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EU Glyphosate Risk Assessment Plagiarized

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Controversy over glyphosate has reached an all-time high in the European Union (EU), after researchers accused the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) of plagiarizing a report supporting its safety. The plagiarized sections were largely lifted from a paper written by the pesticide industry, raising serious concerns about the legitimacy of the findings.

The scandal asserts that the German risk assessment of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, contains sections “copy pasted” from industry contributions, which likely influenced the EU’s favorable vote to renew the chemical’s license.

Questions Surrounding EU Glyphosate Risk Assessment First Surfaced in 2015

Concerns over glyphosate’s toxicity have been mounting since the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) 2015 determination that glyphosate is a “probable carcinogen.” In the EU, European Commission leaders met in March 2016 to vote on whether to renew a 15-year license for glyphosate, which was set to expire in June of that year.

The decision was tabled amid mounting opposition, as more than 180,000 Europeans signed a petition calling for glyphosate to be banned outright. Ultimately, more than 2 million signatures were collected against relicensing the chemical. In June 2016, however, the European Commission granted an 18-month extension to glyphosate while they continued the review.

In November 2017, EU countries voted to renew glyphosate’s license for another five years, amid intense debate from opposition who warned the chemical may cause cancer and harm soil health. The decision was said to be largely the result of a BfR (EU-commissioned) risk assessment,1 which essentially found that glyphosate is safe and “classification and labeling [of glyphosate] for carcinogenicity is not warranted.”2

Concerns over whether the assessment was truly an independent review surfaced almost immediately. The Guardian reported at the time that much of the assessment was not actually written by independent scientists but rather “by the European Glyphosate Task Force, a consortium of agrochemical firms.”3

BfR responded, stating that there was too much evidence for them to report on the original studies in-depth so instead they commented on descriptions provided by the industry. “BfR regulators commented, in italics, on the industry text, but this falls well short of what most people would understand as an independent review,” The Guardian noted in 2015.4

German Toxicologist Also Criticized BfR’s Glyphosate Assessment

Peter Clausing, Ph.D., a former industry toxicologist who is now in the employ of Pesticide Action Network Germany, also criticized the BfR assessment and claimed the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) committed scientific fraud when they contradicted the IARC, concluding that glyphosate is not carcinogenic.

According to Clausing, BfR and EFSA included five mouse studies in their evaluation — all of which actually showed that male mice experienced a statistically significant increase in one or more types of cancer.

Clausing also noted that these findings alone exceed the EU’s criterion for the classification of glyphosate as a 1B carcinogen (substances presumed to have carcinogenic potential for humans), which would result in an automatic ban. He also showed that Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) guidelines for industry testing of chemicals had been violated. GM Watch wrote:5

“Interestingly, the IARC reviewed the available animal studies and concluded, like Clausing, that they showed that glyphosate caused an increase in cancer. Why the difference of opinion between IARC and the German authorities?

The answer is given in BfR’s own report on IARC’s findings. Unlike the German authorities, IARC applied the superior statistical analysis — the trend test. Also unlike the German authorities, IARC did not violate OECD guidelines by claiming that a second type of statistical analysis canceled out the findings of the first.”

EU Glyphosate Risk Assessment Report Plagiarized From Industry Paper

The most condemning evidence of all comes from Stefan Weber and Helmut Burtscher of the German environmental nongovernmental organization (NGO) Global 2000, who again brought up the curious fact that the EU gave glyphosate a clean bill of health, in contrast to the IARC finding. They explained:6

“The question arose as to whether relevant parts of the risk assessment of glyphosate were not actually written by scientists working for Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), but by the European Glyphosate Task Force (GTF) — the coalition of pesticide companies submitting the application.

This suspicion could not be satisfactorily cleared up during the hearings of the European Parliament’s Special Committee on the Union’s authorization procedure for pesticides (PEST). Therefore in response, a group of parliamentarians with different political affiliations commissioned the present study.”

