KOMONews in Tacoma, Washington is reporting the story of a Foster parent who is fighting to keep a foster infant. Jamie Smith and her husband have been foster parents before, having previously fostered 7 infants, including their now adopted 4 year-old daughter. The most recent infant to whom the Smiths have opened their home was born on Christmas Day and is now two weeks old.
Mrs. Smith is refusing what appears to be a new mandate that all members of foster families receive yearly flu vaccines. She states she has done her research and believes the potential harms of the flu vaccine outweigh the risk for herself and for her children. Her husband did get a flu shot because he was mandated to as a condition of his employment. Flu vaccine mandates for health-care workers and hospital employees (even those who are not involved in patient care) have been increasing in the last few years. Nurses have been the most targeted for mandates, and many of them are refusing the shot, opting instead to wear surgical masks for months at a time, throughout the officially designated “flu season.”
According to Nurses Against Mandatory Vaccination (NAMV), Boston nurses aren’t the only ones fighting mandatory flu vaccines. Six protests are planned for Nov. 1 in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio and Texas. The organization says fighting the issue is difficult because each state determines vaccination rules differently—or not at all. California, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Tennessee all have “offer laws” which means that while healthcare facilities are required to offer the flu shot, workers also have the right to decline the vaccination. Alaska, New Hampshire and Rhode Island all require annual vaccinations.
With all these nurses refusing and protesting to avoid the flu shot, doesn’t it make you wonder what they know? The article linked above indicates nurses are refusing because they have witnessed the serious reactions and they don’t believe it is right to be forced to accept an invasive medical procedure that has such a poor record of success.
It’s not just nurses who are being injured and dying.
I learned this morning of the death of Katherine McQuestion, a 26 year-old health care worker who was forced to get the flu shot as a condition of her hospital employment. Katherine’s mother reported her daughter was a healthy, active young woman who had just been married in September of 2014. Her funeral was held on Tuesday, January 6, 2015.
Have you heard that there is a shortage of nurses, which is predicted to get worse as baby-boomers age? It would seem to me that an important question to ask is, “What effect does mandatory flu vaccination have on the shortage of nurses?”
Another question that comes to my mind is: What effect does the witnessing of vaccine-reactions in their patients have on the nurses’ resistance to the flu shot?
A study published in 2012 in the journal Vaccine titled “What lies behind the low rates of vaccination among nurses who treat infants?” found that one third (33.5%) of nurses are leaving their jobs within the first 2 years after graduation, citing factors such as lack of faith in vaccines, and objection to forced vaccination of themselves and of infants.
We already have a nursing shortage. The vaccine mandates are having a serious impact on the worsening of that situation.
When it comes to the mandating of flu vaccines for foster families, can we learn anything, or possibly predict anything about how those mandates might affect children who need homes?
Do we really have that many good foster families that we can afford to lose one third of them, too? Not according to the many articles I looked at regarding foster care. As this article from USA Today indicates, even though the number of children requiring care has decreased in recent years, there are still critical shortages of foster parents in several states, and as a result, infants, children, and adolescents who need loving families are often housed in group homes because they don’t have enough foster parents to take them in.
Does it make sense to mandate the flu vaccine? If the goal is to protect children, the answer is NO.
The Cochrane Collaboration’s research on the flu vaccine is very important reading for anyone who wants an unbiased, well-researched opinion. After studying the published research dating back to the 1960s, on flu vaccine efficacy and safety, the Cochrane Collaboration researchers found that the makers of the flu vaccine actually hit their mark about 10% of the time. So this year’s flu vaccine fiasco is nothing new. Ninety percent of the flu vaccines made since the 1960’s have been ineffective. In a “good year,” when the vaccine actually targets the strain of flu that is circulating, the effectiveness varies, depending on the age and immune status of the recipient. Efficacy at preventing flu ranges from about 30% to about 1% in healthy adults. The researchers found no effect on flu vaccination when it comes to preventing hospitalizations, preventing the spread of influenza-like-illness, or preventing serious complications from flu. You can read more about the Cochrane Collaborations flu research here.
