“The right to determine what shall, or shall not, be done with one’s
own body, and to be free from non-consensual medical treatment, is a
right deeply rooted in our common law. This right underlies the
doctrine of informed consent. With very limited exceptions, every
person’s body is considered inviolate, and, accordingly, every
competent adult has the right to be free from unwanted medical
( Ontario Court of Appeal decision 1991, Fleming v. Reid, Charter Challenge )
September 2012 – Forced flu shots – New BC regulations proposed for introduction this fall would require healthcare workers to submit to annual flu shots or wear masks during the entire flu season. Other areas of the country are also posturing in this vein with the Toronto Board of Health threatening to impose flu vaccine mandates in that region.
The B.C. Civil Liberties Union promises to study the situation “very intently”. “It’s a very draconian step to mandate a medical intervention and in order to justify that, the benefits have to be crystal clear and [of] a very high standard”, said spokesperson Michael Vonn in a recent Vancouver Sun article. Precisely! Numerous reviews of the medical literature show there is a glaring absence of real benefit from yearly flu vaccines, and a majority of studies are of a questionable standard. Since 2005, a number of top quality analyses of the existing literature have concluded that effectiveness of flu vaccines is unproven in the vulnerable elderly and forced vaccination of healthcare workers doesn’t show a clear benefit to their patients. Health officials however, prefer to turn a blind eye to compelling evidence that flu shots are essentially worthless.
No Evidence Flu Vaccines Work
“What troubled us is that [shots] had no effect on laboratory-confirmed influenza,” said Dr. Roger Thomas of the University of Calgary, lead author of the paper published in 2010 by the respected Cochrane Library. The study found that immunizing nursing-home workers does nothing to prevent confirmed influenza cases among the homes’ elderly residents. “What we were looking for is proof that influenza … is decreased. Didn’t find it. We looked for proof that pneumonia is reduced. Didn’t find it. We looked for proof deaths from pneumonia are reduced. Didn’t find it”, said Dr. Thomas to the National Post.
Another Cochrane review led by renowned influenza specialist Dr. Tom Jefferson evaluated the effect of flu vaccines in multiple studies of over 70,000 healthy adults. They found that, “reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin but there is evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions and spurious notoriety of the studies”. The team found that while flu vaccines have a modest effect on time off work, “there is no evidence that they affect complications, such as pneumonia, or transmission”. They found that inactivated vaccines, “caused local harms and an estimated 1.6 additional cases of Guillain-Barré Syndrome per million vaccinations”
Health officials endorsing this draconian policy know full well that the science does NOT support influenza vaccine’s ability to reduce morbidity and mortality in vulnerable populations. Although flu vaccine uptake has increased substantially over the last few decades, it has NOT yielded a parallel reduction in disease burden or death among the elderly.
Sumit Majumdar, a physician and researcher at the University of Alberta, offered this historical perspective in an interview with Atlantic Magazine: “rising rates of vaccination of the elderly over the past two decades have not coincided with a lower overall mortality rate. In 1989, only 15 percent of people over age 65 in the U.S. and Canada were vaccinated against flu. Today, more than 65 percent are immunized. Yet death rates among the elderly during flu season have increased rather than decreased.”(emphasis ours)
A 2007 study by influenza expert Lone Simonsen, PhD offers this. “The remaining evidence base is currently insufficient to indicate the magnitude of the mortality benefit, if any, that elderly people derive from the vaccination programme….We conclude that frailty selection bias and use of non-specific endpoints such as all-cause mortality have led cohort studies to greatly exaggerate vaccine benefits. Recent excess mortality studies were unable to confirm a decline in influenza-related mortality since 1980, even as vaccination coverage increased from 15% to 65%.” (emphasis ours)
In 2004, Lisa Jackson, a physician and senior investigator with the Group Health Research Center, in Seattle, set out to determine whether the mortality difference between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated might be caused by a phenomenon known as the ‘healthy user effect’. Jackson and colleagues analyzed eight years of medical data on more than 72,000 people 65 and older, looking at who got flu shots and who didn’t and who was more likely to die of any cause outside of flu season.
They found that healthy (and health-conscious) people tend to get the vaccine and come down with flu less often, because they are healthier to start with and thus more resistant to illness. Whereas the frail elderly in poorer health were less likely to access vaccine services and more likely to die for any reason. After being turned down by leading medical journals who viewed her analysis as too heretical, Jackson’s research was finally published in 2006 in the International Journal of Epidemiology and has been largely ignored by the medical profession who prefer to cling instead to outdated vaccine dogma.
