In accordance with the company’s ongoing efforts to censor all truth while promoting only establishment fake news on its platform, social media giant Facebook has decided to launch full-scale war against online free speech about vaccines.
Pandering to the demands by California Democrat Adam Schiff, Mark Zuckerberg and his team recently announced that they are now “exploring additional measures to best combat the problem” of Facebook users discussing and sharing information about how vaccines are harming and killing children via social media.
According to an official statement released by Facebook, the Bay Area-based corporation is planning to implement some changes to the platform in the very near future that may include “reducing or removing this type of content from recommendations, including Groups You Should Join, and demoting it in search results, while also ensuring that higher quality and more authoritative information is available.”
In other words, the only acceptable form of online speech pertaining to vaccines that will be allowed on Facebook is speech that conforms to whatever the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says is “accurate” and “scientific.” Anything else, even if it comes from scientific authorities with a differing viewpoint, will be classified as false by Facebook, and consequently demoted or removed.
Facebook’s censorship tactics are becoming more nefarious by the day. To keep up with the latest news, be sure to check out Censorship.news.
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Facebook is quickly becoming the American government’s ministry of propaganda
Facebook’s rationale, of course, is that it’s simply looking out for the best interests of users who might be “misled” by information shared in Facebook groups suggesting that the MMR vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella, as one example, isn’t nearly as safe as government health authorities claim.
And that’s just it: There are many things that the government is wrong about, but that have been officially sanctioned as “truth” by government propagandists. If Facebook bows down to these government hacks with regards to vaccines, there’s no telling what the company will try to ban from its platform in the future.
Not only did the government deny young Cassandra the right to make her own medical decisions, but it also overrode the will of her parents, who also opposed taking the chemotherapy route. In essence, the government forced Cassandra to undergo chemotherapy at gunpoint, and now it’s trying to do the exact same thing with Facebook.
If little Adam Schiff is successful at forcing Facebook to only allow information on its platform that conforms with the official government position on vaccines, the next step will be to outlaw the sharing of information on the platform about the dangers of chemotherapy, as well as the dangers of fluoride, pesticides, and other deadly chemicals that the government has deemed as “safe and effective.”
Soon there won’t be any free speech at all on Facebook, assuming the social media giant actually obeys this latest prompting by the government to steamroll people’s First Amendment rights online. And where will it end?
“These radical Leftists are domestic terrorists and suicidal cultists … they are the Stasi, the SS, the KGB and the Maoists rolled all into one. They absolutely will not stop until America as founded is completely ripped to shreds and replaced with an authoritarian communist-leaning regime run by the very same tyrants who tried to carry out an illegal political coup against President Trump.”
An update from the CDC recommends broadening the population that can use once-weekly isoniazid plus rifapentine for LMTI.
Sponsoring Organization: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in consultation with members of the Advisory Council for the Elimination of Tuberculosis (ACET)
Target Audience: Healthcare workers who treat latent tuberculosis in adults and children, including immune-deficient patients
Background and Objective
Treatment of latent tuberculosis is critical in preventing reactivation of infection. Several regimens have been used in the past. The CDC has reassessed treatment options periodically to minimize the number of drugs used and treatment duration. In 2011, the CDC recommended a 12-week course of once-weekly isoniazid and rifapentine (3HP). This update reexamines and extends that recommendation. Data are derived from a meta-analysis of 19 articles covering 15 different studies.
The 3HP regimen remains the CDC recommendation for treatment of latent tuberculosis in adults.
The 3HP regimen is now also recommended for adults living with HIV infection, including those with AIDS, and those on antiretroviral regimens that do not interact adversely with rifapentine. Healthcare workers should be well versed in caring for patients with both diseases.
This regimen is now recommended for treatment of children aged 2 to 17 years as well as adults.
Use of the 3HP regimen administered by directly observed therapy (DOT; previously the only recommended method) or self-administered therapy (SAT) in patients ≥2 years of age is acceptable. Although DOT may be more reliable, this is offset by the lower expense and high completion rate of SAT. Use of SAT should be based on assessment of environmental and patient-related factors.