The researchers used computer software to compare the BfR assessment with one submitted to the EU by Monsanto and other GTF members. Extensive plagiarism was uncovered, particularly in the chapters assessing published studies on health risks related to glyphosate.

In those chapters, 50.1 percent of the content was plagiarized, including “whole paragraphs and entire pages of running text describing the design and outcome of the studies and assessing their relevance and reliability.”

Even evaluations of published studies in the BfR report “were copy pasted from the application for approval and presented as the assessments of the authorities,” Weber and Burtscher wrote. Further, in what they described as “one of their most remarkable findings,” even the BfR’s explanation of how they assessed the published literature was plagiarized from GTF:7

“The BfR had thus copied Monsanto’s explanation of Monsanto’s approach in evaluating the published literature, yet had presented it as the approach of the authority. This is a striking example of deception regarding true authorship.”

Plagiarism Influenced EU’s Conclusions on Glyphosate Safety

The ultimate question, then, is whether BfR’s plagiarism influenced their assessment of glyphosate’s safety, including its potential to cause cancer, to which Weber and Burtscher said the answer is a “clear yes,” adding:8

“The IARC based its cancer classification on ‘limited evidence in humans,’ ‘sufficient evidence in animals’ and ‘strong evidence for genotoxicity’ as possible molecular mechanisms for the carcinogenicity of glyphosate. The GTF, however, classified published studies that link glyphosate to genotoxicity and an increased risk of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in humans as ‘not reliable.'”

One study in question was conducted by Gilles-Eric Séralini. The lifetime feeding study, published in 2012, revealed numerous shocking problems in rats fed GMO corn, including massive tumors and early death. Rats given glyphosate in their drinking water also developed tumors.

The following year, the publisher retracted the study saying it “did not meet scientific standards,” even though a long and careful investigation found no errors or misrepresentation of data. Follow-up research by Séralini showed that long-term exposure to even ultralow amounts of Roundup may cause tumors, along with liver and kidney damage in rats.

In this study, the dose used was “environmentally relevant in terms of human, domesticated animals and wildlife levels of exposure,” prompting the authors to suggest Roundup may have significant health implications.9,10 However, because the original study was “retracted,” it was excluded from the EU glyphosate assessment. GTF even said it was “not considered reliable anymore.”

In 2017, Hans Muilerman of consumer group Pesticide Action Network (PAN) sent letters to EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis and EFSA, stating that the study’s exclusion amounts to “a very serious case of manipulation” of science.11

In addition to influencing the ultimate EU recommendation in favor of the safety of glyphosate, Weber and Burtscher concluded that BfR also acted deceptively in their actions: “In our opinion, the question of whether the BfR intended to deceive the reader must be answered with a clear ‘yes.’ Clear indications of deception were found.”12

Glyphosate Residues Widespread in Food Supply

Definitively answering the question of whether glyphosate causes cancer is an urgent one, as people are being exposed to it daily. As the most widely used pesticide in the world,13 you can guess that it’s showing up virtually everywhere, and research has detected residues in everything from cereal and granola bars14 to wine and beer.15

While the chemical is widely sprayed on genetically engineered Roundup Ready crops (to the tune of more than 250 million pounds annually in the U.S. alone16), preharvest spraying of glyphosate,17 known as desiccation, is another problem.

About two weeks prior to harvest of grain crops like wheat, oats and barley, glyphosate is sprayed onto the crop, which accelerates the drying process, allowing for earlier harvest. It’s believed that spraying the chemical on crops so close to harvest results in much higher residues and is a major contributing factor to the rising levels of glyphosate in Americans.18

Four Seed Companies Control Majority of Global Market

Chemical company Bayer, which now owns Monsanto, is the largest of four companies that now control more than 60 percent of the global seed market.19 Corteva (a company created out of the recent merger of Dow and DuPont), Chem-China (which recently acquired Syngenta) and BASF make up the other three.

