What’s in that Needle, Nurse?

Each year, between the months of January and March, and FDA advisory panel selects the tree influenza strains it expects to be the most widespread during the upcoming flu season. The entire process is an educated guess. The CDC sends the selected seed virus to the FDA for approval prior to distribution to the manufacturers for production. Our kids and families are coerced into receiving these vaccines without knowing what really is in the needle. Here we’ll discuss what the flu vaccine is actually made of.

The annual shot contains three separate strains: two influenza A strains and one strain of influenza B. Most commonly, two strains are ones that were included in the preceding year’s shot; one new strain is selected each year and then modified in the lab through the re-assortment process before it is added to the seasonal shot.

Two viruses are injected into fertilized chicken eggs. The genes from the two viruses “mix together” through the re-assortment process, forming as many as 256 possible newly created genetic combinations. Researchers select the virus that has both the (H) antigen from the upcoming year’s virus and the internal genes from the virus that grows in the eggs. That new virus, along with the two strains from the previous year, makes up the vaccine for the current season.

Vaccine production is a slow, cumbersome process utilizing 500,000 fertilized chicken eggs per day for up to eight months. When the embryo in the fertilized egg is 11 days old, selected eggs are labels with specific identification numbers and placed into a tray. The amniotic membrane of the chicken embryo is then injected with a drop of viral containing solution. Enough solution is contained in each syringe to inoculate three eggs before it is discarded. The eggs are maintained for two to three days in a controlled environment. During that time, the viruses infect the lungs of the developing chicken embryos and begin to rapidly replicate.

Several days later the eggs are placed into a cooler and chilled. The fluid from the three similarly inoculated eggs is collected in a test tube. The gooey viral suspension must be centrifuged – sometimes more than once- to remove as much chicken blood and tissue solution as possible. Some residual eggs proteins frequently remain within the final product; hence, those persons with an egg allergy are strongly advised against receiving the flu shot. The entire process, from egg selection to viral harvest, can take at least six months.

After the viruses are separated from the egg, they are inactivated (killed) with formaldehyde, a well known carcinogen. The surface antigens, (H) and (N), are then “split” by a detergent called Triton X-100. Product information on this compound states the following: “Uses: Household & industrial cleaners, paints & coatings, pulp & paper, textile, agrochemical, metal working fluids, oilfield chemicals.”

By the time the flu shot is ready for packaging, the solution contains the following: various egg proteins, Trition X-100, formaldehyde, resin, gelatin, tri-bu-tylphosphate, polysorbate 80, and in some instances gentamicin. To preserve this chemical brew, in doses of up to 25 micrograms thimerosal (a mercury derivative) is still added to many of the shots. After you read this vivid description of the manufacture of the flu shot, the thought of injecting this into your body- or the body of your child- should be disgusting.

For those not repulsed by the idea of injecting the above solution into your body, perhaps knowing that the vaccine won’t prevent you from getting the flu will add to your perspective. A report released by Cochrane Collaboration in Jan 2006 concluded that there was no evidence that injecting kids 6-23 months old with the influenza vaccine was any more effective than a placebo. After a review of 51 studies involving more than 260,000 children, and 17 papers from Russia, the co-author concluded that mandates to vaccinate babies are based on very little evidence.

As for “safety studies,” there aren’t any. “We were astonished to find only one safety study of inactivated vaccine in children under two years old; that was carried out nearly 30 years ago and only in 35 children.” Reports for vaccinating healthy adults were equally as dismal. 25 reports of studies involving nearly 60,000 people were included and overall vaccination reduced the risk of influenza by only 6% and reduced the number of missed work days by less than one day (0.16 days).

Remember this as the hype for mass vaccination begins and the next time your doctor recommends that you and your family get vaccinated. Because if the flu shot is not effective in babies, its effectiveness in the elderly is wildly overstated, and is not recommended for healthy adults, what the heck is the point of it?!

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