’s good to have the rebuttals. Thank you.

@lilady

Oh, I know. They also make the false claim that vaccines contain peanut oil.

I can just see it now, some crank will claim that peanut butter binds to mercury, and because some people have an allergy to thimerosal, this will result in them also developing a peanut allergy. I know it doesn’t make sense to people who understand science and reality, but cranks aren’t that well-versed in logic.

I caught wind of this yesterday when nurse told me it was just on the news that the flu vaccine does not work this year.
So I aksed her which age groups? against matched or mis matched strains? Inactived or live attenuated? Of course the news did go into details.
It will be interesting to know.
Hopefully LAIV gives good cross immunity as most of my patents opt for it over IIV.

BTW yes the nurse has had her flu shot

@Rob Cordes, DO

Well, as René put it over at Epidemiological, you have five major opportunities to get the flu this year (two B strains, H1N1, A/Texas/H3N2 and A/Switzerland/H3N2), and the vaccine will protect pretty well against four of those, and may give some cross-protection against the fifth, for a milder course of illness than without the vaccine.

Whilst AoA doesn’t address the question of this year’s flu vaccine, it does provide amusement from other bad science ( and political speculation):

Dachel offers Stephanie Seneff’s quote, “.. by 2025, one in two children will be autistic” and an article that considers the vicissitudes of that outcome. Further discussion with Seneff explicates her beliefs about causation- vaccines and glyphosate are the most likely culprits. AND she’s from MIT**

Kent Heckenlively produces further variations upon his habituated theme:
brave freedom fighters/ superheroes or suchlike battle the entrenched evil empire. Reading Attkisson’s new book ( in addition to his own obviously) has led him to declare that soon all of these small defiant groups will gather together and confront their enemy and ” bring down their empire of lies”
I think Kent missed his calling: writing scripts or storylines for ( respectively) bad action films or crappy comics..

** isn’t it hilarious when alties applaud people from well known institutions ( universities, periodicals, governmental agencies) when they agree with their woo but castigate the same places when they disagree as being part of the cartel?

And Mikey now offers hope to those made stupid by the establishment’s poisons or poisonous lies or whatever:
he has a free course in amping up your “cognition” ( which I -btw- listened to nearly half ) and it’s all about cleaning up toxins and filling up on supernutrition. And becoming more spiritual.

Nurses Who Vaccinate have also addressed this rumor:

The flu season has only just begun, and we’ve already had five flu-related pediatric deaths. It is imperative that nurses to educate patients, colleagues and their communities about the need to vaccinate against the flu. Protection is still protection, which is better than no protection at all.

Skeptical Raptor has a cute and accurate flowchart on who needs a flu vaccine. (Hint: everybody over 6 months old who has not medical contraindications.)

TL;DR conclusion: The flu vaccine is incredibly safe. It’s fairly effective, though that can vary from year to year as flu variants mutate, like this year. This year’s vaccine may not be able to prevent a new variant of H3N2 flu, but it may lessen the symptoms of the variant.

1) Is this the same flu shot that 14 people died shortly after receiving in Italy?

No, it is not: that vaccine is adminsitered only in Europe and for a specific population (those at high risk or elderly). Note that the deaths appeared to correlate only to one or two specific lots of that vaccine, and that these lots have been examined and found not to be defective. Not also (more critically) that no causal association has been found between vaccination with these lots and the deaths which followeed.

(2) Isn’t there a possibility that vaccination with this flu shot (or any flu shot), while it might protect you from the strains it was intended for, may actually make you more susceptible to other strains, a phenomenon sometimes associated with “Original Antigenic Sin”?

Possible? Perhaps, but I think the more germane question is whether it would be likely . The only instance I’m aware of where previous vaccination against a different strain resulted ina measurable decrease in antigenic responses to the circulating flu strain was in the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, in individuals vaccinated against the strain A/Brisbane/59/2007 (H1N1) within the 3 months prior to being infected by the Pandemic H1N1/09 virus.

PMCID: PMC3165229

And of course, you’d be sacrificing protection against the other strains in the vaccine which are well matched (plus the protection against the almost 50% of circulating H3N2 strains which are a good match) if you chose to eschew vaccination becuase of concerns over this ‘original sin’.

