The University of Southern California’s student newspaper, The Daily Trojan, published a blog viewpoint in October recommending that students think twice before receiving the flu shot. While the author, Annie Wanless, did not mention any reasons the vaccine is recommended, she did present several arguments against the flu vaccine.
The article begins by pointing out that the flu vaccine can cause several of the symptoms that people are trying to avoid with the vaccine, like a fever and a headache. She then mentions that vaccines contain trace amounts of dangerous chemicals like mercury, formaldehyde and aluminum. Although a source for this fact isn’t included in the article.
A little more research does prove that Formaldehyde is listed in the ingredients for Fluarix, the most popular flu vaccine for 2012. The vaccine states that each dose may contain residual amounts of formaldehyde and other ingredients from the manufacturing process. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listed formaldehyde as a human carcinogen in 1987, and numerous other agencies have since supported this statement. Neither aluminum nor mercury is mentioned in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) information on Fluarix.
A second argument that Ms. Wanless has against the flu vaccine is that it is cultured in fertilized chicken eggs. She states, “According to the Center for Consumer Freedom, it takes three eggs to produce one vaccine. The Center for Disease Control wants 70% of Americans to be vaccinated. This requires nearly 645 million chicken eggs, placing excessive demands on an industry already condemned for raising birds in deplorable conditions.”
Further reading into this subject brought Vaccine Watch to the National Academy of Engineering website, where we read the following statement: “…flocks associated with vaccine production are under strict contract and must be completely housed, monitored by veterinarians, and raised under biosecurity regulations. With government support, Sanofi Pasteur has also established contingency flocks as a backup against avian influenza and other risks.” The conditions under which animals are cared for should be held to the highest standards, but we cannot choose a flu vaccine in the same way we can shop for humanely produced eggs.
The closing argument of the article is that researchers have argued that excessive use of the flu vaccine and other anti-flu drugs can create “super viruses.” The article does not mention who these researchers are, and further investigation only found a Dutch researcher who created a super virus, and other researchers trying to create a super virus vaccine.
The article concludes by offering advice on natural ways to boost the immune system. She admits that the flu vaccine does help prevent the contraction of influenza, but urges students to learn more about the vaccine before receiving one.
Influenza outbreaks on college campuses can run rampant given the close quarters students keep in classrooms, dormitories, and dining halls. It is in these environments that the flu vaccine may most effectively serve a community. Universities should not be misinforming students and promoting anti-vaccine messages.