Curious about whether you should have the flu shot during pregnancy or not?
As autumn sets in, the days become colder and the nights are suddenly more brisk and chilly.
The media and pharmaceutical companies spring to action, sending out constant reminders that it’s time to line up for your annual flu shot, because the flu season is upon us once again.
Social media lights up like a pinball machine, full of news coverage and politicians’ pleas.
Experts put in their five cents about why you should get the flu shot this year – because flu outbreaks are going to be worse and more devastating than last year, of course.
People start weighing up if they should have the flu vaccine this year.
Perhaps they’ll get vaccinated… perhaps they won’t.
Flu Shot During Pregnancy
If you’re expecting a baby or trying to conceive, there’s the added consideration about having the flu shot during pregnancy.
But before you decide, there are quite a few facts you should know about the flu vaccine.
Facts which your doctor or other vaccinating health professional probably won’t tell you.
But if there’s just one piece of information you take from this article about the flu shot during pregnancy, then let it be this:
The single best thing you can do is to be sure to read the product information insert, located inside the flu vaccine’s packaging.
Ideally read this with your doctor or nurse, so you both get educated, in the likely case they haven’t read it themselves.
Make sure it’s not a generic printed off information sheet, which is what’s usually offered to patients.
You need to see the official vaccine insert. You know, the bit of paper which is normally included in medications you’re prescribed.
It’ll allow you to read about the full side effects and risks, so you can make an informed decision – you don’t need to be a doctor to do this.
If they refuse to give the insert to you or conveniently “don’t have any” (which is what some people have experienced), I would not make a decision until you are given one.
A doctor who does not value informed decision making is not a doctor you should call your own.
The Flu Shot – What You Need To Know
Did you know the flu vaccine is produced many months (even up to a year) before the flu season actually begins?
Scientists select three or four viruses out of the hundreds circulating, to be included in next season’s flu vaccine.
The selected viruses are injected into chick embryos, then the eggs are incubated so the viruses can replicate.
This method of vaccine production allows pharmaceutical companies to be prepared to pump out a vast quantity of vaccines when flu season comes around.
But it also means the flu shot you’re given may already be redundant if the virus has mutated since then, or if it’s not the same virus taking everyone down in the current flu season.
Here are the flu vaccines being used in Australia for 2017 – all quadrivalent vaccines (contains four flu strains).
The adult flu vaccine product information sheet has this warning for pregnant women, which is exactly what you’ll find on most flu vaccine inserts:
“Use in Pregnancy: Category B2
The safety and effectiveness of Afluria Quad™ vaccine has not been established in pregnant women. Therefore, careful consideration should be made regarding the benefits and risks prior to administration of Afluria Quad™ vaccine to women who are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant. No embryofetal development study has been conducted with Afluria Quad™ vaccine.”
Use in Lactation
The safety and effectiveness of Afluria Quad™ vaccine has not been established in nursing mothers.
Afluria Quad™ vaccine has not been evaluated for genotoxic potential.
Afluria Quad™ vaccine has not been evaluated for carcinogenic potential.
And we’re okay with this?
Is The Flu Shot During Pregnancy Safe?
As you just read above, there is rarely any, let alone extensive testing on pregnant women or unborn babies (it’s unethical, right?).
Usually the flu shot (and other vaccines) are just released on the premise that the benefits will far outweigh any unknown risks.
But how many times have we learnt, down the track, that something wasn’t a great idea after all?
Asbestos. Tobacco. Sugar. BPA. Lead in paint and petrol. Ibuprofen, which can increase significantly the risk of stroke and heart attack.
In the video below, evidence is presented for cases of fetal death after flu and TDaP vaccines during pregnancy.
This is not something you will find in mainstream media. Advertiser backlash would be massive and swift, especially from the all mighty and powerful big spending pharmaceutical companies.
If you value informed decisions, it means weighing up evidence from both sides and not just what the headlines say.