Re Helianthus #3: You don’t even need to go to the UK prescription example. Heroin is no more inherently dangerous than any drug which one can overdose from. If you take too large a dose (which mostly happens due to uncertain purity from street dealers where better than expected purity is a killer) you can OD and potentially die. Just like just about every other drug. This is how there is a sizeable community of long-term heroin users who don’t drop dead randomly. (much like there are people on other opiates/opioids for long periods due to chronic pain management).

Putting it all together, what this all means is that the remaining 18% plus the remaining 48% of the H3N2 strains that are close matches to the vaccine H3N2 strain (0.48 x 0.82 = 0.39 or 39%), for a total of 57% constitute a good match for what’s out there.

Am I math challenged this morning? Seems to mean 18% plus 48% equals 67%, not 57%.

82% of the circulating strains right now are H3N2. This year’s vaccine is only a good match for 48% of those H3N2 strains. That’s makes up 39% of the total strains. Add to that the 18% of the total strains that not H3N2 and thus still a good match, and you have 57%. Or am I missing something here?

Pharma shill author. Witting or unwitting. Makes no difference. It is obvious by the language.

Dachel offers Stephanie Seneff’s quote, “.. by 2025, one in two children will be autistic”

And not very long after that three in every two children will be autistic, I I remember the graphs.

As far as original antigenic sin you are off the mark. That is when there is an antigenic shift. This is an antigenic drift.

I am sure you rocket scientists have never done all of research study on the anomalies of the new vaccine schedules. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that as the scheduled amount of childhood vaccines went from 10 vaccines by the age of 4 in 1983, to more than 30 by the age of 4 in 2014. And with this statistical insignificant fact that the rate of autism, auto-immune diseases and severe allergies has skyrocketed. Where are the studies on bombarding a developing immune system with 6-10 different vaccines on the same doctors visit? Move along sheep!! Here are some facts for the”science” based herd straight from the CDC website. See where it says formaldehyde, aluminum, etc….
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/additives.htm
Or the amount of $2,857,926,807.60 that has been paid out because of adverse reactions to vaccines! Facts found here!!
http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/statisticsreports.html

@ JGC:
@ JP:

AND after that, the evil toxins will reach back in time and turn all of the non-autistic adults into autistic children,
Chilling, isn’t it?

I don’t see a byline on this article. Who wrote it?
Mike Adams does sign his work, at least.
I did not see the mercury charge addressed in this article, either.
Why not?
Also, how is the efficacy of flu vaccine tested?
Or do we just ‘take their word’ that it’s effective?

Hyperbole…. As I read the article from Mike and this article, I think the hyperbole quotient is similar. It’s funny when you read the comments too. The voicings are the same. They just have a different view. Both equally convinced that the other side are idiots. Polarization for the sake of having your argument heard.

@Mark

I’m sure you’ve done studies to rule out the increased presence of personal computers in homes over the past several decades. In 1983, few homes had a personal computer. Now, almost every home has one. And the prevalence of autism has increased over the same period. Where are the studies looking at this? Or the studies looking at the correlation between autism rates and the increased consumption of organic produce? Wake up, sheep!

@Terry – you will find that the “nutbaggery” is well beyond the pale over at Mike’s….here, at least, science in the word of the day.

@mark

Have you ever heard of the phrase “the dose is the poison?” Because there is a lot more aluminum and formaldehyde in an apple than in a vaccine, unless you’ve learned how to survive without eating food at all. Also the sue of sheeple says a lot about the lack of argument that you have.

@delta1, @terry

Let’s see, at least Orac has actual science behind his views. What science does mikey adams have to back up his assertions? Also, did you miss the title of the blog?

As Lawrence remarks, Mike Adams’ writing is entirely divorced from reality – if you need any convincing merely read his bio @ healthranger.com or his articles @ Natural News.

In addition, he has a STORE (@ Natural News) where he drums up fear of illness hawks supplements, super foods and other products that he shills through his mercenary journalism and faux research.

