“Flu Vaccine–Side Effects and Tips to Prevent Getting a bad dose of Flu”–by Morwenna Given Medical Herbalist

January 27, 2014 in Uncategorized |

Here is an alternative and well thought out opinion on the effects and risks of the annual flu vaccine.  It is from Morwenna Given a medical herbalist, who has treated our son (rather successfully based on the small sample of evidence) for a prolonged bout of chronic illness following a nasty mono/Epstein Barr infection.     


FLU VACCINE – SIDE EFFECTS AND TIPS TO PREVENT GETTING A BAD DOSE OF FLU – Blog Article by Morwenna Given BA MA (Oxon) BSC OHA BHG AHG RH Medical Herbalist Downtown Toronto

Last week regular readers will know that I devoted the topic of the column to the influenza / flu vaccine and the waste of public money with evidence showing it does not prevent the flu and there is no scientific evidence to show that there is any benefit to the majority of Canadians.

In this week’s article, I am going to write about side effects from the flu vaccine. All synthetic drugs have side effects to a greater or lesser degree. That in itself is not surprising, but we do need to be concerned about side effects in order to make rational decisions as to whether we choose to take it or not.

Amongst the expected side effects are redness and swelling at the side of the injection – normal for most injections as you are introducing a pathogen into the body and the body is doing its normal effective response to a pathogen. However other side effects include: Nervous system disorders, sore throats, coughs, headaches, arthralgia, according to the Glaxo Smith Kline website (www.gsk.ca/english 29 April 2013) and an admission there is no data concerning pregnancy and lactating women for safety and efficacy. The monograph on the disc inhaler actually does say it is not recommended for treatment and prophylaxis for those with chronic underlying airway diseases such as asthma and there is no demonstration of efficacy and safety for patients with chronic diseases and who are immunocompromised.

What is not stated is that in Australia in 2009, 1 in every 110 children had convulsions from the HINI vaccinations. Independent studies in Europe showed that GSK’s Pandremix vaccination correlated with a huge rise in narcolepsy in children. The conclusion was that the vaccine triggered an immune reaction in the sleep mechanisms in the brain of children. The only safety study found in 2004/5 by Jefferson and others as published in the Lancet 2005 showed only 35 children, 12 – 28 months of age in 1976 had been enrolled; all others had enrolled children over 3 yrs of age. There is very limited evidence to give the vaccine safely to children under 3 years; indeed for everybody given that the flu viral strains change each year, as we are always looking at the past performance of viruses and drugs. Studies/trials need to be over 5 years duration to come to a sound conclusion. Children from 6mths- 3yrs. showed an increase of 37% in fever related side effects. Some of the marketing for flu vaccines suggest that it would reduce asthmatic attacks from flu brought on by flu infection amongst children. No evidence supports this statement and evidence shows it does not prevent influenza related hospitalisations in children.

In my practice, I always advise pregnant women to avoid taking anything which is not regular food and fluid as nearly everything has the potential to cross the fetal placenta. This includes all vaccines. I could find no documented trials or studies to show how pregnant women could be affected negatively but equally none where it showed a benefit, however as Dr. Fiona Goodlee Editor in Chief of the BMJ (British Medical Journal) stated “It is only when slightly obsessive and very scientifically determined people, like the Cochrane Collaboration and others, actually go in and look under the bonnet, and begin to see that we are getting a very partial, incomplete, misleading picture of the effectiveness of many drugs” and I have not been under the bonnet of this particular evidence. GSK does admit the vaccine comes through into mother’s milk for its disk inhaler product. We do have data from CDC’s vaccine injury data in the US showing a 4,250% increase in fetal deaths after the flu shot. One of the European pieces of research in its use for medical professionals stated: “Female gender and existence of underlying conditions were independent risk factors to develop at least one adverse event following immunization to the pandemic vaccine.”

My advice is simple – don’t take it. I suspect much of the data is understated due to the flawed mechanism and design of the trials including the absence of true placebo.

There is documented evidence for an excess of risk associated with acquiring Guillian- Barre syndrome. GB syndrome is a disease which attacks the autonomic nervous system leading to paralysis of muscles and is life threatening. It commonly starts with an infection.

I came across an interesting report on CTV news “”It appears to be that for people who got seasonal influenza vaccine last year, they were at greater risk of getting H1N1 disease this year,” Dr. Donald Low, an infectious diseases expert at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital,Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/unpublished-study-raises-questions-about-flu-shot-1.437017#ixzz2qt6AHHcU. I have not come across any data rebutting this claim but there is in vitro data supporting it.

The contents of any vaccine need to be evaluated before one consents to taking it. In the case of the Flu jab many of them contain the following: Ethyl mercury, aluminium, ammonium sulfate, formaldehyde, lactose, monosodium glutamate, eggs, phenol, polysorbate 80 a carcinogen in animals. Many people in Canada are aware of the dangers of mercury and aluminium and would never knowingly consume them and casual studies indicate in children they cause death in neuronal and fetal cells. Autistic disorders are known to be rapidly rising. Alzheimer’s is rising rapidly and those who had had five consecutive flu shots between 1970-80 were 10 times higher than those who had had 1-2 jabs. Cause and effect??. Other Canadians may not be aware of the toxicity of formaldehyde etc. but MSG, milk and eggs are known by nearly everybody to directly cause allergens in susceptible individuals. Eggs themselves pose a huge issue as they are susceptible to a wide range of viruses and prions. Novartis and other makers of the flu vaccines are aware of the problem of using eggs and have turned to new genetic cell lines. But there is no know research in the public domain I could find that evaluates the risk short or long term on the body’s immune system on this genetically modified products.