Mainstream media is rarely a reliable source – they’re run by journalists and reporters skilled in creating headlines that will get your attention.
The Flu Shot During Pregnancy – How Effective Is It?
On the CDC’s (Centers For Disease Control and Prevention) website, there’s reference to a study which resulted in an efficacy rate as low as 16% in healthy adults.
They state the reason for the poor result was due to fewer viruses circulating that year.
Another year, the efficacy rate was just 23% across all age groups.
Medical News Today explained the poor result, saying:
“The CDC note that around 70% of this season’s H3N2 viruses have been identified as “drift variants” – viruses that possess antigenic or genetic changes that make them different from the virus included in this season’s flu vaccine, meaning the vaccine’s effectiveness is reduced.”
An efficacy rate of 50-60% seems to be seen as a good result for the flu vaccine.
You see, there are hundreds of viruses which cause influenza and influenza-like illnesses, and the viruses tend to mutate.
So, you can imagine there are going to be major issues with efficacy.
A study has shown taking the immune boosting vitamin D3 was more effective at stopping influenza than the actual vaccine. But will your doctor or the media tell you to take that as a preventative?
Not while there’s plenty of money to make in every human being on the planet getting a vaccine.
Should I Have The Flu Shot During Pregnancy?
We spend our entire pregnancies avoiding sushi, soft cheese, cat poop (toxoplasmosis), smoked salmon, medications, pain killers, alcohol… anything toxic.
Experts recommend zero intake of alcohol during pregnancy, as they have no idea of the safe limit for the baby.
Yet apparently it’s perfectly fine to have a chemical concoction injected into your pregnant body which will be highly likely ineffective and not protecting you for the current flu bug.
What about the toxic vaccine additives like aluminium (a well known neurotoxin), when there are zero studies that flu vaccines are safe and effective during pregnancy or when breastfeeding?
Where are the experts saying that we don’t know safe limits, so we shouldn’t use it?
Some countries still use flu vaccines which contain thiomersal (mercury), which is another reason to make sure you read the vaccine insert so you can find out what’s in the vaccine.
From the CDC (Centers For Disease Control and Prevention) website:
“Flu vaccines in multi-dose vials contain thimerosal to safeguard against contamination of the vial.”
No-one wants to test the safety of vaccines on pregnant women and unborn babies. Completely understandable.
But if the flu shot is not safe for newborn babies, and if babies are more at risk of serious complications from medications and toxins while in utero (compared to when being breastfed) this is a big red flag.
Yet, pregnant women are being told to go ahead and get the flu shot during pregnancy.
Without knowing it, pregnant women have become the study, and it’s highly unlikely they have been offered or have read the vaccine insert before having the shot.
Find out what Doctor Mayer Eisenstein (who has since passed away, sadly) has to say about the flu shot during pregnancy.
The Flu Vaccine Results In 60% Of Vaccine Injury Compensations In The US
I strongly encourage you to watch the short video below, where you’ll see two doctors talking about the flu vaccine.
The first, Doctor Paul Offit MD, is a paediatrician who is the director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
He is a well known pro-vaccination figurehead in the US. He also a co-inventor of a rotavirus vaccine, so he is financially vested in vaccines.
In this video, he is responding to a pharmacist who is concerned about one of her patients who had a particularly bad reaction to the flu vaccine.
The second is Professor Alvin Moss MD, FACP, FAAHPM, who is also a nephrologist (kidney specialist).
Professor Moss taught medical ethics at West Virginia University for over 25 years, where he is the director for the Center for Health Ethics & Law.
In the video, he is speaking under oath in a testimony to the West Virginia Senate.
He is particularly concerned about the flu vaccine resulting in significantly more injuries than other vaccines.
Doctor Moss says, “The flu vaccine happens to be the vaccine that causes the most injury in this country… 40% of all vaccinations in this country are flu shots, but 60% of all compensations [in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program] are for the flu vaccine.”