Philip Howard of Michigan State University created the seed industry consolidation chart below, which shows the monopoly these four companies have over the food supply.20


Seed Industry Structure


>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

While the industry claims that mergers pave the way for greater innovation and growth, the reality is fewer choices and higher prices for farmers. As just one example, the price of a bag of seed corn has risen from $80 to $300 over the past decade alone — a price hike attributed to the consolidation of seed companies and reduced competition.21

Bayer even announced plans to cut about 10 percent of its global workforce after acquiring Monsanto, after making promises of job growth. Further, Civil Eats reported:22

These companies also aggressively protect their IP rights, which means less innovation and more restrictions on how seed is used and exchanged, including for seed saving and research purposes.

These restrictions affect conventional and organic agriculture alike by making a large pool of plant genetics inaccessible to public researchers, farmers and independent breeders, which in turn limits the diversity of seed in our landscapes and marketplace and weakens our food security.

A number of studies suggest increased market domination removes companies’ incentive to innovate.”

Moving Toward a Safer, Sustainable Food Supply

With the cozy ties between government regulators and pesticide companies becoming more brazen every day, and the continued consolidation of these companies leading to a virtual takeover of the food supply, what can you do to opt out of the madness?

At the very basic level, refuse to eat foods that are grown using toxic chemicals like glyphosate. Support local farmers growing grass fed and organic foods, and avoid GE foods as well as those desiccated with glyphosate.

As for whether glyphosate causes cancer, in August 2018 a jury ruled in favor of plaintiff Dewayne Johnson in a truly historic case against Monsanto. Johnson — the first of over 8,000 cases pending against the chemical company — claimed Monsanto’s Roundup caused his Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and the court agreed.

Monsanto was ordered to pay $289 million in damages to Johnson, and they vowed to appeal, but the appeal was rejected by the judge in October 2018.23 Then, Johnson accepted a $78 million settlement24 after the same judge lowered the punitive damages the jury had awarded him. Although it was considerably less than the original judgment, it was still a major blow to the industry.

As for BfR, they’ve posted a rebuttal to the plagiarism accusations, assuring their assessment is quality-assured and independent, and stating that industry reports are “routinely” part of such assessments.25

The fact remains, though, that it’s unknown what health risks will eventually be revealed from eating food contaminated with low levels of glyphosate. Eating organic as much as possible and investing in a good water filtration system for your home are among the best ways to lower your exposure to glyphosate and other pesticides, as well as not using such chemicals around your home or garden.

If you’re concerned about glyphosate residues in your food, you can help to prompt change by reaching out to the companies that make your food. Let them know that you prefer foods without glyphosate residues — and are prepared to switch brands if necessary to find them.

In addition to voicing your opinion to food companies, contact the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and encourage them to restrict preharvest applications of glyphosate in order to reduce the amount of this toxic chemical entering the food supply.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has petitioned the EPA to reduce the amount of glyphosate residues allowed in oats as well as prohibit the use of glyphosate as a preharvest desiccant,26 but as it stands, neither the EPA nor the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) monitors for glyphosate levels on most food crops, even as studies suggest Americans’ exposure levels are increasing.

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Sweet! Here are 7 reasons to eat sweet potatoes

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(Natural News) Sweet potatoes may not be as popular as regular potatoes, which is too bad — since they’re packed with vitamins and minerals. One cup of sweet potatoes can provide more than 100 percent of the daily value of vitamin A. It’s also rich in vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese. Both purple and orange varieties contain antioxidants that can protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.

Eating sweet potatoes is beneficial for your health

Sweet potatoes are brimming with micronutrients and antioxidants —  making them useful to your health. Below is a list of reasons why you should incorporate sweet potatoes into your diet.

They improve brain function

The purple variety of sweet potato contains anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have revealed that anthocyanins are effective at improving cognitive function. Moreover, the results suggest that purple yams can help protect against memory loss. Antioxidants from the purple variety safeguard the brain against damage from free radicals and inflammation.