@Mark, #23, can you show me where the rates of autism as “skyrocketing”? Prevalence is increasing, but prevalence does that with diseases and conditions that are not deadly and have no cure. As a friend once told me, you didn’t have cancer when oncologists were not around, mostly because it wasn’t called cancer. You have all those things now because we’re getting closer to the true prevalence in our population, about 1%-2%, hardly skyrocketing. That, and, you know, plenty of us don’t equate autism with deadly diseases.

@Mark:

I am sure you rocket scientists have never done all of research study on the anomalies of the new vaccine schedules.

Ah yes. The old “Too many Too soon” claim. And you’re wrong. Too many too soon has been investigated and discredited. Also, your claim is old news. Antivaxxers have moved on from that and are now claiming it’s the shots the parents received as children that turned their children autistic.

Mark: “Or the amount of $2,857,926,807.60 that has been paid out because of adverse reactions to vaccines! Facts found here!!”

I used to be a rocket scientist, this means I can actually find valid ratios.

Now, take a look at the table titled “National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) Adjudication Categories by Vaccine for Claims Filed Calendar Year 2006 to Present.”

Go to the bottom of it and tell see how many vaccines have been given between 2006 and 2012, it is almost two billion. We can extrapolate to over two billion vaccine doses between 2006 and 2014. Now look at the total number compensated between 2006 and March 2014, it is only 1300.

Now can you tell us what the ratio of the number of doses given to the number was awarded claims? Can you explain what it means? How does it compare to the injuries caused by actually getting a disease? Be sure to show your work.

Delta1: “I don’t see a byline on this article. Who wrote it?”

Look at the title of this article on top of the page. There you will see the ‘nym after the words “Posted by.” Click on it and you will figure out the worst kept secret on the Internet. Consider it a wee intelligence test.

I see my problem–I was doing simple arithmetric–adding 45 and 18–and not accounting for the fact that the vaccine is a match for less than 100% of the circulating strains.

I’d blame lack of sleep, if I could only remember what that word (sleep) means…

Isn’t there a possibility that vaccination with this flu shot (or any flu shot), while it might protect you from the strains it was intended for, may actually make you more susceptible to other strains, a phenomenon sometimes associated with “Original Antigenic Sin”?

Unsurprisingly, a much better way to generate OAS is by contracting influenza itself.

In any event, the mouse study (the ferret version would have been a better choice) isn’t an example of OAS: H3N2 and H5N1, obviously, aren’t closely related. What one has here isn’t so much a recommendation against H3N2 vaccination as a recommendation for inoculation with H3N2 virus on the off chance that human-to-human transmissible H5N1 will pop up overnight with no tradeoff in virulence.

One point that is worth considering is that this year’s vaccine strains are the same as last year’s vaccine strains. Even if this year’s flu strains matched the vaccine strains, that fact would make this year’s vaccine less useful, in terms of the number needed to treat to prevent one respiratory infection, for anyone who was vaccinated last year. Immune response to flu antigens does not vanish into nothing after a mere twelve months, so there is carryover protection. My husband got vaccinated both of the last two years, and this year he not only had a particularly severe two-day bout of his usual fever and body ache, but a red, warm, swollen area 8 cm wide at the injection site. Maybe that’s evidence that he still had plenty of immunity left and would have been better off avoiding the cost and discomfort.

It turns out that it’s not unusual for two years’ vaccines to be identical or functionally identical. This information can be found online, and in future we’ll factor it into health care decision-making. If the costs and harms of an intervention are not zero, it is not logically the case that any benefit above zero justifies it for all persons. The lower the expected benefit at any given time, the lower the costs have to be to make it worthwhile.

I am sure you rocket scientists have never done all of research study on the anomalies of the new vaccine schedules.

What anomlies are you speaking of? Be specific.

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that as the scheduled amount of childhood vaccines went from 10 vaccines by the age of 4 in 1983, to more than 30 by the age of 4 in 2014.

Actually it’s simply a function of developing, over time, vaccines which affect additional infectious diseases, in much the same way we went from having one or two effective antibiotics to (penicillin, sulfanilamide) to having multiple effective antibiotics.

And with this statistical insignificant fact that the rate of autism, auto-immune diseases and severe allergies has skyrocketed.