As with all drug regimens, patients should be monitored for drug-related adverse events and for activation of tuberculosis.
The population in which this regimen can be used is greatly expanded (to those with HIV infection not treated with incompatible drugs, to children as young as 2 years, and with broader use of SAT), while maintaining safety.
These new recommendations reinforce the previously observed efficacy of a very short course of a two-drug regimen in treating latent tuberculosis. One can hope that widespread use will markedly decrease the worldwide burden of a disease that causes substantial morbidity and mortality.
The incidence of uterine cancer and deaths from the disease are on the increase, with black women disproportionately affected, warn researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They call for greater awareness of the symptoms to allow early detection and treatment.
Uterine cancer “is one of the few cancers with increasing incidence and mortality in the United States,” the CDC notes. This reflects, in part, increases in the prevalence of overweight and obesity since the 1980s.
It is the fourth most common cancer diagnosed in US women and is the seventh most common cause of death.
The findings were published online December 7 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
S. Jane Henley, MSPH, from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC, and colleagues studied the official incidence and mortality rates for uterine cancer from 1999 to 2015/6.
They found that rates of the disease have been increasing by approximately 0.7% per year, with uterine cancer deaths rising by an average of slightly more than 1.0% per year.
Worryingly, in comparision with other groups, black women were more likely to be diagnosed with harder-to-treat forms of the disease and with later-stage disease, in particular in comparision with white women.
“Multifactorial efforts at individual, community, clinical, and systems levels to help women achieve and maintain a healthy weight and obtain sufficient physical activity might reduce the risk for developing uterine cancer,” the authors write.
“Promoting awareness among women and health care providers of the need for timely evaluation of abnormal vaginal bleeding can increase the chance that uterine cancer is detected early and treated appropriately,” they add.
The team gathered incidence data from the CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program.
In addition, they obtained mortality data from the National Vital Statistics System, which covered 98% of the overall US population for the period 1999 to 2015/2016.
Uterine cancers were classified by histologic site and stage at diagnosis. Individuals were classified as white, black, non-Hispanic American, Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN), non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander (API), or Hispanic.
The researchers found that in 2015, there were 53,911 new, confirmed cases of uterine cancer, which occurred at a rate of 27 cases per 100,000 women. The rates were highest among white and black women (27 per 100,000 each).
The most commonly reported form the disease was endometrioid carcinoma, which occurred in 68% of women. The proportion was much lower in black women, at 47%. Black women who were more likely to have other carcinomas, carcinosarcomas, and sarcomas.
In non-black women, uterine cancers were diagnosed at the localized stage in 66% to 69% of cases. In black women, that rate was 55%.
Black women are also more likely to be diagnosed with disease of distant stage than other groups, at 16% vs 8% to 10%. This was particularly the case for sarcoma.
Sarcomas were more likely to be diagnosed at the distant stage (36%) than carcinosarcomas (22%), other carcinomas (18%), and endometrioid carcinomas (3%).
The incidence rate of uterine cancers increased between 1999 and 2015 by 12%, or an average of 0.7% per year.
The increase was far higher among AI/AN (53%), black (46%), API (38%), and Hispanic (32%) women than among white women (9%).
In 2016, there were 10,733 deaths due to uterine cancer, at five deaths per 100,000 women. The rate was highest among black women, at nine per 100,000 women.
The rate of uterine cancer deaths increased between 1999 and 2016 by 21%, or 1.1% per year on average.
The increases were higher in API (52%), Hispanic (33%) and black (29%) women than white women (18%). Rates of uterine cancer deaths remained stable in AI/AN women.
Obesity a Contributing Factor
The researchers say that one contributing factor in the increase in incidence could be “excess body weight,” inasmuch as overweight or obese women are two to four times more likely to develop endometrial cancer than women of healthy weight.
“During 2013-2016, approximately 40% of women in the United States had obesity, including 56% of black women and 49% of Hispanic women,” they add.
