Originally published September 2 2010
Evidence-based vaccinations: A scientific look at the missing science behind flu season vaccines
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
(NaturalNews) As someone with a good deal of education in scientific thinking and the scientific method, I have put considerable effort into attempting to find any real scientific evidence backing the widespread use of influenza vaccines (flu season shots). Before learning about nutrition and holistic health, I was a computer software entrepreneur, and I have a considerable scientific background in areas such as astronomy, physics, human physiology, microbiology, genetics, anthropology and human psychology. One of my most-admired thought leaders is, in fact, the late physicist Richard Feynman.
I don't speak from a "scientific" point of view on NaturalNews very often because it's often a dry, boring presentation style. But I do know the difference between real science and junk science, and I find examples of junk science in both the "scientific" side of things as well as the "alternative" side of things.
For example, so-called "psychic surgery," as least in the way it has been popularized, is nothing more than clever sleight-of-hand where the surgeon palms some chicken gizzards and then pretends to pull diseased organs out of the abdominal cavity of some patient. The demonstrations I've seen on film are obvious quackery.
Similarly, flu season vaccines are mainstream medicine's version of psychic surgery: It's all just "medical sleight of hand" based on nothing more than clever distractions and the obfuscation of scientific facts. Flu season shots, you see, simply don't work on 99 out of 100 people (and that's being generous to the vaccine industry, as you'll see below).
A year ago, I offered a $10,000 reward to any person who could find scientific proof that H1N1 vaccines were safe and effective (http://www.naturalnews.com/027985_H1N1_vacci...). No one even made a claim to collect that reward because no such evidence exists.
Conventional medicine, they say, is really "Evidence-Based Medicine" (EBM). That is, everything promoted by conventional medicine is supposed to be based on "rigorous scientific scrutiny." It's all supposed to be statistically validated and proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that it works as advertised. And in the case of flu vaccines, they are advertised as providing some sort of absolute protection against influenza. "Don't miss work this flu season. Get a flu shot!" The idea, of course, is that getting a flu shot offers 100% protection from the flu. If you get a shot, they say, you won't miss work from sickness.
This implication is wildly inaccurate. In fact, it's just flat-out false. As you'll see below, it's false advertising wrapped around junk science.
You see, there was never an independent, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study proving either the safety or effectiveness of the H1N1 swine flu vaccines that were heavily pushed last year (and are in fact in this year's flu shot cocktail). No such study has ever been done. As a result, there is no rigorous scientific basis from which to sell such vaccines in the first place.
To try to excuse this, vaccine hucksters claim that it would be "unethical" to conduct a placebo-controlled study of such vaccines because they work so well that to deny the placebo group the actual vaccine would be harmful to them. Everybody benefits from the influenza vaccine, they insist, so the mere act of conducting a scientifically-controlled test is unethical.
Do you smell some quackery at work yet? This is precisely the kind of pseudoscientific gobbledygook you might hear from some mad Russian scientist who claims to have "magic water" but you can't test the magic water because the mere presence of measurement instruments nullifies the magical properties of the water.
Similarly, vaccine pushers often insist it's unethical to test whether their vaccines really work. You just have to "take it on faith" that vaccines are universally good for everybody.
Yep, I used the word "faith." That is essentially what the so-called scientific community is invoking here with the vaccine issue: Just BELIEVE they work, everybody! Who needs scientific evidence when we've got FAITH in vaccines?
Forget about evidence-based medicine. Forget about any rational cost-benefit analysis. Forget about the risk-to-benefit ratio calculations that should be part of any rational decision making about vaccines. No, the vaccine industry (and its apologist bloggers) already know that vaccines are universally good for you, therefore no such rigorous scientific assessment is even required!
The Scientific Method, in other words, doesn't really apply to the things they already believe in. Faith can override reason in the "scientific" community, if you can believe that! What's next, are they going to claim vaccines work because some sort of "vaccine God" makes them work?
