By Dr Sherri Tenpenny

News reports have been flooding us with articles warning that the impending
flu season may be the worst in years. Even though it is difficult to
separate the facts from the hype, a close evaluation of the flu vaccine
will reveal that serious questions must be raised about the recommendations
that are routinely touted, namely high efficacy with little risk. Anyone
considering a flu shot should become informed about the substances coming
through that needle, and should be determined to investigate the safety and
efficacy issues that are still unresolved.

The vaccine virus
Each year, a new vaccine is developed that contains three different viruses
(one influenza B and two influenza A strains). CDC officials select the new
viruses based on which viruses were prevalent during the flu season in
China and Australia the previous year. The CDC admits that the viruses
selected for the new vaccine are chosen on the basis of an "educated
guess." [i]

What's in a flu shot?
The influenza virus is grown in "specific pathogen-free" (SPF) eggs. Eggs
are tested for a variety of agents-usually between 23 and 31-to confirm the
absence of those specific pathogens. Laboratories limit the number of
agents that are screened due to the shear abundance of potential viruses
and/or bacteria to choose from. In addition, screening for every potential
agent would be cost prohibitive.[ii] If none of the tested agents are
detected, the vaccine is reported as "pathogen free."

However, it should be understood that there is a distinct difference
between "pathogen free" and "specific pathogen-free." In its July 1996
report, the Institute of Medicine acknowledged that "although it is not
possible to produce a completely uncontaminated animal, it is possible to
produce an animal [or egg] certified to be free of specific
pathogens."[iii] Viruses that are harmless to their animal host, however,
may be potentially harmful to humans.

During the manufacturing process, antibiotics (neomycin, polymyxin B and
gentamicin) are added to eliminate stray bacteria found in the mixture. The
final solution can contain the following additives in any combination:
Triton X-100 (a detergent); polysorbate 80 (a potential carcinogen);
gelatin; formaldehyde; and residual egg proteins. In addition, many of the
influenza vaccines still contain thimerosal as a preservative. Thimerosal
(mercury) is being investigated for its link to brain injury and autoimmune

Does the flu shot protect?
There are no guarantees that the influenza viruses selected for the vaccine
will be the identical strains circulating during a given flu season. In
fact, it has recently been announced that this year's flu vaccine does not
include the strain that is being reported by doctors in the community
called the "A Fujian" strain. Outbreaks have been reported in Texas,
Colorado and elsewhere[iv] that involve strains that do not match the
current flu vaccine. CDC tests have confirmed that more than 80 per cent of
the 55 strains of influenza virus isolated thus far are the A Fujian
strain. Even so, the CDC still maintains that the current vaccine could
provide cross-protection against the new variant, but the fact is, no one
knows for sure.

Moreover, the majority of illnesses characterized by fever, fatigue, cough
and aching muscles are not caused by the influenza virus. Non-influenza
viruses (e.g., rhinoviruses respiratory syncytial virus [RSV],
adenoviruses, and parainfluenza viruses) can cause symptoms referred to
influenza-like illnesses (ILI). Certain bacteria, such as Legionella spp.,
Chlamydia pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and Streptococcus pneumoniae,
have been documented as the causes of ILI.[v]

Notably, these microbes are not part of the flu vaccine. Unless an
organism's antigen is contained within the vaccine, there is no protection
conferred by the vaccine. It is estimated that most adults will average 1-3
episodes of ILI, and most children will average 3-6 episodes. The CDC also
admits that "many persons who have been vaccinated against influenza can
still get the flu"[vi]

Targeting the elderly
The flu vaccine is generally recommended for persons aged 65 and older, and
those with medical conditions who could experience serious complications
from the flu. Medical journals report broad differences in effectiveness
for the elderly, ranging from 0 to 85%.
The CDC states that 90% of deaths from influenza occur among the elderly.
Considering that nearly 65% of all deaths (from any cause) occur in this
age group, it is nearly impossible to prove that flu shots significantly
increase life expectancy in this group. The truth is that most people-young
and old-will weather a bout of the flu without hospitalization or

A serious concern: Alzheimer's Disesase
Hugh Fudenberg, MD, an immunogeneticist and biologist with nearly 850
papers published in peer review journals, has reported that if an
individual had five consecutive flu shots between 1970 and 1980 (the years
studied), his/her chances of getting Alzheimer's Disease is ten times
higher than if they had zero, one, or two shots.[vii]

