Things you probably don’t know about your flu shot

If you’re one of the many people who make it a point to get their flu shot each year, you should be aware of some potential risks that your doctor and pharmacist are probably not telling you about.

For example:

  • When they ask you if you’re allergic to any part of the vaccine, they don’t even know what all the ingredients are. So, how can you answer that question and keep yourself safe?
  • If you’re admitted to a hospital, you may not even be asked for your consent before you receive a flu shot.

And, if you should suffer any adverse effects from the shot, well, you’re pretty much on your own.

What’s in there, anyway?

We’re always cautioned to tell our doctor or other person giving us the flu shot if we’ve ever had severe or life-threatening allergic reactions to the shot, or to any part of the vaccine.

Most flu vaccines contain a small part of egg protein, so we are generally warned against that. But did you know, for example, that one of the newest flu vaccines on the market contains armyworms and insects?

In 2016, the FDA approved the Flubok vaccine for use in anyone over the age of 18.

In 2009, when Flubok was still being developed, the president of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) offered these public comments to the FDA’s Vaccines and Biological Products Advisory Committee:

There is always the potential for increased … autoimmune responses in individuals who are genetically predisposed to … immune mediated neurological dysfunction. I am thinking of the Bell’s Palsy case … that  may or may not have been triggered … by Flubok vaccination. The relatively small numbers of individuals in these clinical trials  may not reveal the rarer but very serious complications involving demyelination of the brain and autoimmune disorders that have been reported.”

In other words, they weren’t really sure it was safe for everyone, but since it might only affect a few people, we’ll go ahead and approve it. What if you are one of those few people, and don’t know it?

What are they afraid of?

The NVICP website states that it is an “…alternative to the traditional legal system for resolving vaccine injury petitions.”

Let’s stop right there. The world alternative implies that you have a choice. In fact, you don’t. Not since 1986.

That’s when Congress passed a law which gave both manufacturers of vaccines and personnel who administer them total legal immunity for injuries or deaths related to those vaccines.

Let’s be clear. If you or a loved one develop nerve damage, fibromyalgia, kidney damage, or worse, after receiving a flu shot, you cannot sue either the doctor or pharmacy who gave you the shot, or the drug company who manufactured it.

Your only recourse is to file a petition with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. It is then reviewed by the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Justice.

Resolution of such claims has been known to take anywhere from a year to seven years or more.

With no legal consequences for injuries or deaths due to the flu vaccine, Big Pharma is pushing to get more people vaccinated.

Vaccinated without consent

One flu vaccine manufacturer has sponsored a website to promote ways to get more adults vaccinated:

The Immunization Action Coalition, which works with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, educates medical professionals about Standing Orders, a protocol they are urged to implement in order to vaccinate more adults who enter their hospitals.

Essentially, Standing Orders authorizes nurses and other trained personnel to assess a patient’s need for immunization, and administer vaccines “without the need for clinician examination or direct order from the attending provider at the time of the interaction.”

It’s even possible to get a flu vaccine and not know it. One hospital nurse reported that patients who undergo surgery sign a consent, which includes a consent to receive “biogenics.” This allows the hospital to administer a flu shot while a patient is under anesthesia.

What you can do to stay in control

Whether or not you choose to receive a flu shot each winter should be an individual decision, based on health and on objective information.

Here are a few things that will help you make an informed decision:

  • Do your research, but know the source. Many websites and other materials encouraging you to get the flu shot are sponsored by the drug companies that manufacture them. This is a red flag, and you should research the information further to be sure of its accuracy.
  • Know what’s in it. Before getting a flu shot, know what kind it is, and what’s in it. This may take some advanced research and planning on your part, but it’s well worth it to have all the facts.
  • Know your allergies. Keep good records of any allergic reactions you’ve had to medications in general, and to the flu shot in particular. Check with your doctor if you’re not sure.
  • Know what you’re signing. If you’re signing consent forms before surgery or other hospital procedures, be clear about what it really says. It’s always a good idea to have someone with you who can help with this.
  • Know your rights. Before anyone gives you a flu shot – your doctor, clinic, or the local pharmacist – they are required to give you the Vaccine Information Statement for the particular immunization you are about to receive. Take the time to read it. These statements mainly contain information about why you should get vaccinated, as well as who should or shouldn’t get the vaccine. (But, as we’ve seen, this information is often far from complete. Perhaps the most important thing on these statements are the phone numbers and websites of the CDC, NVICP, and Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

Getting a flu vaccine undoubtedly prevents many people from getting the flu. It’s wise, though, to have as much information as possible before deciding on the vaccine, and understanding the risks involved. Then, the decision you make will be an informed one.

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Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.