Here, take your vaccine shot. And don't forget to pray to the Vaccine God because that's how these things really work. Vaccine voodoo, in other words. (Hey, that would have been a great title for the vaccine song, come to think of it...)
Unethical to find out if they work?I got to wondering about the whole explanation of how it would be "unethical" to test whether the H1N1 vaccines actually work. This deflection strikes me as particularly odd, because it comes with an implied follow-up statement. Here's what they're actually saying when they invoke this excuse:
#1) It is "unethical" to conduct placebo-controlled studies on seasonal flu vaccines to find out if they actually work.
#2) But at the same time, it is entirely ethical to give these shots to hundreds of millions of people, even while lacking any real evidence that they are safe or effective.
In other words, it's unethical to conduct any real science, but entirely ethical to just keep injecting people with a substance that might be entirely useless (or even harmful). That's just a hint of the kind of warped logic and failed ethics that typify our modern vaccine industry.
Vaccine advocates claim that H1N1 vaccines are so effective that NOT giving vaccines to a placebo group would "put their lives at risk." That alone is apparently enough reason to avoid conducting any real science on these vaccines.
But I'm not buying this. I think it's just a cover story -- an excuse to avoid subjecting such vaccines to rigorous scientific inquiry because, deep down inside, they know vaccines would be revealed as an elaborate medical fraud.
So I poked around to see if there were other randomized studies being conducted that might actually put people's lives at risk. It didn't take long to find some. For example, the New England Journal of Medicine recently published two studies regarding post heart-attack patient cooling which seeks to minimize brain damage by physically lowering the temperature of the brain of the heart attack patient until they can reach the acute care technicians at a nearby hospital.
In two studies, researchers who already knew that "cooling" would save lives nevertheless subjected 350 heart attack patient to a randomized study protocol that assigned comatose (but resuscitated) patients to either "cooling" temperatures or normal temperatures.
In one study, while half the cooled patients recovered with normal brain function, only a quarter of those exposed to normal temperatures did. In other words, patient cooling saved their brains. And yet the importance of knowing whether or not this procedure really worked was apparently enough to justify withholding the treatment from over a hundred other patients, most of whom suffered permanent brain damage as a result.
You see, when scientists really want to know the answers to questions like, "Does this brain cooling work?" they have no qualms about subjecting people to things like permanent brain damage in a randomized clinical trial. The knowledge gained from such an experiment is arguably worth the loss of a few patient brains because, armed with scientific evidence, such procedures can be rolled out to help save the brains of potentially hundreds of thousands of patients in subsequent years.
But when it comes to testing vaccines like the recent H1N1 variety, the official explanation is that it's too dangerous to withhold vaccines from a treatment group. They say it's not really important to determine if vaccines are statistically validated, and it's not worth the "risk" of withholding vaccines from anyone in a randomized clinical trial.
Now, sure, there have been some clinical trials done on many different vaccines over the years, but most of those are industry funded, and there are almost never rigorous trials conducted on each year's seasonal flu vaccines before they are released for public consumption. As a result, each year's vaccine is a brand new experiment, carried out across the guinea pig masses of patients who just do whatever they're told without questioning whether it's backed by real science.
Because, of course, it isn't. And I'm not the only one who recognizes this inconvenient fact.
The Cochrane CollaborationThe Cochrane Collaboration, as described on its own website, is, "...an international, independent, not-for-profit organization of over 28,000 contributors from more than 100 countries, dedicated to making up-to-date, accurate information about the effects of health care readily available worldwide."
"We are world leaders in evidence-based health care," the site goes on to say, followed by a quote from The Lancet which states, "The Cochrane Collaboration is an enterprise that rivals the Human Genome Project in its potential implications for modern medicine."
Working for the Cochrane Collaboration, an epidemiologist named Dr. Tom Jefferson decided to take a close look at the scientific evidence behind influenza vaccines (seasonal flu vaccines).
The objectives of the study were to: "Identify, retrieve and assess all studies evaluating the effects of vaccines against influenza in healthy adults."