They aid digestion

Sweet potatoes are rich in dietary fiber. This macronutrient prevents constipation, diarrhea, and bloating by adding bulk and drawing water to the stool. In addition, fiber keeps a healthy balance in the gut by promoting the growth of good bacteria.

They slow down aging

The beta-carotene in orange sweet potatoes can help reduce damage caused by prolonged sun exposure. This is especially true for people diagnosed with erythropoietic protoporphyria and other photosensitive diseases. Sweet potatoes also contain antioxidants that protect against free radical damage. Free radicals are not only linked to diseases but also premature aging.

They boost the immune system

Orange and purple sweet potatoes are loaded with a good number of antioxidants that help protect the body from harmful molecules that cause inflammation and damage DNA. This, in turn, protects the body from chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.

They can prevent cancer

Eating sweet potatoes can help protect against various types of cancers. The compounds in sweet potatoes restrict the development of cancer cells. Test tube studies have shown that anthocyanins can prevent cancers in the bladder, breast, colon, and stomach.

They lower blood sugar

Despite its relatively high glycemic index, studies have shown that the regular intake of sweet potatoes can help lower blood sugar, thanks to the presence of dietary fiber. While fiber falls under carbohydrates, it is digested differently, compared to starchy and sugary forms of carbohydrates. Interestingly, insulin doesn’t process fiber (unlike other types which get turned into glucose), and it only passes through the digestive tract.

They promote healthy vision

Orange sweet potatoes are rich in a compound called beta-carotene, an antioxidant which transforms into vitamin A in the body. Adequate intake of vitamin A promotes eye health. Conversely, deficiencies in vitamin A have been linked to a particular type of blindness called xerophthalmia.

Sweet potatoes are easy to incorporate into your everyday meals. They are best prepared boiled but can also be baked, roasted, or steamed — they can even replace other carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes, and toast. (Related: Understanding the phytochemical and nutrient content of sweet potato flours from Vietnam.)

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Frostbite: What it is and how to identify, treat it

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Manitoba’s temperature has plummeted to its coldest level this season, triggering warnings about the extreme risk of frostbite.

Oh, we know it’s cold. We can feel Jack Frost nipping at our noses. But what about when he gnaws a little harder — what exactly does “frostbite” mean?

People tend to underestimate the potential for severe injuries in the cold, says the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. We laugh off the sting of the deep freeze, rub our hands back from the brink of numbness and wear our survival proudly like a badge.

That’s because, in most cases, frostbite can be treated fairly easily, with no long-term effects.

But it can also lead to serious injury, including permanent numbness or tingling, joint stiffness, or muscle weakness. In extreme cases, it can lead to amputation.

Bitter cold can cause frostbite in just minutes. Here’s how to recognize the warning signs and treat them. 0:59

Here’s a guide to identifying the first signs, how to treat them, and when to seek medical help.

What is frostbite and frostnip?

Frostbite is defined as bodily injury caused by freezing that results in loss of feeling and colour in affected areas. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes — those areas most often exposed to the air.

Cooling of the body causes a narrowing of the blood vessels, slowing blood flow. In temperatures below –4 C, ice crystals can form in the skin and the tissue just below it.

Frostnip most commonly affects the hands and feet. It initially causes cold, burning pain, with the area affected becoming blanched. It is easy to treat and with rewarming, the area becomes reddened.

Frostbite is the acute version of frostnip, when the soft tissue actually freezes. The risk is particularly dangerous on days with a high wind chill factor. If not quickly and properly treated, it can lead to the loss of tissues or even limbs. 

Signs of frostbite

Health officials call them the four P’s:

  • Pink: Skin appears reddish in colour, and this is usually the first sign.
  • Pain: The cold becomes painful on skin.
  • Patches: White, waxy-feeling patches show when skin is dying.
  • Prickles: Affected areas feel numb or have reduced sensation.

Symptoms can also include:

  • Reduced body temperature.
  • Swelling.
  • Blisters.
  • Areas that are initially cold, hard to the touch.

Take quick action

If you do get frostbite, it is important to take quick action.