When attempting to make informed decisions about health care, we need to not only consider if a proposed intervention works (the benefit); we also must consider the potential harm of the intervention (the risks). This is what is known as the Risk-Benefit Analysis. With regard to the flu vaccine, assessing the risk is difficult because we don’t have accurate data. The best we have is VAERS – Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System; a database maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Unfortunately, because VAERS is a voluntary reporting system and there are no consequences to doctors, nurses or pharmacists for failing to report adverse reactions to vaccines, the AMA estimates that less than 10% of reactions to any medical procedure or product is ever reported, and the number may be as low as 1-2%. This makes it very difficult to assess whether any benefit of flu vaccine outweighs the risks. What we do know is that in the last few years, the number of serious reactions reported to VAERS from flu vaccines has been steadily increasing. We also know that adverse events from flu vaccines are now the most frequent cases being filed with the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Go here for more information.
In the article from KOMONews, Mrs. Smith stated her (very valid) concerns about mercury. Mercury is still present in the majority of flu vaccines given to adults and children under the age of two years. It is possible to obtain a mercury-free flu vaccine, but it has to be requested and you will not get it at Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, health departments, grocery stores, university or other school clinics, or any other places where large numbers of vaccines are being administered. You have to ask for it and be sure the vaccine you receive comes from a single-dose (and NOT a multi-dose) vial. Dr. Oz talked about this issue a while back, and I wrote about that show here. I hope you will check it out.
As noted above, and in the Dr. Oz show, mercury is a big problem. However, it is not the only problem with the flu vaccine. Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccines (FluMist) can also be very dangerous. There are issues of shedding, which the manufacturer’s insert states can occur for up to 28 days post vaccination (see table 5, page 14) and can result in the spread of the flu to others in close contact (like families and school classrooms).
Since all medical interventions should be based on good science and not just because those who benefit from the sale of vaccines say you should get them, it is important to know what the research really says regarding the flu vaccine. I have already linked the Cochrane Collaborations study of vaccine efficacy in adults. In analyzing the published research on flu vaccines for children, the Cochrane Collaboration researchers reviewed 75 studies, with more than 300,000 participants. This is what their review says about flu vaccines in healthy children:
The review authors found that in children aged from two years, nasal spray vaccines made from weakened influenza viruses were better at preventing illness caused by the influenza virus than injected vaccines made from the killed virus. Neither type was particularly good at preventing ‘flu-like illness’ caused by other types of viruses. In children under the age of two, the efficacy of inactivated vaccine was similar to placebo. It was not possible to analyse the safety of vaccines from the studies due to the lack of standardisation in the information given, but very little information was found on the safety of inactivated vaccines, the most commonly used vaccine in young children.
If you do a search trying to find evidence regarding the flu vaccine and increased hospitalizations from pneumonia and asthma attacks, you will be flooded with information from pro-vaccine sites stating that the myth has been debunked. However, there is evidence to the contrary, as the following article reveals.
Following infection with an influenza virus, infected or recently recovered individuals become transiently susceptible to excess bacterial infections, particularly Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus. Indeed, in the absence of preexisting comorbidities, bacterial infections are a leading cause of severe disease during influenza epidemics. While this synergy has been known and is well studied, what has not been explored is the natural extension of these interactions to live attenuated influenza vaccines (LAIVs). Here we show, in mice, that vaccination with LAIV primes the upper respiratory tract for increased bacterial growth and persistence of bacterial carriage, in a manner nearly identical to that seen following wild-type influenza virus infections. Importantly, LAIV, unlike wild-type virus, did not increase severe bacterial disease of the lower respiratory tract. These findings may have consequences for individual bacterial disease processes within the upper respiratory tract, as well as bacterial transmission dynamics within LAIV-vaccinated populations.
The bottom line is, when you really look at the evidence, the efficacy of the flu vaccine is very poor, and the risk of injury or death is real.
Mandating a vaccine that has such a poor record of efficacy, and which carries significant risk of injury is unconscionable. When it comes to mandating such invasive medical procedures on foster families, the state is forcing them to choose between their own health and the health of their other children, in order to qualify to provide a home for a child who desperately needs it. If the mandates stand, in the end, everyone will lose. Loving foster parents and their children who have bonded with infants and children will face the loss of those children. Foster children who have already faced more loss and often trauma that exceeds what any child should have to endure will be taken from families they have already bonded with, and that trauma will be added to the list of abuses. This re-victimization of infants and children by the state must be stopped. It is nothing short of just plain evil for the state to remove a child from a good home for such a flimsy reason.
If we can learn anything from what is happening with nurses and healthcare workers it is this: The already critical shortage of foster parents will increase dramatically as a result of this insanity and those who will suffer the most will be the children.
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