The Search Criteria: "We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library, 2010, issue 2), MEDLINE (January 1966 to June 2010) and EMBASE (1990 to June 2010)."
Selection Criteria (for inclusion in the study): "Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or quasi-RCTs comparing influenza vaccines with placebo or no intervention in naturally-occurring influenza in healthy individuals aged 16 to 65 years. We also included comparative studies assessing serious and rare harms."
The Total Scope of the study encompassed over 70,000 people. And just so you know, these the results may strongly favor the vaccine industry. The author even went out of his way to warn that "15 out of 36 trials [were] funded by industry (four had no funding declaration)."
In other words, close to half of the studies included in this analysis were funded by the vaccine industry itself, which as we know consistently manipulates data, bribes researchers or otherwise engages in scientific fraud in order to get the results they want.
The author even goes on to warn how industry-funded studies always get more press, saying, "...industry funded studies were published in more prestigious journals and cited more than other studies independently from methodological quality and size."
See the study detail page at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/o/cochrane/cl...
Study results show influenza vaccines are nearly worthlessNow here comes the interesting part: Even though nearly half the studies were funded by the vaccine industry itself, the study results show that in most circumstances, influenza vaccines are virtually worthless:
"The corresponding figures [of people showing influenza symptoms] for poor vaccine matching were 2% and 1% (RD 1, 95% CI 0% to 3%)" say the study authors. And by "poor vaccine matching," they mean that the strain of influenza viruses in the vaccine are a poor match for the strains circulating in the wild. This is usually the case in the real world because the vaccine only incorporates last year's viral strains and cannot predict which strains will be circulating this year.
In other words, you would have to vaccinate 100 people to reduce the number of people showing influenza symptoms by just one. For ninety-nine percent of the people vaccinated, the vaccine makes no difference at all!
In a "best case" scenario when the viral strain in the influenza vaccine just happens to match the strain circulating in the wild -- a situation that even the study authors call "uncommon" -- the results were as follows: "4% of unvaccinated people versus 1% of vaccinated people developed influenza symptoms (risk difference (RD) 3%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2% to 5%)."
In other words, the matching vaccine (which is uncommon in the real world) reduced influenza infections in 3 out of 100 people. Or, put another way, 97% of those injected with the vaccine received no benefit (and no different outcome).
Furthermore, the study's conclusions go on to state:
• "Vaccination had... no effect on hospital admissions or complication rates."
• "Vaccine use did not affect the number of people hospitalized or working days lost."
• "The review showed that reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin but there is evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions..."
• "There is no evidence that [influenza vaccines] affect complications, such as pneumonia, or transmission." (Got that? Vaccines do not affect transmission of the disease, yet that's the whole reason vaccines are pushed so heavily during pandemics -- to block disease transmission.)
• "In average conditions (partially matching vaccine) 100 people need to be vaccinated to avoid one set of influenza symptoms."
And finally, the study author's summary concludes with this whopper of a statement: "Our results may be an optimistic estimate because company-sponsored influenza vaccines trials tend to produce results favorable to their products and some of the evidence comes from trials carried out in ideal viral circulation and matching conditions and because the harms evidence base is limited."
In other words, taking into account the industry bias, the actual results may be that vaccines prevent influenza symptoms in only 1 out of 1,000 people.
Putting it in perspectiveSo let's put all this in perspective in a rational, intelligent way. This far-reaching analysis of influenza vaccine trials shows that under common conditions, seasonal influenza vaccines have no benefit for 99 out of 100 people.
Furthermore, even this result is describe as being "an optimistic estimate" because nearly half of the vaccine trials were funded by the vaccine industry which tends to "produce results favorable to their products."
Furthermore, some of the studies were carried out in "ideal" viral matching scenarios that rarely happen in the real world.
And finally, some evidence of harm from vaccines was simply thrown out of this analysis, resulting in a "harms evidence base" that was quite limited and likely doesn't reveal the full picture.