See some example compensation payouts (in the United States) for the flu vaccine here.
It’s truly a must watch, simply to see how vastly different the opinion of two highly educated medical professionals can be.
There are many doctors, nurses and midwives who are questioning the flu shot, and they aren’t quacks.
Some, like Professor Moss, are highly regarded amongst their peers.
Australia Does Not Have A Vaccine Compensation Program
Unlike the US, Australia has no compensation schemes in place to provide financial assistance to vaccine injured individuals.
In fact, those who are injured can be left to fend for themselves, seeking financial support by reaching out on social media.
An Australian mother, Kathy Watson-Jones was paralysed by the flu vaccine.
Her story was told by the Melbourne newspaper, The Herald Sun:
“A FIT and healthy Melbourne mother was left paralysed from head to toe just days after having a routine flu jab. Kathy Watson-Jones was crippled by Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a rare condition where the body’s immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system.
As her nerves shorted out, her condition rapidly declined and she lost control of her limbs, she struggled to breathe and her speech was mumbled. Hospital staff had to tape her eyes shut just so she could sleep.
Working as a clerk in the maternity ward at Northpark Private Hospital, Ms Watson-Jones, 45, said she was encouraged by her employer to have the injection for the first time on April 23.”
Two years later, Kathy still cannot walk. Vinnies have been supporting her by promoting the #walkforkathy event. You can find out more here.
Vaccine reactions are highly underreported around the world – even the CDC admits underreporting occurs.
This may occur due to lack of knowledge about vaccine reactions, lack of desire to report injuries to the reporting system (VAERS), lack of knowledge about the reporting system, and bullying. Yes, bullying is a problem for some health professionals reporting adverse events too. One ER nurse shared his story about being the only health professional to report vaccine reactions in his hospital – you can read about it here.
The Flu – Who Is To Blame?
Catching the flu is simply a case of a virus finding a susceptible host.
Humans don’t have such a thing as a flu vaccine deficiency: we don’t need a vaccine in order to not get the flu.
But many of us have issues with our immune system not functioning as well as it could.
We can blame our lifestyle, nutritional choices, stress and the toxins we put into our bodies daily.
Vitamin deficiencies (for example vitamin D3) can impact immune system function, which can easily happen in winter.
A deficiency can occur during other times of the year too, since we cover up so much in order to avoid skin cancer, and we spend lots of time indoors.
If you’re in the US during the winter, you’ll know it’s the same time of year where many will eat and drink to excess, as well as having snow instead of sunshine.
Big and scary headline making killer bugs is what the media would prefer to have you believe, when its actually more likely to be people hungover from one excuse to over-indulge after the other.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years – poor immune system copping a beating!
It’s a peak period of food, alcohol, stress, lack of sleep and lack of rest, all resulting in poorly functioning immune systems. No surprises there.
Not Everyone Who Is Exposed To The Flu Gets The Flu
Alfred Hero is a professor at the University of Michigan in the College of Engineering, who authored a flu study where participants were infected with the flu virus – and only half of them got sick. He said this via MSNBC regarding the immune systems function with the flu:
“Many people might conclude that if you are exposed to a virus and you don’t get sick, it’s because the virus didn’t stick or it was so weak, it just passed right through your system and your system didn’t notice. That’s not a correct notion … There is an active immune response which accounts for the resistance of certain people getting sick, and that response is just as active as the response we all know and hate, which is being sick with the sniffles, fever, coughing and sneezing. It’s just that the responses are different.”
So, the state of your immune system can dictate how sick you get and what you get.
While you are pregnant, you have lowered immunity. So it’s even more important to protect and boost your immune system naturally. Doing so will give you a far more effective defense system against colds and flus. You can read more in Elderberries Are Effective Against Flu Strains, Research Shows.
What Foods Are Bad For The Immune System?
A healthy immune system is a strong force to be reckoned with.
A body in balance is a body that has resistance to disease.