The team points out that, “as with other cancers, the odds of surviving uterine cancer are much higher when it is detected at an early stage, when treatment is more effective.” The rate of survival is 90% for patients with localized cancers, vs <30% for patients with distant cancers.
“This report found that black women were more likely to receive a diagnosis at distant stage and with more aggressive histologic types than were other women, which might in part account for the higher death rate among black women,” the investigators write.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a supplemental application for Merck’s 9-valent human papillomavirus vaccine (Gardasil 9) to include women and men aged 27 through 45 years.
“Today’s approval represents an important opportunity to help prevent HPV-related diseases and cancers in a broader age range,” Peter Marks, MD, PhD, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a news release.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] has stated that HPV vaccination prior to becoming infected with the HPV types covered by the vaccine has the potential to prevent more than 90% of these cancers, or 31,200 cases every year, from ever developing,” Marks noted.
The CDC estimates that every year about 14 million Americans become infected with HPV. About 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and about 4000 women die from cervical cancer caused by certain HPV viruses. HPV is also associated with several other forms of cancer affecting men and women.
Gardasil, which was first approved by the FDA in 2006 to prevent certain cancers and diseases caused by HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18, is no longer distributed in the United States.
In 2014, the FDA approved Gardasil 9, which covers the same four HPV types as Gardasil as well as five additional types (31, 33, 45, 52, and 58). Gardasil 9 was first approved for use in males and females aged 9 through 26 years.
According to the FDA, in a study in roughly 3200 women aged between 27 and 45 years followed for an average of 3.5 years, Gardasil was 88% effective in preventing the combined endpoint of persistent infection, genital warts, vulvar and vaginal precancerous lesions, cervical precancerous lesions, and cervical cancer related to HPV types covered by the vaccine.
“The FDA’s approval of Gardasil 9 in women 27 through 45 years of age is based on these results and new data on long term follow-up from this study,” the FDA said.
“Effectiveness of Gardasil 9 in men 27 through 45 years of age is inferred from the data described above in women 27 through 45 years of age, as well as efficacy data from Gardasil in younger men (16 through 26 years of age) and immunogenicity data from a clinical trial in which 150 men, 27 through 45 years of age, received a 3-dose regimen of Gardasil over 6 months,” the agency said.
The safety of Gardasil 9 was evaluated in a total of about 13,000 males and females. The most commonly reported adverse reactions were injection-site pain, swelling, redness, and headaches.
The FDA granted the Gardasil 9 application priority review status, a program that facilitates and expedites the review of medical products that address a serious or life-threatening condition.
Hospitalization rates for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) are on the rise, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
After a nearly 10-year period of slight decline, age-adjusted rates of hospitalization for the life-threating, preventable diabetes complication increased nearly 55% between 2009 and 2014, Stephen R. Benoit, MD, from the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Diabetes Translation, and colleagues report in an article published in the March 30 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
However, the increasing hospitalization rate has not led to higher in-hospital mortality, which decreased consistently during the period of study, the authors stress.
Data from the CDC’s US Diabetes Surveillance System indicated a rise in DKA hospitalizations from 2009 through 2014. To further investigate that trend, the authors sought to estimate rates of DKA hospitalization and in-hospital case fatality using 2000 to 2014 data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s National Inpatient Sample.
“Overall, age-adjusted DKA hospitalization rates decreased slightly from 2000 to 2009, then reversed direction, steadily increasing from 2009 to 2014 at an average annual rate of 6.3%,” they report.
Overall, the rate increased 54.9%, climbing from 19.5 per 1000 persons in 2009 to 30.2 in 2014. The increase was seen across all age groups, but was highest in adults younger than 45 years (44.3 per 1000 persons in 2014) and lowest in those 65 years and older (less than 2.0 per 1000 persons in 2014).
Meanwhile, in-hospital case-fatality rates declined 63.6% overall, at an annual average rate of 6.8% (from 1.1% to 0.4%, and the decline was observed across all age groups and both sexes, the authors report. “Although the highest case-fatality rates were observed among persons aged ≥75 years, this group experienced the largest absolute decrease across the entire period,” they note.