Are you getting all this? Even with industry-funded studies likely distorting the results in their favor, if you take a good hard look at the scientific evidence surrounding the effectiveness of vaccines, you quickly come to realize that influenza vaccines don't work on 99 out of 100 people. (And the real answer may be even worse.)
Now that's a far cry from the false advertising of the vaccine industry, which implies that if you get a shot you're "protected" from influenza. They claim you won't miss work, you'll stay well, and so on. Through these messages, they are cleverly implying that vaccines work on 100% of the people.
But based on the available scientific evidence, these are blatantly false statements. And the wild exaggeration of the supposed benefits from vaccines crosses the threshold of "misleading advertising" and enters the realm of "criminal marketing fraud." Where is the FTC or FDA on speaking out against this quackery?
Vaccine marketing is, essentially, scientific fraud. To claim that vaccines protect everyone when, in reality, they may reduce symptoms in only one out of 100 people is intellectually dishonest and downright fraudulent.
It is, simply put, just pure B.S. quackery.
Now, imagine if an herbal product were advertised on television as offering some health benefit, but it turned out that the product only worked on 1 out of 100 people who took it. That herbal product would be widely branded as "quackery" and the company selling it would be accused of false advertising. The company owners might even be charged with criminal fraud.
But vaccines get a free pass on this issue. While an herbal product might be heavily investigated or even confiscated by the FDA, vaccines that only work on 1% of the people receive the full backing of the FDA, CDC, WHO, FTC and local hospitals and clinics to boot. The fact that the vaccine is pure quackery apparently doesn't matter to any of these organizations: It's full speed ahead, regardless of what the science actually says.
Once you understand all this, you now understand why it is an accurate statement to say "The FDA promotes medical fraud."
Similarly, "The CDC promotes medical fraud." As does the WHO.
These are scientifically accurate statements, assuming you agree that a product that only works on 1 out of 100 people fits the definition of "fraud" when it is marketed as if it helped everyone. And most people would agree with that reasonable definition of fraud.
It's a totally different story if the efficacy ratio is higher. If influenza vaccines actually produced some benefit in 25 out of 100 people, that might be worth considering. But it's nowhere near that.
The FDA, by the way, will often approve pharmaceuticals that only produce results in 5 percent of the clinical trial subjects. The world of modern medicine, in fact, is full of pharmaceuticals that simply don't work on 95% of the patients who take them.
Read the Cochrane summary yourself at:
It's entitled, "Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy adults"
Authors: "Tom Jefferson, Carlo Di Pietrantonj, Alessandro Rivetti, Ghada A Bawazeer, Lubna A Al-Ansary, Eliana Ferroni"
Enter the vaccine zombies!With these study results in mind, take a look at some of the lyrics in my recent hip hop song, "Vaccine Zombie" (http://www.naturalnews.com/vaccine_zombie.ht...)
I forgot how to think for myself
I don't understand a thing about health
I do the same as everyone else
I'm a vaccine zombie, zombie
Now you can see where these lyrics come from. If influenza vaccines are worthless for 99 percent of those who receive them, then why are people lining up to get injected?
The answer is because they fail to think critically about vaccines and their health. They don't understand health, so they just go along with everybody else and do what they're told. Hence their earning of the "Vaccine Zombie" designation.
The song goes on to say:
I'm a sucker for the ads, a sucker for the labs
A sucker for the swine flu jabs
and I don't mind followin' a medical fad
Cause livin' without a brain ain't half bad
Yes, people who line up for influenza vaccines are "suckers" who have been bamboozled by fraudulent vaccine propaganda. But they're following a "medical fad" and it's easier to just do what you're told rather than engage your brain and think critically about what you're doing.
"Livin' without a brain ain't half bad" because it takes the burden of decision making out of the loop and allows you to just rely on whatever the doctors and health officials tell you to do.
How the scientific community lost touch with real scienceBut what if they were all lying to you? Or what if they, themselves, were ignorant about the fact that influenza vaccines are worthless on 99% of those who receive them? (Very few doctors and scientists, it turns out, are aware of this simple truth.)