Here are 13 healthy breakfast ideas which will leave you gloriously full, your tastebuds buzzing and blood sugar levels more horizontal than vertical!
Make sure you bookmark the breakfast link for morning inspiration.
On the other side of the fence, here are things to avoid like the plague.
Sugar causes blood sugar levels to spike… then crash, resulting in your brain chasing more sugar… and the cycle continues.
Not only can they make you crave more sugar, but there are a range of health problems associated with it’s use, including migraines and other serious illnesses.
As someone once said, if you see sugar-free, diet, or similar on the label, think chemical sh*tstorm.
Highly recommend watching That Sugar Film – an educational and entertaining film about sugar, featuring cameos from awesome people like Hugh Jackman, Stephen Fry and others.
Ahhhh, our ‘friend’ caffeine. It’s well known that caffeine can stimulate the adrenal glands and give us a buzz.
Many of us consume caffeine daily, often with the belief we need our coffee or tea to get through the day.. or even to start the day!
However, the adrenal glands eventually become exhausted and don’t respond any more. This can leave you a perfect target for health problems.
Caffeine can result in headaches, anxiety, fatigue, irritability and dehydration.
When you have a cup of coffee, your body is triggered to excrete more water than you took in from that drink.
Just 1-2% dehydration can result in a temporary impairment of physical and mental capabilities.
Your body needs plenty of water to be at it’s best, physically and mentally.
If you’re in this category, I’m sure you well know the risks to your baby’s (and those around you) health and immune system.
If you need help trying to quit, please read our article on smoking while pregnant, which is full of loads of information, without the guilt.
#4: Processed Grains
As best you can, avoid or eliminate foods made from grains, for example bread, rice, biscuits, cake, pizza, cereals etc.
These high glycemic foods make your blood sugar levels rise rapidly like sugar – its like throwing fuel onto a fire.
Many people don’t realise a bowl of pasta can spike blood sugar levels higher than a bit of chocolate.
Ask any diabetic what happens to their blood sugar levels after eating these things.
Again another category you may not be in, or perhaps you’re still having a glass of wine here or there.
We know what alcohol does to brain cells, it kills them, not strengthens them for resistance to illness.
Alcohol is often loaded with sugar too, especially when we mix it with soft drinks or juices.
#6: Medications and Drugs
Only take medications if you truly need them.
You only have to see media stories over the years to see drugs recalled or having undesirable side effects.
Drugs once claimed as a ‘wonder drug’ have resulted in serious complications down the track.
Google the Vioxx controversy, for just one example.
What Can I Do To Boost My Natural Immunity?
Try these things to give your immune system a great boost!
- Quality Prebiotics and Probitoics. Around 70-80% of your immune system is in your gut – so treat it well! By taking probiotics daily, you’re helping to keep the good bacteria topped up in your system. You’re also helping to fight off any nasties.
- Supplement With Vitamin D3. There’s a growing amount of evidence coming to light about the importance of vitamin D3, especially when supplementing for pregnancy. Studies have shown a reduced risk of infections, especially respiratory infections (colds and flu). It also reduced the risk of infections of the vagina and the gums (around 25%), and many other things.
- Cook With A Healthier Oil. Cook with extra virgin coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil.
- Sort Out Your Stress! Stress, anxiety and anger are a huge drain on the immune system – emotions can effect your body more than you realise. Here are 10 ways to deal with stress during pregnancy.
- Exercise. Studies show that if you’re healthier, you recover much quicker from respiratory conditions. This study shows up to 50% reduction in upper respiratory tract illness durations for active people opposed to sedentary. Try and get out for 20-30 minutes of walking for 5-7 times a week.
- Get Good Quality Sleep. Not getting quality sleep? This can impact your immune system, metabolism and emotional health. While you sleep, your immune system goes through important repair and healing processes. Get to bed by 10:30pm and make sure there are no distractions in your room. And be sure to switch off that phone at least two hours before bed!