  • Most cases of frostbite can be treated by heating the exposed area in warm (not hot) water.
  • Immersion in warm water should continue for 20-30 minutes until the exposed area starts to turn pink, indicating the return of blood circulation.
  • Use a warm, wet washcloth on frostbitten nose or earlobes.
  • If you don’t have access to warm water, underarms are a good place to warm frostbitten fingers. For feet, put them against a warm person’s skin.
  • Drink hot fluids such as hot chocolate, coffee or tea when warming.
  • Rest affected limbs and avoid irritation to the skin.
  • E​levate the affected limb once it is rewarmed.

Rewarming can take up to an hour and can be painful, especially near the end of the process as circulation returns. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help with the discomfort.

Do not …

There are a number of things you should avoid:

  • Do not warm the area with dry heat, such as a heating pad, heat lamp or electric heater, because frostbitten skin is easily burned.
  • Do not rub or massage affected areas. This can cause more damage.
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Do not walk on your feet or toes if they are frozen.
  • Do not break blisters.

Seek immediate medical attention

While you can treat frostbite yourself if the symptoms are minor — the skin is red, there is tingling — you should seek immediate medical attention at an emergency department if:

  • The exposed skin is blackened.
  • You see white-coloured or grey-coloured patches.
  • There is severe pain or the area is completely numb.
  • The skin feels unusually firm and is not sensitive to touch after one hour of rewarming.
  • There are large areas of blistering.
  • There is a bluish discolouration that does not resolve with rewarming.

Be prepared

The best way to avoid frostbite is to be prepared for the weather in the first place.

Wear several loose layers of clothing rather than a single, thick layer to provide good insulation and keep moisture away from your skin.

The outer garment should breathe but be waterproof and windproof, with an inner thermal layer. Retain body heat with a hat and scarf. Mittens are warmer than gloves because they keep the fingers together.

Be sure your clothing protects your head, ears, nose, hands and feet, especially for children.

Wind chill and frostbite rates

Wind chill: 0 to –9.
Frostbite risk: Low.

Wind chill: –28 to –39.
Frostbite risk: Moderate.

Exposed skin can freeze in 10-30 minutes

Wind chill: –40 to –47.
Frostbite risk: High.

Exposed skin can freeze in five to 10 minutes.

Wind chill: –48 to –54.
Frostbite risk: Very High.

Exposed skin can freeze in two to five minutes.

Wind chill: –55 and lower.
Frostbite risk: Extremely High.

Exposed skin can freeze in less than two minutes.
 

NOTE: In sustained winds over 50 km/h, frostbite can occur faster than indicated.

Source: Environment Canada

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Awkward Flu Jabs Attempted at Golden Globes

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In what can only be described as a new level of propaganda, hosts Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh featured a flu shot stunt during the 76th Golden Globe Awards ceremony. They told the audience to roll up their sleeves, as they would all be getting flu shots, while people in white coats stormed down the aisles, syringes in hand.

Most of the audience looked thoroughly uneasy at the prospect of having a stranger stick them with a needle in the middle of an awards show. But perhaps the worst part of the scene was when Samberg added that anti-vaxxers could put a napkin over their head if they wanted to be skipped, basically suggesting that anyone opposed to a flu shot deserved to be branded with a proverbial scarlet letter.

The flu shots, for the record, were reportedly fake,1 nothing more than a bizarre gag that left many people stunned by the Globe’s poor taste in turning a serious medical choice into a publicity gimmick.