Or what if the vaccine pushers had all convinced themselves of a falsehood? What if they truly believed that vaccines were really, really good for everyone but that belief was based on wishful thinking rather than rigorous scientific review?
Because that, my friends, is exactly what has happened. We have an entire segment of the scientific community that has been suckered into vaccine propaganda. They've convinced themselves that seasonal flu shots really work and that virtually everyone should be injected with such shots. And they believe this based on irrational faith, not on scientific thinking or rigorous statistical evidence.
They are, in other words, pursuing a vaccine religion (or cult). The is especially curious, given that most vaccine pushers don't believe in God or any organized religion -- except for their own vaccine religion, where real scientific evidence isn't required. All you gotta do is believe in vaccines and you can join their religion, too.
And so all across the 'net, so-called "science bloggers" embarrass themselves by promoting near-useless influenza vaccines as "evidence-based medicine," apparently unaware that the evidence shows such vaccines to be all but worthless.
They might as well say they support vaccines "Just 'cuz."
And "just 'cuz" is no reason to inject yourself with a chemical cocktail that even the industry admits causes extremely dangerous neurological side effects in a small number of vaccine recipients.
Vitamin D would actually make vaccines work betterTo top this all off, here's the real kicker of this story: You can beat the minimal protective benefits of vaccines with a simple, low-cost vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D, you see, is the nutrient that activates your immune system to fight off infectious disease. Without it, vaccines hardly work at all.
In fact, the very low rate of vaccine efficacy (1%) is almost certainly due to the fact that most people receiving the vaccines are vitamin D deficient. (Anywhere from 75% - 95% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, depending on whom you ask.)
Hilariously, the way to make vaccines work better would be to hand out vitamin D supplements to go along with the shots! Even more hilariously, if people were taking vitamin D supplements, they wouldn't need the vaccine shots in the first place!
Influenza vaccines, in other words, have no important role whatsoever in preventing influenza infections. This goal can be accomplished more safely, reliably and at far lower cost by promoting vitamin D supplements for the population at large.
What we really need to see from the scientific world is a study comparing vitamin D supplements to influenza vaccines (and using realistic vitamin D doses, not just 200 or 400 IUs per day). I have absolutely no doubt that healthy-dose vitamin D supplementation (4000 IUs a day) would prove to be significantly more effective than influenza vaccines at preventing flu infections.
But such a study will almost certainly never be done (at least not anytime soon) because it would expose the false propaganda of the vaccine industry while giving consumers a far better way of protecting themselves from influenza that doesn't involve paying money to vaccine manufacturers.
In medicine, as in war, truth is often the first casualty. And when the lies are repeated with enough frequency, they begin to be believed. The flu shot lie has been repeated with such ferocity and apparent authority that it has snookered in virtually the entire "scientific" community.
That even rational-minded scientists can be so easily hoodwinked by the vaccine industry is causing more and more people to question the credibility of not just modern medicine, but the entire scientific community as well.
Because if so-called "rational" scientists and thought leaders can be so easily suckered into an obvious falsehood, what other fictions might they be promoting as fact?
Medicine, you see, makes all the other sciences look bad. The obvious scientific fraud going on in the name of "science" in the pharmaceutical industry makes a mockery of real scientific thought. The ease of which medical scientists have been hoodwinked by the drug industry calls into question the rationality of all sciences.
And in doing so, it brings up an even bigger question: Is science the best path to gaining knowledge in the first place? This is obviously a philosophical question, not a scientific question, and it's beyond the scope of this article, but it's one I will likely visit here on NaturalNews very soon in an upcoming article.
There are many paths to truth, you see. Science -- good science -- is one of them, but it is not the only one. Any scientist who believes that science has a monopoly on all knowledge is himself a fool. Just read a little Feynman and you'll quickly come to discover that the very brightest minds in the history of science consistently recognized there were other pathways leading to truth.
I believe if Feynman were alive today and saw the vaccine propaganda taking place in the name of "science," he would respond with something like, "Surely you're joking."
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