Let’s assume this is true (and that is an assumption, BTW—the increase in autism you’re noting, after all, is an increase in the number of individuals receiving new diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders, not necessarily an increase in the actual number of autistic individuals in the population): did you have a point? Surely you’re not arguing that simply because both exhibit similar trends over time one must cause the other?

Where are the studies on bombarding a developing immune system with 6-10 different vaccines on the same doctors visit

I’d start with DeStefano et al (PMID:23545349), then work your way through the studies cited in that publication’s bibliography,

See where it says formaldehyde, aluminum, etc….

Yes—again, did you have a point? More critically, do you have any evidence that at exposure levels achievable by routine vaccination formaldehyde, aluminum or any of the other additives/excipients present in vaccine formulations are harmful?
Let’s put those first two in perspective:
Aluminum is one of the most ubiquitous elements on the planet and infants are exposed daily to much, much greater amounts of aluminum from dietary and environmental sources than they could possibly receive as the result of immunization. To put it in perspective, over the first 6 months of life an infant could be exposed to a maximum of 2.5 mg of aluminum as the result of routine immunizations. During those same 6 months it would be exposed to 10 mgs of aluminum if it’s breast feeding; if receiving formula instead we’re talking about a 40 mgs of aluminum, and as much as 120 mgs if it’s receiving a soy-based formula.
The theoretical maximum exposure to formaldehyde from immunization would be at the scheduled 6 month visit, when the child could potentially receive up to 4 immunizations (HepB, DTaP, IPV and possibly influenza). This would expose them to around 310 ug of formaldehyde. That’s less formaldehyde than you’re exposed to simply as part of a normal diet (10,000 to 20,000 ug/daily) and in fact less than you’ll receive when by eating a single apple, (between 430 and 1100 ug formaldehyde).

Or the amount of $2,857,926,807.60 that has been paid out because of adverse reactions to vaccines!

Out of how many millions of doses of vaccines administered, over what time period? No one is arguing, after all, that vaccines NEVER cause adverse reactions. The risks associated with vaccination are instead well characterized—the most common are both transient and minor (soreness at the site of the injection, mild fever, etc.) while those that are serious (encephalopathy, GNS) are all but vanishingly rare, such that the risks associated with being vaccinated are orders of magnitude lower than the risks associated with remaining vulnerable to infection.
Consider encephalopathy, for example: the MMR vaccine has been found to cause encephalopathy with an incidence of ~1 case in every 1 million vaccines administered. Measles, on the other hand, causes encephalopathy in 1 out of every 1000 infections—three orders of magnitude more often than the vaccine against measles. Clearly if you’re worried about suffering from this side effect, you’ll elect to be vaccinated.

Dachel offers Stephanie Seneff’s quote, “.. by 2025, one in two children will be autistic”

Keep in mind that the first three pages here (PDF) are the sum total of Seneff’s “prediction.”

Haha, Stephanie Seneff. I originally came across this blog when looking for help debunking a really dumb “glyphosate causes every disease ever” article that people were waving all over Facebook. The only “study” it actually linked to was this one, by Seneff. The best part of it is that she claims that the “mechanism” by which glyphosate causes everything from cancer to depression to autism is “endogenous semiotic entropy,” which is literally nonsense. Word freakin’ salad.

@jane

One point that is worth considering is that this year’s vaccine strains are the same as last year’s vaccine strains.

That’s not actually true. Some of the strains are the same, some are different.

The 2013-2014 seasonal vaccine included:
* A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus;
* (H3N2) virus antigenically like the cell-propagated prototype virus A/Victoria/361/2011;
* B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus.

Some 2013-2014 vaccines also had B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

This year for the 2014-2015 flu season, the vaccine contains:
* A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
* A/Texas/50/2012 (H3N2)-like virus;
* B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus.

Some also contain B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

The A/H3N2 portion is different from last year’s formulation. That makes it worth it to get it again this year, since H3N2 tends to be responsible for more serious disease.

Mike Adams’ writing is entirely divorced from reality

Reality took out a restraining order against him.

Orac said:
” Mikey, Mikey, Mikey…… No one can quite reach the spittle- flecked faux outrage…. Alex Jones”

OH I don’t know about that! I think that Gary Null may be even worse- plus he’s been at it for longer and he produces longer written, spoken and filmed rants.