Health Officials Suppress Basic Facts
Health officials suppress basic facts about seasonal influenza-like-illnesses (ILI) with the result that the public at large is disempowered from making informed vaccine choices. What is never revealed by health officials nor reported in the media, is the fact that most cases (80-90%) of ‘the flu’ are NOT caused by influenza virus types A or B, but are associated with many other viruses known to cause identical symptoms as influenza and against which the vaccine is completely ineffective.
After decades as an influenza expert, Dr. Tom Jefferson sums it up. “Over 200 viruses cause influenza and influenza-like illness which produce the same symptoms (fever, headache, aches and pains, cough and runny noses). Without laboratory tests, doctors cannot tell the two illnesses apart. Both last for days and rarely lead to death or serious illness. At best, vaccines might be effective against only influenza A and B, which represent about 10% of all circulating viruses.” (emphasis ours) When your doctor takes a ‘swab’ from your nose & throat for laboratory analysis to identify the bug you’ve picked up, chances are 85%-90% of the time, the lab will confirm that you do NOT have influenza, but picked up one of the many other viruses associated with “the flu”.
Laboratory analyses compiled by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) each year confirm that 80%-90% of ILI samples tested are associated with other respiratory viruses. On average, Influenza A & B accounts for approximately 10-12% of confirmed respiratory illnesses reported to the PHAC. During infrequent ‘pandemic’ years, influenza A & B may account for up to 20% of ILI. The majority of people stricken with “the flu” have succumbed to other pathogens which cannot be prevented by the flu vaccine.
The Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group corroborates the facts we present in this commentary. Lead researcher, Dr. Tom Jefferson affirms that “Cochrane reviews show that vaccines could only affect at the most (i.e. if they had 100% efficacy) some 7-15% of the annual flu burden, since this is the proportion of people with the flu who truly have influenza. Effectively what we are saying is we aim to control a major health problem, influenza-like-illness (“the flu”), with a series of preventive interventions which can in the best case scenario prevent only 15% of that problem, while making people believe we can deal with the lot.”
Health officials prefer to remain silent about these basic facts. Complicit in the deceit is mainstream media who prefer to parrot flu vaccine propaganda, rather than report truthfully about the highly profitable industry that has evolved around annual flu vaccines involving a lot of money, influence, careers and entire institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and Health Agencies charged with protecting the public health.
‘Evidence Based Medicine’ Doesn’t Apply to Flu Vaccines
The Cochrane Collaboration’s goal is to determine whether conclusions reached by scientific studies are true to “evidence based medicine”, i.e. the notion of delivering care based on information about what works. They found that, “Most studies are of poor methodological quality and the impact of confounders is high.” They describe biases, conflicts of interest (many studies funded by industry), methodological errors and inadequacy of studies which distort results leading to wrong conclusions.
Efforts to evaluate effectiveness of existing influenza vaccine studies by independent reviewers have repeatedly shown there is a “large gap between policy and evidence”. Confusion over ILI (influenza-like-illness) and actual influenza, “leads to a gross overestimation of the impact of influenza, unrealistic expectations of the performance of vaccines, and spurious certainty of our ability to predict viral circulation and impact…[and is] compounded by the lack of accurate and fast surveillance systems that can tell what viruses are circulating in a setting or community within a short time frame, and after the “season” is finished give an accurate picture of what went on to enable better forecasting of future trends.”
In their effort to determine whether vaccinating healthcare workers protects patients, Cochrane researchers found that:
a) There are no accurate data on rates of laboratory-proven influenza in healthcare workers.
b) The three studies in the first publication of this review and the two new studies we identified in this update are all at high risk of bias.
c)The studies found that vaccinating healthcare workers who look after the elderly in long-term care facilities did not show any effect on the specific outcomes of interest, namely laboratory-proven influenza, pneumonia or deaths from pneumonia.
They concluded that, “vaccinating healthcare workers who look after the elderly in long-term care facilities did not show any effect on the specific outcomes of interest, namely laboratory-proven inﬂuenza, pneumonia or deaths from pneumonia.” (emphasis ours)
Not only is there an absence of evidence of effectiveness, evidence now suggests that annual flu vaccination actually increases susceptibility to pandemic type viruses. Despite the huge increase in numbers of people getting annual flu shots over the last few decades, death rates during flu season have increased rather than decreased.
The annual flu vaccine hype is medical dogma at its worst. The fear based propaganda is delivered to every man, woman and child, courtesy of mainstream media. Yet it omits the most basic facts that would enable informed decision making. Instead, it aims to create a culture trance akin to religious fundamentalism to insure mass compliance with policies and mandates ungrounded in solid science or evidence based medicine. It is only a matter of time before the public wakes up to the deception.