Dr. Boyd Haley, Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry at the
University of Kentucky, Lexington has done extensive research in the area
of mercury toxicity and the brain. Haley's research has established a
likely connection between mercury toxicity and Alzheimer's disease. [viii]
In a paper published in collaboration with researchers at University of
Calgary, Haley stated that "seven of the characteristic markers that we
look for to distinguish Alzheimer's disease can be produced in normal brain
tissues, or cultures of neurons, by the addition of extremely low levels of

Does this prove that the mercury contained in the influenza shot can be
directly linked to Alzheimer's? No, absolutely not. But further research in
this area is critically needed because the absence of proof is not the
"proof of absence."[x]

Flu vaccine now for children
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) adopted a
resolution effective March 1, 2003 that expanded the use of the influenza
vaccine to include children aged 6-23 months. The recommendations also
included vaccinating those aged 2 to 18 years who live in households
containing children younger than 2 years of age.[xi]

The flu vaccine most commonly given to children is Fluzone>, a trivalent
vaccine grown in chicken eggs. Harvested with formaldehyde and containing
the recommended ratio of 15 ug of each of the three prototype viral
strains, each dose of Fluzone> also contains 25 ug of mercury.[xii] The new
CDC recommendations include giving the influenza vaccine to children
beginning at six months of age and then annually, for the rest of their
lives. Children less than age 9 receiving their first flu shot, two doses
of vaccine are recommended, with a minimum interval of one month between
the two doses. However, the CDC does not provide a direct reference to
substantiate this recommendation.[xiii]

On June 17, 2003, the FDA approved an intranasal influenza vaccine for use
in healthy persons aged 5-49 years. Flumist> is a live-virus vaccine that
can cause a litany of problems. (for further information on FluMist)

If you choose not to receive the flu shot, have a discussion with your
doctor regarding other options. However, some simple and possibly quite
effective things you can do for yourself to prevent the flu include: 1)
avoid white sugar;[xiv] 2) exercise regularly; 3) get adequate sleep; 4)
eat a healthy diet, omitting trans-fats; 5) drink plenty of purified water
daily and 6) wash your hands. A common way people contract viral illnesses
is by rubbing their nose or their eyes after their hands have been
contaminated with a virus. The CDC states, "the most important thing you
can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands."[xv]

We are so used to taking medications-for prevention and treatment-that it
is difficult to comprehend that these modest recommendations are really the
most powerful ways to minimize the likelihood of getting the flu.

Making the decision
You may decide to consult a physician who is schooled in alternative
medicine to assess a variety of options for you and your family. What is
most important, in the end, is to become as informed as possible regarding
your options for keeping healthy and avoiding the flu.

[i] Sabin, Russel and Reynolds. Breakdowns Mar Flu Shot Program Production,
distribution delays raise fears of nation vulnerable to epidemic. San
Francisco Chronicle. Feb. 25, 2001
[ii] Charles River Laboratories, A Laboratory Animal Health Monitoring
Program: Rationale and Development,' (Winter 1990); Source: Internet address
[iii] Institute of Medicine Press Release: Federal Guidelines Needed to
Ensure Safety in Animal-to-Human Organ Transplants. July 17, 1996.
[iv]CBS: The Associated Press. CDC Says Flu Season Is Going Strong in Parts
of U.S., Vaccine Doesn't Match Strain Doctors See.
[v] MMWR. November 9, 2001 / 50(44);984-6
[vi] MMWR Nov. 9, 2001/50(44); 984-6
[vii] Hugh Fudenberg, MD, is Founder and Director of Research, Neurolmmuno
Therapeutic Research Foundation. Information from Dr. Hugh Fudenberg came
from transcribed notes of Dr. Fudenberg's speech at the NVIC International
Vaccine Conference, Arlington, VA September, 1997. Quoted with permission.
[viii] The Relationship of Toxic Effects of Mercury to Exacerbation of the
Medical Condition Classified as Alzheimer's Disease by Boyd E. Haley, PhD.
[ix] NeuroReport, 12(4):733-737, 2001
[xi] MMWR. 2002;51[RR-3]:1-31
[xii] Package insert. Influenza Virus VaccineFluzoneŽ 2003 - 2004 Formula
[xiii] MMWR. 2002: 51 [RR-3], pg. 19
[xiv] All forms of refined sugar depress white blood cells' ability to
destroy bacteria. See Sanchez A, et al. Role of sugars in human
neutrophilic phagocytosis. Am J Clin Nutr 1973;26:1180.
[xv]CDC-Handwashing: An ounce of prevention keeps the germs away.