Although the causes of the increase in DKA-related hospitalizations are not clear, the authors hypothesize that the jump might reflect changes in case definition, lower thresholds for hospitalization, and the introduction of new medications such as sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors for type 2 diabetes that potentially increase DKA risk, as reported previously by Medscape Medical News.
Similarly, the causes of the declining in-hospital mortality rates have not been established but may be the result of better management and treatment thanks to an improved understanding of DKA pathophysiology and the adoption of treatment guidelines, the authors say. “Another possibility is that hospital admission of less severe cases has resulted in higher admission rates and contributed to the lower in-hospital case-fatality rates over time,” they write.
The fact that, in 2014, DKA hospitalization rates among persons with diabetes younger than 45 years was approximately 27 times higher than in adults 65 or older points to the importance of considering demographic and clinical characteristics of younger diabetes patients when looking to understand the increase in DKA hospitalizations. “Information from studies among these groups might help determine whether factors such as symptom recognition, adherence to therapy, self-management skills, access to care, or cost of treatment should be a focus of DKA prevention strategies.”
Further research might also identify populations at increased risk for DKA hospitalization. “Evidence-based, targeted prevention measures, such as diabetes self-management education and support might help reverse the trend in this potentially life-threatening but avoidable complication of diabetes,” the authors conclude.
Flu season has been especially severe this year, which is why, if you haven’t gotten the flu, you might feel like you managed to dodge a bullet now that it’s basically allergy season already. Well, we hate to break it to you, but flu season isn’t over yet. In fact, a new surveillance report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that a different influenza virus is becoming more prevalent.
Flu season can actually last all the way through May, according to the CDC, so we’ve got some time before this thing is really over.
Since October 2017, over 70 percent of flu cases overall have been influenza A. But during the week ending March 17, only about 42 percent of flu cases were influenza A, and nearly 58 percent were influenza B, per the new report. That suggests that influenza B has overtaken influenza A, which was the predominant type of flu this season until recently.
The CDC data also notes that the proportion of outpatient visits for flu-like illness is 2.7 percent, which is still above the national baseline of 2.2 percent. That means that although we’re past peak flu season, the overall amount of flu cases nationwide still remains “elevated.”
We tend to think that influenza B isn’t as severe as influenza A, but that’s not necessarily true. The major influenza A strain this year, H3N2 (aka the “Aussie flu“), is notoriously severe and tends to result in complications more often than some other strains. But that doesn’t mean all influenza A strains are universally awful—or that all influenza B strains are a walk in the park. In fact, results of a CDC study released last year found that influenza B viruses caused “equally severe disease outcomes” as influenza A viruses.
This “second wave” is actually normal flu activity, partly because people let up on other flu prevention strategies thinking they can’t get sick this late in the season.
Influenza B is usually the most prominent strain that circulates late in flu season, William Schaffner, M.D., an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, tells SELF. So, while you’re probably already a little nervous about the flu, this news doesn’t mean that mutant flu strains are popping up everywhere—this isn’t all that unusual.
But it is important to realize that you can still get the flu now, Alan Taege, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, tells SELF. “What tends to happen too often is people reach this point in the flu season where the number of cases are dropping and they aren’t as careful,” he says. “People start developing symptoms and say, ‘I can’t get the flu now,’ but they can.”
So following good hand hygiene (and trying to avoid touching your mouth or eyes with your hands) is still important. This should help you ride out the remainder of the season in good health, Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., senior scholar at the John’s Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells SELF.
For those people who haven’t gotten their flu shot yet, don’t assume you’ve missed the boat.
If you procrastinated getting your flu shot up until this point, you should still should go, Richard R. Watkins, M.D., an infectious disease physician in Akron, Ohio, and an associate professor at the Northeast Ohio Medical University, tells SELF. “Everyone not vaccinated since the fall until now needs one,” he says.