Health Risks Associated with Flu Vaccines
Healthcare workers are wary of yearly flu vaccine mandates because they know the vaccine is notorious for being ineffective and for causing debilitating side-effects. Neurological complications that have been described after influenza vaccination, include Guillain-Barre syndrome, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, acute transverse myelitis, optic neuritis, cerebellar ataxia, giant cell arteritis, dermatomyositis, hypoglossal palsy, peripheral facial palsy, vasculitic ulnar mononeuropathy and oculomotor mononeuropathy.
The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) reports that in the U.S., “Influenza vaccine injury claims are now leading all vaccine injury claims submitted to the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) [Canada has no comparable vaccine injury compensation system.]. Many health care workers have expressed concern about mercury preservatives in influenza vaccines they are being forced to get as a condition of employment.”
In this documentary produced by NVIC, we hear the tragic story of a former professor of nursing, a healthy woman who developed Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) after a routine flu shot and subsequently suffered strokes and complete paralysis.
Six recent studies from Canada, “consistently found that vaccination in 2008/09 for seasonal influenza was associated with a 1.4- to 2.5-fold increased risk for hospitalization for H1N1 infection.” The gist of these findings suggests that people who submit to yearly flu vaccines may be weakening their immune system, making them more susceptible to severe disease when exposed to pandemic type strains such as the H1N1virus which circulated during the 2009-2010 flu season.
Meryl Nass MD reports that, “Dutch researchers found that after being vaccinated for swine flu, antibody against swine flu persisted in 72% of health care workers who did not receive annual flu vaccinations, but in only 44% of those who got yearly flu shots.” In her report, she also includes a summary of a recently published meta-analysis from Hong Kong in which vaccinated healthcare workers failed to show any benefit. “No evidence can be found of influenza vaccinations significantly reducing the incidence of influenza, number of ILI [influenza-like illness] episodes, days with ILI symptoms, or amount of sick leave taken among vaccinated HCWs.” Furthermore, concerning the impact of flu vaccines on healthcare workers, she reports, “A Japanese study of HCW receiving swine flu vaccine found that 1.3% had a severe adverse event within 7 days of vaccination, and 23% reported some type of systemic reaction. In Thailand, fatigue and malaise affected 24% of HCW after swine flu vaccination.”
Dr. Sherri Tenpenny offers an excellent synopsis of risks, side effects and flu vaccine ingredients. She writes, “The viruses are submitted to processing with a variety of chemicals before packaging. There are currently 8 different flu shots on the market. Depending on the injection and the manufacturer, a flu shot contains the following substances: Avian proteins/DNA; avian (stealth) viruses, antibiotics, beta-propriolactone, formaldehyde, a detergent (Triton X-100), hydrocortisone, MSG, polysorbate 80, sucrose, synthetic Vitamin E (highly inflammatory), gelatin and eight different chemical buffers. Some flu shots have traces of latex (from the stopper) and the multi-dose flu vials still contain thimerosal (mercury).”
Human Rights Violations
Healthcare workers object to flu vaccine mandates because forced medication violates their basic human rights as articulated in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter guarantees the right to life, liberty and security of the person. This implies the freedom to make health care choices that could profoundly affect one’s health and wellbeing and the right to protect oneself from elements that threaten one’s security, such as forced medication. Furthermore the Charter guarantee of the right to freedom of conscience and religion upholds the individual’s right to practice one’s deeply held convictions and is certainly violated by forced medication policies.
A 1991 decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal, stated the following:
The common law right to bodily integrity and personal autonomy is so entrenched in the traditions of our law as to be ranked as fundamental and deserving of the highest order of protection. This right forms an essential part of an individual’s security of the person and must be included in the liberty interests protected by s. 7. Indeed, in my view, the common law right to determine what shall be done with one’s own body and the constitutional right to security of the person, both of which are founded on the belief in the dignity and autonomy of each individual, can be treated as co-extensive.
- (Fleming v. Reid, a Canadian Charter, section 7 challenge to involuntary mental health treatment)
Governments that impose forced medication policies on its citizens violate Charter guarantees and Informed Consent protections set out in Canadian Medical Law as well as interpretations of Informed Consent in provincial health Acts. In so doing, they negate the most basic tenet of human rights, the right to uphold one’s personal physical integrity as inviolable and not subject to the whims of government policies.
