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COMMENTARY: Attorney Questions
School-Administered Flu Shots
 By Alan G. Phillips, J.D., December 21, 2009


            I’m deeply concerned about the possible distribution of seasonal flu shots through public schools, and you should be, too—for several important reasons.

            First, a number of studies reveal that flu shots provides little if any protection to people of any age, due in part to the fact that vaccine manufacturers have to guess months in advance which flu strain will be dominant months—and they often guess wrong. Children with asthma who get the flu shot are actually at a greater risk for hospitalization than those who do not get the vaccine.[i] A review of more than 51 studies involving more than 294,000 children it was found there was "no evidence that injecting children 6-24 months of age with a flu shot was any more effective than placebo.”[ii] Similar results have been found in studies for adults and the elderly.[iii] Recent Canadian data submitted for publishing shows that the seasonal flu shot doubles the odds of contracting the H1N1 ”swine” flu.[iv] Tom Jefferson, a Cochrane Collaboration epidemiologist who “knows the flu vaccine literature better than anyone else on the planet,” says the vast majority of flu studies favoring seasonal flu vaccines were deeply flawed. He stated: “Rubbish is not a scientific term, but I think it’s the term that applies.”[v] A majority of health care professionals don’t get annual seasonal flu shots[vi], and a majority also object to getting this year’s seasonal and H1N1 flu shots[vii]; what do they know that the rest of us don’t? This past fall in New York, when seasonal and swine flu shots were mandated under the state health department’s recently declared “emergency,” the response was a series of health care employee protest rallies around the state and court cases that got a Temporary Restraining Order from the NY State Supreme Court preventing enforcement of the mandate.[viii] More recently, the AMA formally took a position against flu and swine flu mandates for doctors.[ix] Do we intend to push on our children shots that healthcare professionals won't impose on themselves?

            Next, the distribution of seasonal flu shots through public schools amounts to a questionable State endorsement of one of several different modalities. The North Carolina Supreme Court has stated, “To limit progress by establishing allopathy as the state system of healing, and forbidding all others . . . would be as foreign to our system as a state church for the cure of souls.”[x] Yet, this is precisely what the State has now done, and not for lack of proven alternatives. Last fall, Cuba carried out a successful use of homeoprophylaxis on a population of 2.5 million Cubans in their annual Leptospirosis epidemic; the results substantially exceeded those obtained previously with conventional vaccinations, at a fraction of the cost,[xi] and with none of the deaths and permanent disabilities we routinely tolerate with vaccines. Studies also show that Vitamin D is protective against the flu.[xii] So why aren’t schools providing these more cost-effective and successful means of preventing the flu—and others also proven effective against the flu such as chiropractic[xiii] and acupuncture?[xiv] The answer seems obvious: These other protections aren’t profitable for the pharmaceutical industry. This assertion is not mere cynicism. Conflicts of interest abound—members of the FDA and CDC committees who license and recommend vaccines often have ties to vaccine manufacturers.[xv] [xvi]

            Finally, “free” vaccines in public schools are anything but free. We the taxpayers pay for them, and at a far greater cost than the price of the vaccines themselves—we also pay for their unintended but sometimes devastating consequences. The federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has paid out nearly two billion dollars in taxpayer money since 1986 for deaths and injuries caused by vaccines in the United States,[xvii] and this may represent only a drop in the bucket. The vast majority of vaccine injuries are not reported,[xviii] and few of the reported cases result in compensation due to the strict requirements. The result? Private vaccine manufacturers have more than the usual business profits with a captive market, but none of the usual business liability—we pay for both--with our money, quality of life, and in some cases--our loved ones' lives.

            Few doubt that State educators have the best of intentions for our children, but they have seriously missed the boat on this one. Government should not be in the health care business, but if it is going to be, its policy and practice should be driven by facts—by what actually works—and not by any one industry’s clout and propaganda. Better yet, health care is a personal matter that should be decided one person at a time, privately, between each person or parent and the health care provider of their choice. As wonderful as our educational institutions may be, it is not appropriate for them to promote—let alone distribute and administer—any one industry’s healthcare products to our children.

            Flu vaccines should NOT be distributed through the schools.

Alan G. Phillips, J.D.
P.O. Box 3473
Chapel Hill, NC 27515-3473
919-960-5172  919-960-5172

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[i] The American Thoracic Society’s 105th International Conference,
May 15-20, 2009, San Diego, CA.

[ii] The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2 (2008).

[iii] http://drtenpenny.com/the_truth_about_the_flu_Shot.aspx

[iv] MOH cautious on flu shot fears,
http://www.healthzone.ca/health/newsfeatures/article/700026 

[v] Does the Vaccine Matter?,
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200911/brownlee-h1n1/2

[vi] Many health workers refuse flu shots,
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Entertainment/
Many+health+workers+refuse+shots/1997673/story.html
(note: article may have been removed);
Health Care Workers Need Flu Shots, Too, But Not All Are Getting Them, http://www.cdh.org/News.aspx?id=121262 (note: article appears to have been removed)

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[vii] E.g., 65% of French Nurses Will Refuse Swine Flu Vaccine Over Safety Concerns, http://blogs.healthfreedomalliance.org/blog/2009/09/24/
65-of-french-nurses-will-refuse-swine-flu-vaccine-over-safety-concerns/
;  
Half of Healthcare Workers Will Likely Refuse H1N1 Vaccine, Research Finds, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,542950,00.html

[viii] AMA meeting: No flu shot mandates for doctors; hand sanitizer pushed, amednews.com, http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2009/11/23/prsd1123.htm

[ix] Judge Halts Mandatory Flu Vaccines for Health Care Workers,
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/16/
judge-halts-mandatory-flu-vaccines-for-health-care-workers/?hp
 

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[x] State v. McKnight, 131 N.C. 717, 42 S.E. 580

[xi] Successful Use of Homeopathy In Over 2.5 Million People Reported From Cuba,
http://homeopathyresource.wordpress.com/2009/01/01/
successful-use-of-homeopathy-in-over-5-million-people-reported-from-cuba/


[xii] See, e.g., Researchers see link between vitamin D, flu immunity, http://www.jsonline.com/features/health/44680902.html;
Vitamin D deficiency linked to more colds and flu, http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/60-second-science/
post.cfm?id=vitamin-d-deficiency-linked-to-more-2009-02-23
; etc.

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[xiii] Flu season wellness plan should include chiropractic care, http://www.worldchiropracticalliance.org/media/fluseason.htm

[xiv] What Can TCM Do For You During The Flu Season?, http://www.acupuncture.com/conditions/flu.htm

[xv] Congressional report reveals FDA "conflict of interest",
http://www.americanchiropractic.net/FDA/
Congressional%20report%20reveals%20FDA.pdf


[xvi| Advisors on Vaccines Often Have Conflicts, Report Says,
The New York Times, 12-17-09, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/18/health/policy/18cdc.html?_r=1 

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[xvii] National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/

[xviii] Statement of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), Hearing of the House subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources, “Compensating Vaccine Injuries: Are Reforms Needed?” September 28, 1999. Less than 1% according to Barbara Fisher, citing former FDA commissioner David Kessler, 1993, JAMA, in the Statement of the NVIC. Less than 10%, accordingly to K.M. Severyn, R.Ph., Ph.D. in the Dayton Daily News, May 28, 1993.

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Alan Phillips, J.D.
Alan Phillips, J.D.



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Vaccine Rally, Albany, NY
September 29, 2009




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