As a matter of fact, he’s got a new docu-drama premiering today called ‘Poverty, Inc” ** that was reviewed by the New York Times.

** these clever titles! Not the first time he’s used that formula

This is my first time visiting your blog page. Since you’re a scientist who seems to understand how vaccines work and what goes into them, would you mind telling me what exactly goes into a vaccine other than the viruses themselves.

Mike Adams’ writing is entirely divorced from reality

Maybe he just needs some Universal Reconnection.

@Narad

My reactions to those slides ranged from “That’s vaguely plausable” through “No, we know the symptoms of that are not like what you’ve described” through “Total facepalm.” But at least there’s that laugh at the end where she wasn’t able to find any toxicological studies about glyphosate.

The A/H3N2 portion is different from last year’s formulation.

The change was just because A/Victoria/361/2011 had pooped out from egg culturing. A/Texas/50/2012 is antigenetically similar.

The human body produces and deals with more formaldehyde daily, as the result of normal (and necessary) biochemical processes such as amino acid demethylation, than it could ever be exposed to as a consequence of routine vaccination.

For example, in a newborn the normal circulating formaldehyde concentration is roughly 2 to 3 ug per mL of blood, with a total blood volume of between 230 to 280 mL. That works out to between 460 and 840 ug total formaldehyde.

The hepatitis B vaccine given at birth will expose them to an addition 7.5 ug of formaldehyde, an increase of a whopping 0.9 to 1.6%.

For children other than newborns, the impact is of course far, far less significant. By the age of 6 if they complied with the recommended vaccination schedule they could be exposed to a grand total of about 1,800 ug of formaldehyde. The average six-year-old child weighs about 21 kg with a blood volume of about 1.5L, containing between 3,000 to 4,600 ug of circulating formaldehyde.

Six years’ worth of formaldehyde from routine vacinations is less significantly less that the formaldehyde a six year child’s body handles every minute of every day with no harmful effects.

All together now: the dose makes the poison.

In case you’re wondering about the influx of newbies, some of whom appear to be repeating antivaccine tropes, some of whom simply don’t know some basics about vaccines, a high traffic Facebook page appears to have picked this post up, and I’m getting a lot of traffic seemingly from that one Facebook page. I can’t tell what it is from the referring URLs. In any case, traffic per hour is running about 5-6x normal right now. It appears to be peaking; so I expect it to start drifting back down towards normal soon. How soon and how fast it will do so, I have no idea. Hopefully not real soon and not real fast. 🙂

It would be funny if it were an antivaccine page that sent all this traffic to me, thus ensuring my traffic-based reimbursement produces additional sufficient filthy pharma lucre to buy perhaps a nice bottle of Macallan 12 year single malt scotch for Christmas enjoyment.

If natphilosopher’s website (comment #1) is any guide, he or she is an independent fact-based thinker, a lonely lighthouse of rationality in a world overrun with conformity and groupthink. So I am confident that fact-based details will be provided shortly about those “14 people [who] died shortly after receiving [a flu shot] in Italy”.

I was SHOCKED to discover that
(a) A bottom-tier wesite of hard-right social / religious conservative loons by the name of Townhall had picked up on the farcical Kenyan-bishops-against-vaccination “sekrit sterilisation” bullsh1t;
http://townhall.com/tipsheet/christinerousselle/2014/11/09/kenyan-bishops-accuse-who-and-unicef-of-implementing-a-population-control-program-n1916311
and
(b) Natphilosopher cites this toxic Townhall to pimp the same thoroughly discredited unstory. Good choice of sources, dude!

Mom of Three (#51):
This is my first time visiting your blog page.

Then you might want to start by looking at the ‘Search” box at the top right corner of the page, before making yourself stupid with off-topic demands.

Mom of Three: ” Since you’re a scientist who seems to understand how vaccines work and what goes into them, would you mind telling me what exactly goes into a vaccine other than the viruses themselves.”

Here are some useful resources:
http://www.virology.ws/influenza-101/

I would encourage you to listen to the podcast by the virologist who did that course, you can find it at http://www.twiv.tv/ .

