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To Vaccinate or Not To Vaccinate?

The question of whether or not to vaccinate should be asked about each vaccine specifically. In the case of the Swine flu vaccine the answer is straightforward: each of us is free to choose to receive an unproven, potentially harmful treatment promoted by the pharmaceutical lobby, or to rely on time-tested practices or well-researched alternative treatments. In the interest of promoting a conscious decision on the matter, I would like to share the following thoughts about influenza and vaccinations in general:

1. The science behind vaccine research is not as clear-cut as it is presented by medical media. Medical doctors are often just as much influenced by media reports and by patient demand which as said may be based on misinformation. Because the flu virus is constantly evolving, the actual ability of the latest vaccine (whether conventional or H1N1 flu) to confer protection can only be guessed. Besides, not every ‘flu’ is due to the flu virus: there are other viruses that cause flu-like symptoms. Past history of flu vaccines shows that sometimes vaccinated individuals were more rather than less likely to get the flu. A broad-spectrum approach based on hygiene and immune boosting clearly has the potential of being more reliable if properly pursued.

2. Historically speaking, vaccinations were typically introduced when diseases were already on the wane due to improved living conditions, nutrition, sanitation, heating, etc., and have never been proven to have been the main contributors to the decline or elimination of those diseases as if often claimed by vaccination advocates. For example, the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic arrived in the wake of World War I, with many populations depleted from several years of war and related economic stress. Other factors such as the lack of antibiotics (which hadn’t yet been discovered) further muddle the picture. Therefore comparing then and now makes for good polemics but is not scientifically responsible.

3. The cost-benefit ratio of vaccines — whether the protection conferred by the vaccine outweighs any potential harm from it — varies depending on the population: in populations where infectious disease is the main cause of morbidity or mortality (third-world countries, immuno-compromised, elderly, etc.) such use may be justified, but in populations where chronic disease dominates, or in relatively healthy individuals, such use may be unjustified. This is because vaccinations carry known and unknown side-effects, some of which only become manifest years later; although the medical establishment often dismisses such claims, based on the collective experience of the naturopathic and homeopathic professions the short-term side-effects of vaccinations are under-reported, and their long-term effects have been poorly researched to date. This is especially true in the case of the flu vaccine which is constantly altered to match the current form of the virus and applied widely shortly thereafter.

4. For a reasonably healthy individual the flu is rarely dangerous, and vaccinations often fail to produce an immune response in precisely those individuals for whom the flu would be dangerous, because their immune system is unresponsive to begin with. There are immune-boosting methods that reduce the risks of the flu, such as vitamins C and D and immune-boosting herbs and mushrooms such as Astragalus and Reishi. Traditional hygienic practices are especially important during the flu season.

5. Chronic avoidance of the flu may have negative long-term consequences, because periodic exposure to the virus may be a crucial component in the maintenance of a healthy immune system. An interesting observation is that individuals afflicted with severe chronic illnesses such as cancer, schizophrenia, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis often have a prior history of absence of acute illnesses (including the flu, colds, and fevers).

6. Vaccination has been observed clinically to be associated with lowered overall health and vitality: while a vaccine may confer protection from a specific disease, this may be at the cost of leaving the organism more vulnerable to other disease agents. In the long term this strategy produces increased dependence on external protection from disease agents, and may produce developmental delays. In the case of children, there are serious concerns about the long-term safety of vaccinations, and at any rate children that are allowed to experience acute illnesses naturally (so long as they can be guaranteed access to both conventional and complementary treatments) are observed to develop better than average, often undergoing a spurt of development following an acute illness. Thus at least in the Western world where hygiene is up to par and access to medical care is universally available, vaccinations are not the most reasonable, cutting-edge solution to infectious diseases.

7. Environmentally speaking, vaccination encourages faster mutation of the flu virus, because viruses evolve to adapt to the changing environment imposed by anti-flu vaccinated populations. This may have unknown adverse public-health consequences in the long term, potentially upsetting the evolutionary balance between the flu virus and the human population.

8. The naturopathic approach to flu prevention relies on improving the overall health of the organism through various material or spiritual means: improved lifestyle and nutrition, judicious use of herbs and nutritional supplements, constitutional homeopathic treatment, and so on. The long-term side-effects of this approach include increased vitality, happiness and fulfilment, and resistance to a wide array of diseases. Philosophically speaking, naturopathic medicine discourages a fear-based approach to medicine, instead encouraging individuals to address overall health and vitality so as to minimize the risk when exposed to any strain of the flu.

9. Most ominously, it seems that the Swine flu scare has been manufactured by the pharmaceutical lobby, which has convinced the governments worldwide to purchase vast quantities of vaccines. Reports about complications or deaths from the Swine flu are mostly unsubstantiated, because the majority of people are not tested for the identity of the virus they carry, or because such occurrences may not be any more frequent than during other (regular) flu seasons. These vaccines, though mostly not yet delivered, will, it seems, be used on schedule regardless of whether the Swine flu turns out to be unusually virulent. For the time being it appears to be mildly more dangerous than the regular flu, not any more virulent, and on path to becoming nothing more than yet another variant on the seasonal flu; no pandemic is or ever was in sight. Therefore it remains incumbent on the individual to decide whether to support such practices by getting vaccinated or to vote against them by refusing to do so. Meanwhile, falling for the Swine flu scare may result in unnecessary complications from unproven vaccinations, in relying on an ineffective vaccination instead of pursuing more reliable alternatives, and in emergency wards overflowing with minor cases and thereby preventing patients who truly experience serious complications from the flu (a regular occurrence during every flu season) from receiving proper treatment.

Reference Sources:
November 10, 2009


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