Flu Shot Stunt Reeks of Desperation

Whoever came up with the idea to turn the Golden Globes into a platform for a public health message probably thought it was ingenious, but the stunt only serves as a seemingly desperate attempt to make flu shots relevant and in vogue. During the 2017 to 2018 flu season, only 37 percent of U.S. adults received a flu shot, a 6 percent drop from the prior season.2

“To improve flu vaccination coverage for the 2018-19 flu season, health care providers are encouraged to strongly recommend and offer flu vaccination to all of their patients,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wrote. “People not visiting a provider during the flu season have many convenient places they can go for a flu vaccination.”3

Yet, perhaps the decline in people choosing to get vaccinated has nothing to do with convenience and everything to do with their dismal rates of efficacy. In the decade between 2005 and 2015, the influenza vaccine was less than 50 percent effective more than half of the time.4

The 2017/2018 flu vaccine was a perfect example of this trend. The overall adjusted vaccine effectiveness against influenza A and B virus infection was just 36 percent.5

Health officials blamed the flu season’s severity on the dip in vaccination rates, but as Dr. Paul Auwaerter, clinical director of the division of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told USA Today, “[I]t is also true that the vaccine was not as well matched against the strains that circulated.”6

But bringing flu shots to the Golden Globes, and calling out “anti-vaxxers,” is nothing more than “medical care, by shame,” noted Dr. Don Harte, a chiropractic activist in California. “But it was entertaining, in a very weird way, including the shock and disgust of some of the intended victims, notably [Willem Dafoe],” he said, adding:7

“This Hollywood publicity stunt for the flu vaccine is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen from celebrities. But it does go with the flu shot itself, which is, perhaps, the stupidest of all the vaccines available.”

Did 80,000 People Really Die From the Flu Last Year?

The CDC reported that 79,400 people died from influenza during the 2017/2018 season, which they said “serves as a reminder of how severe seasonal influenza can be.”8 It’s important to remember, however, that the 80,000 deaths figure being widely reported in the media is not actually all “flu deaths.”

According to the CDC, “We look at death certificates that have pneumonia or influenza causes (P&I), other respiratory and circulatory causes (R&C), or other nonrespiratory, noncirculatory causes of death, because deaths related to flu may not have influenza listed as a cause of death.”9

As for why the CDC doesn’t base flu mortality estimates only on death certificates that list influenza, they noted, “Seasonal influenza may lead to death from other causes, such as pneumonia, congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease … Additionally, some deaths — particularly among the elderly — are associated with secondary complications of seasonal influenza (including bacterial pneumonias).”10

In other words, “flu deaths” are not just deaths directly caused by the influenza virus, but also secondary infections such as pneumonia and other respiratory diseases, as well as sepsis.11

According to the CDC, most of the deaths occurred among those aged 65 years and over, a population that may already have preexisting conditions that makes them more susceptible to infectious diseases. As Harte said of annual flu deaths, “[M]ost if not all, I would assume, are of people who are already in very bad shape.12

CDC Claims Flu Vaccine Reduces Flu Deaths in the Elderly — But Does It?

Since people aged 65 and over are those most at risk from flu complications and death, the CDC has been vocal in their claims that the flu shot significantly reduces flu-related deaths among this population. The research, however, says otherwise.

Research published in 2005 found no correlation between increased vaccination rates among the elderly and reduced mortality. According to the authors, “Because fewer than 10 percent of all winter deaths were attributable to influenza in any season, we conclude that observational studies substantially overestimate vaccination benefit.”13

A 2006 study also showed that even though seniors vaccinated against influenza had a 44 percent reduced risk of dying during flu season than unvaccinated seniors, those who were vaccinated were also 61 percent less like to die before the flu season ever started.14

This finding has since been attributed to a “healthy user effect,” which suggests that older people who get vaccinated against influenza are already healthier and, therefore, less likely to die anyway, whereas those who do not get the shot have suffered a decline in health in recent months.

Journalist Jeremy Hammond summed up the CDC’s continued spreading of misinformation regarding the flu vaccine’s effectiveness in the elderly, as they continue to claim it’s the best way to prevent the flu:15

[T]here is no good scientific evidence to support the CDC’s claim that the influenza vaccine reduces hospitalizations or deaths among the elderly.

The types of studies the CDC has relied on to support this claim have been thoroughly discredited due to their systemic ‘healthy user’ selection bias, and the mortality rate has observably increased along with the increase in vaccine uptake — which the CDC has encouraged with its unevidenced claims about the vaccine’s benefits, downplaying of its risks, and a marketing strategy of trying to frighten people into getting the flu shot for themselves and their family.”