Wash your hands regularly! See mother knew best!! And try to develop a healthy lifestyle. So what is a healthy lifestyle? Minimise stress where you can. Exercise regularly and sufficiently for your age and circumstances and in most cases a 45 mins of brisk walking is a cheap optimal method. Eat modestly three meals a day with plenty of fruit and vegetables and where ever possible eliminate processed foods from your diet. Drink 2-3 litres of water and/or herbal tea a day. If you prefer a vegetarian or vegan diet seek advice as that means you are at risk of not having sufficient key minerals and micro nutrients which can only be derived from meat, fish, poultry, and eggs. During the winter try to consume a citrus fruit once a day, grapefruit, orange, mandarin, lemon or lime in its whole entirety. A high consumption of onions and garlic traditionally have been shown to be beneficial and there is evidence to show that flavonoids ( found in most fruits and veggies but especially in blueberries, plums, red peppers, black currants) are equally as good at preventing flu as the vaccine. When we come to talk about anti- viral plants there are so many it would be impossible to cover them all in a simple article. Yew, Lemon Balm, Pau DArco, Cat’s Claw, St John’s Wort, Elderberry, Licorice as well as mushrooms like Reishi are extremely effective and evidenced based but only when used in a medicinal dose in the correct format i.e. not as purchased over the counter as either medium may be inappropriate or the dose to achieve a medicinal result. Do not self-treat – always consult a licensed professional in herbal medicine. Avoid any supplements bought over the counter as many of them contain sugar and are poorly absorbed unless otherwise advised by your health practitioner.

Do not be upset if you get a cold or sniffles. Go to bed and keep warm and hydrated. The body learns to keep itself well by exposure to pathogens. The more pathogens the body is exposed to the better it deals with them including viruses, over time. Once you have acquired an infection the immune system will record it forever, so that next time you may not even notice it, provided you lead an appropriate lifestyle and mitigate stress. If your mucus turns yellow or green following a cold or infection then it is appropriate to go to a health practitioner for further help. All my patients receive advice about lifestyle and last year as far as I could evaluate from my records only one patient developed a flu/cold.

Morwenna Given BA MA (Oxon) BSC OHA BHG AHG RH is a practising Medical Herbalist in downtown Toronto treating a wide variety of conditions. More information can be found at her website at www.medicusherbis.com

Selected References:

Complementary and alternative medicine is expected to make greater contribution in controlling the prevalence of influenza. Tao Z, et al. Biosci Trends. 2013 Oct;7(5):253-6. PMID: 24241177

Effectiveness of oseltamivir in adults: a meta-analysis of published and unpublished clinical trials. Ebell MH et al Fam Pract. 2013 Apr;30(2):125-33. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cms059. Epub 2012 Sep 20. Review. PMID: 22997224

J Infect Chemother. 2012 Aug;18(4):534-43. doi: 10.1007/s10156-012-0378-7. Epub 2012 Feb 16.A randomized, controlled trial comparing traditional herbal medicine and neuraminidase inhibitors in the treatment of seasonal influenza.Nabeshima S, et al.

J Fam Pract. 2013 Sep;62(9):494-8.Influenza: Update for the 2013-2014 season.Campos-Outcalt D. (US data)

Vaccine. 2013 Nov 4;31(46):5359-65. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2013.09.005. Epub 2013 Sep 19.The risk of fever following one dose of trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine in children aged ≥6 months to <36 months: a comparison of published and unpublished studies. Kaczmarek MC, et al.

UK government is to reconsider claims of children who developed narcolepsy after vaccination. Dyer C.BMJ. 2013 Sep 17;347:f5645. doi: 10.1136/bmj.f5645. PMID: 24046270

Increased risk of narcolepsy in children and adults after pandemic H1N1 vaccination in France.Dauvilliers Y,et al; Narcoflu-VF study group.Brain. 2013 Aug;136(Pt 8):2486-96. doi: 10.1093/brain/awt187.PMID: 23884811

Immunogenicity and safety of an inactivated quadrivalent influenza vaccine candidate: a phase III randomized controlled trial in children. (GSK funded trial not independently evaluated. ) Langley JM, et al.A, Jain VK.J Infect Dis. 2013 Aug 15;208(4):544-53. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jit263. Epub 2013 Jul 11.PMID: 23847058Acta Med Port. 2013 Mar-Apr;26(2):107-12. Epub 2013 May 31.

Adverse events with the influenza A(H1N1) vaccine Pandemrix® at healthcare professionals in Portugal.Marques JI, Ribeiro Vaz I, Santos C, Polónia J.BMJ. 2013 Feb 26;346:f794. doi: 10.1136/bmj.f794.

Risk of narcolepsy in children and young people receiving AS03 adjuvanted pandemic A/H1N1 2009 influenza vaccine: retrospective analysis.Miller E, et al.

Association between vaccination and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Tomljenovic L, Shoenfeld Y.Lancet Infect Dis. 2013 Sep;13(9):730-1. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(13)70142-7. Epub 2013 Jun 28. PMID: 23810251

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