Also read the biography of Maurice Hilleman by Dr. Paul Offit, Vaccinated. Plus you might try the two major books about the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, first try Flu: The Story Of The Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 by Gina Kolata and The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John Barry.

You see, it is a bit more complicated than what can be gleaned from a blog comment. If you were really interested you would have been able to find appropriate literature at you local library, and perhaps even taken some basic college biology, chemistry and statistics classes.

Since you’re a scientist who seems to understand how vaccines work and what goes into them, would you mind telling me what exactly goes into a vaccine other than the viruses themselves.

First point: vaccines do not neceesarily contain live attentuated or killed viruses: most vaccines developed today are acellular vaccines that instead contain than viral proteins or small peptide sections of viral proteins.

In addition to the antigens themselves, vaccine formulations typically will contain trace materials at very low levels remaining behind from the manufacturing processes(e.g., formaldehyde and ovalbumin). They also contain deliberate additions that fall into roughly two classes: adjuvants which promote a stronger immune response to the antigens, and other excipients which may not be biologically active following inkection but confer other benefits: stabilizers, preservatives, buffering agents to maintain a desired pH, etc.

@Carolyn Moore:

Sir, you are a quack!

Given that you’re a Young Living “distributor” on the side from your day job, that’s a lot of irony.

Then again, given that day job, this is just pathetic.

@carolyn

Care to point out where do you think Orac is a quack? Or are you used to spouting out insults when faced with actual science.

Given your day job selling supplements, I assume you probably have to resort to insults because anything rational would take away from your business.

“Who wrote this?”

It looks like someone named Nancy wrote this. Why do you ask?

If you’re wondering who wrote this article though, it’s someone who writes under the nickname of Orac. His real name is shrouded in mystery, cloaked in secrecy, and hidden by dark forces, and only obtainable by obscure hacking techniques like googling “Orac real name”

Nancy: “Who wrote this?”

Have you bothered looking what comes after the words “Posted by” that is under the title?

Remember, there will be a pop quiz later. So you might want someone help you to learn how to read two syllable words and how to click on a link.

Thomas, they may even miss the video of him speaking on December 3rd article. Not exactly showing much intellectual acumen.

Thomas, you should instruct the inquirer that whomsoever attempts to g–gle Orac’s real name shall summon forth the investigative mechanations of our Illuminati masters ( Oh, praised be their names) and automatic tracking devices will be initiated immediately.
OBVIOUSLY, they will be subjected to merciless and endless taunting by the regulars as well.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you, scoffers.

I did not see the mercury charge addressed in this article, either. Why not?
Also, how is the efficacy of flu vaccine tested?

Oh noes! Orac was not sufficiently verbose!

Your article does show up after clicking on another facebook article about the CDC making an apology. I am an RN-always trusted blindly that vaccines are wonderful and safe, so of course also had my kids vaccinated, who unfortunately also have ADD and Asperger’s. I started to have some concerns after the HPV was forcefully offered to my daughter after every visit and started to read studies and look at adverse reactions which concerned me. I’ve had the flu once (not clinically diagnosed) and had two flu vaccines in my almost 50 years. Last year we were mandated to wear a mask or get the flu shot, so I started having more of an interest in this area and was surprised to note that two of my patients last year had documented adverse reactions to vaccines that resulted in chronic demyelinating polyneuropathy; one of these cases was attributed to a 2001 flu vaccine. So I was surprised to read your statement: “Contrary to what antivaccinationists and cranks like Bill Maher would have you believe, the flu vaccine is not dangerous, and it does work.” Yet, 800 kids in Europe developed narcolepsy after receiving Pandemrix H1N1 in 2009. You also stated, “He trots out the old claimed link with Guillain-Barre syndrome that is almost certainly not real.” I wasn’t able to follow your link, but GBS is certainly acknowledged to be an adverse reaction to vaccines.
Just to note: the vaccine given by my organization last year didn’t seem to offer much protection either. Most of the cultured patients had a strain of 2009 H1N1 which was in the vaccine. What I keep wondering is why a flu vaccine has now become close to mandatory to almost every human being over 6 months? These vaccines used to be reserved for the elderly. Why do pharmacies and grocery stores offer discounts if you get your flu shot?

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