Death of Vaccinated Child Blamed on Not Getting Second Dose

In January 2019, the state of Colorado reported the first child flu death of the 2018/2019 flu season — a child who had received influenza vaccination. But instead of highlighting the vaccine’s failure and clear limitations, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment blamed the death on the child being only “partially vaccinated.”

“It’s an unfortunate but important reminder of the importance of two doses of influenza vaccine for young children who are receiving influenza vaccine for the first time,” Dr. Rachel Herlihy, who is the state communicable disease epidemiologist, said in a news release.16 For those who aren’t aware, the CDC notes that one dose of flu shot may not be enough to protect against the flu. Instead, they state:17

“Children 6 months through 8 years getting vaccinated for the first time, and those who have only previously gotten one dose of vaccine, should get two doses of vaccine this season …

The first dose ‘primes’ the immune system; the second dose provides immune protection. Children who only get one dose but need two doses can have reduced or no protection from a single dose of flu vaccine.”

Not only may the flu vaccine fail to provide protection against the flu, but many people are not aware that other types of viruses are responsible for about 80 percent of all respiratory infections during any given flu season.18 The flu vaccine does not protect against or prevent any of these other types of respiratory infections causing influenza-like illness (ILI) symptoms.

The chance of contracting actual type A or B influenza, caused by one of the three or four influenza virus strains included in the vaccine, is much lower compared to getting sick with another type of viral or bacterial infection during the flu season.

Does Flu Vaccine Increase the Risk of Influenza Infection, Contribute to Vaccine Shedding?

There are serious adverse effects that can come along with annual flu vaccination, including potentially lifelong side effects such as Guillain Barré syndrome and chronic shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA). They may also increase your risk of contracting more serious flu infections, as research suggests those who have been vaccinated annually may be less protected than those with no prior flu vaccination history.19

Research presented at the 105th International Conference of the American Thoracic Society in San Diego also revealed that children who get seasonal flu shots are more at risk of hospitalization than children who do not. Children who had received the flu vaccine had three times the risk of hospitalization as children who had not. Among children with asthma, the risk was even higher.20

There’s also the potential for vaccine shedding, which has taken on renewed importance with the reintroduction of the live virus vaccine FluMist during the 2018/2019 season. While the CDC states that the live flu virus in FluMist is too weak to actually give recipients the flu, research has raised some serious doubts that this is the case.

One recent study revealed not only that influenza virus may be spread via simple breathing (i.e., no sneezing or coughing required) but also that repeated vaccination increases the amount of virus released into the air.21

MedImmune, the company that developed FluMist, is aware that the vaccine sheds vaccine-strain virus. In its prescribing information, they describe a study on the transmission of vaccine-strain viruses from vaccinated children to nonvaccinated children in a day care setting.

In 80 percent of the FluMist recipients, at least one vaccine-strain virus was isolated anywhere from one to 21 days following vaccination. They further noted, “One placebo subject had mild symptomatic Type B virus infection confirmed as a transmitted vaccine virus by a FluMist recipient in the same playgroup.”22

Are There Other Ways to Stay Healthy During Flu Season?

Contrary to the CDC’s and Golden Globe’s claims that flu vaccinations are a great way to prevent flu, other methods exist to help you stay healthy during the flu season and all year, and they’re far safer than annual flu vaccination. Vitamin D testing and optimization have been shown to cut your risk of respiratory infections, including colds and flu, in half if you are vitamin D deficient, for instance.23,24

In my view, optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the absolute best respiratory illness prevention and optimal health strategies available. Influenza has also been treated with high-dose vitamin C,25 and taking zinc lozenges at the first sign of respiratory illness can also be helpful.

Following other basic tenets of health, like eating right, getting sound sleep, exercising and addressing stress are also important, as is regularly washing your hands.

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