Forced medication violates the most fundamental medical ethics rooted in the common law right to “bodily integrity and personal autonomy” on which the Informed Consent principle is founded. Canadian Medical Law stipulates that forcing a medical procedure on a person against their will violates the Informed Consent principle, is not only fraudulent, but constitutes a “battery” against that person. Ontario’s Health Care Consent Act is a good example of provincial legislation that clarifies and upholds the basic tenets of Informed Consent:
- The consent must be informed
- The consent must be given voluntarily
- The consent must not be obtained through misrepresentation or fraud
An outraged Registered Nurse in British Columbia commented on the option of wearing masks during flu season: “In that way they are apparently giving us an “alternative’. Meanwhile, we see it for what it is, a shaming tactic to manipulate us to receive the vaccine. The act of injecting a vaccine against our will naturally violates consent but I don’t see how a consent obtained under duress and manipulation of a public “outing” is legal either. Imagine if we went around shaming patients into consent for procedures under threat of exposure of “bad” behaviour. Disgusting! (think pink triangles of nazi germany or the scarlett letter of old to identify reprobates who don’t “fit in” the window of tolerance…”
Labour unions in the U.S. oppose influenza vaccine mandates for health professionals. They view such coercion as a human rights violation and fear that, “if health care professionals can be bullied and coerced into vaccination against their will, then what profession is next? Teachers, daycare workers, government employees and public transit employees?” One labour union stated, “it is not consisted with our national values – openness, respect, and informed consent around medical treatments we receive.”
The American Association of Physicians & Surgeons (AAPS), a large group of medical professionals from all specialties objects strenuously to any coercion of healthcare personnel to receive influenza immunization: “It is a fundamental human right not to be subjected to medical interventions without fully informed consent”. (emphasis ours)
The government and policy makers cannot guarantee that accepting a vaccine or any other drug will not cause harm to the recipient. The right to make an informed, voluntary vaccination choice must be upheld as an inalienable human right because it involves medical risk-taking that could result in health injury or death.
Healthcare workers like every other citizen, have the right to accurate information about influenza and its vaccines. As citizens of this country, they have a right to exercise voluntary, informed consent to vaccination and not be subjected to harassment, coercion, intimidation or threats of job suspension for refusing flu shots. Employment contracts should include flexible medical, religious and conscientious belief exemption to vaccine requirements.
From a scientific perspective, flu vaccines have NOT been proven effective in reducing mortality in the most fragile members of our society. From an ethical perspective, forced medication of citizens violates the most fundamental traditions of common law and medical ethics. Such coercive policies have no place in a free society.
Resources & further reading:
- RN for Choice – Challenging mandatory influenza mask or vaccinate policies (Canadian site)
- Will a flu shot keep you healthy? By Alan Cassels
- National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) Response to: Public Comment on Draft Recommendations of The Health Care Personnel Influenza Vaccination Subgroup (HCPIVS) of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC)
- Why Influenza Vaccine Mandates are Ineffective & Unwise Public Policy
- Health Care Professionals for Vaccine Choice: “Forcing a vaccine as a condition of employment is a Human Rights Issue. It is a violation of sovereignty over one’s body and the right to free choice on what to inject into one’s body without fear of being fired for that decision.”
- Physicians Oppose Mandatory Flu Vaccine for Health Workers
- Labor Unions Oppose Mandatory Flu Shots as AMA Cherry-Picks Ethics to Endorse Vaccine Mandates
- Tom Jefferson MD on Influenzae for the Cochrane Collaboration
- Do Nurse Have it Right About Vaccinations?
- Medical Code of Ethics (Canada) & Defining Informed Consent
- Influenza for healthcare workers who work with the elderly
- Influenza Vaccines: Poor Evidence for Effectiveness in the Elderly
- Mass influenza vaccination in Ontario: Is it worthwhile? – Dr. Vittorio Demicheli in the Canadian Medical Association Journal
- Flu Shot Benefits for Elderly Questioned
- Healthy User Effect Cited in Flu Study
- Research suggests flu vaccine doesn’t prevent deaths among the elderly
- Strict Meta-analysis Raises Questions About Flu Vaccine Efficacy
- Lisa A. Jackson et al: Evidence of Bias in Estimates of Influenza Vaccine Efficacy in Seniors
- Mercola; New Proof This Common Medical Treatment is Unnecessary and Ineffective
- California nurses win re refusing masks; can still refuse flu shots (Link to Mercury News article no longer available)
- Report Casts Doubt on Flu Vaccine Effectiveness
- Fighting the Flu Vancouver Sun
- Influenza vaccination for healthcare workers: towards a workable and effective standard