The CDC estimates that this year’s vaccine is 36 percent effective at preventing the flu, but the number is better for influenza B strains specifically. This year’s shot is 42 percent effective against influenza B and just 25 percent effective against influenza A. So it may be even more helpful this late in the season when B strains dominate. (Also, it’s worth pointing out that it’s possible to catch the flu outside of flu season.)
Dr. Taege agrees: “If people are at risk of influenza and they’ve not had the shot yet, they should still obtain it,” he says. “It’s not too late and it’s still worth it.” That’s especially true if you have an underlying health condition or other issue that puts you at an increased risk for complications from the flu, which can be deadly.
Worth noting: Even if you already got the flu (oof, sorry), you should still get your flu shot. Having the flu twice in one season would suck—and it’s actually possible. If you’ve had the flu already, that does provide some protection against the one strain you got, but you’re still vulnerable to every other strain out there, Scientific Americanexplains. So, again, it’s worth thinking about getting the vaccine.
But keep in mind for next year: You’ll get more protection the earlier you get your flu shot.
“The flu season is winding down and should end soon,” Dr. Adalja says. Because it takes two weeks for the shot to give protection, getting the vaccine now isn’t as urgent as it was at the beginning of the season. Though, again, that’s not necessarily reason to skip it if you haven’t gotten it.
You also may have trouble actually locating the flu shot, given that many pharmacies and doctor’s offices may have depleted their supplies by now, Dr. Schaffner says. So you might have to call around to a few pharmacies or use the CDC’s Vaccine Finder before getting your shot.
This flu season is turning out to be so intense that the number of people seeking care at doctors’ offices and emergency rooms has surged to levels not reported since the peak of the 2009 swine flu pandemic, federal officials said Friday.
“This does not mean we’re having a pandemic,” Schuchat said. “But it is a signal of how very intense the flu season has been. We may be on track to break some recent records.”
Pandemics occur when there is a new strain of virus for which people have no previous exposure. That’s not the case here, because the seasonal strains that are circulating this year are not new. But the predominant one, H3N2, is a particularly nasty strain that is associated with more complications, hospitalizations and deaths, especially among children, those older than 65 and people with certain chronic conditions.
Another 10 children died in the week ending Feb. 2, bringing the total number of child deaths since this flu season began to at least 63. This is the number of reported deaths and probably does not include all children who have died. States are not required to report adult flu deaths.
Flu activity is still widespread across the country, the latest data show. Overall hospitalizations are also now significantly higher than what officials have normally seen this time of year since CDC began using this tracking system in 2010, Schuchat said. In particular, officials are seeing unusually high levels of hospitalizations in non-elderly adults, with the rates for 50-to-64-year-olds significantly higher than what they were at the same period in the severe 2014-2015 season with the same predominant flu strain.
The latest weekly report shows 1 out of every 13 doctor visits last week was for fever, cough and other symptoms of the flu, matching the peak levels during the 2009 swine flu pandemic. It was higher than any other seasonal flu season since 2003, when officials changed the way flu is tracked.
“We don’t have any signs of hospitalizations leveling off yet,” Schuchat said in a telephone briefing for reporters.
In an interview with Politico’s “Women Rule” podcast, the Arizona Republican’s daughter said her father, recovering from chemotherapy for aggressive brain cancer and a viral infection in December, is taking precautions that are keeping him in Arizona.
While the H3N2 strain, a type of influenza A virus, continues to dominate, officials are now also seeing increases in the proportion of influenza B viruses in this 11th week of the flu season.
One reason for this unusually intense flu season is probably the vaccine’s lower effectiveness against the predominant strain. Canadian researchers recently suggested the H3N2 component of the vaccine is about 17 percent effective in preventing infection.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see something like that” for the vaccine’s effectiveness against the H3N2 in the United States, Schuchat said. But she and others have said the vaccine performs better against other strains, and is about 55 percent effective against influenza B viruses that are on the rise. Flu shots also reduce the severity of illness. CDC is expected to soon release a preliminary analysis of this season’s vaccine effectiveness.
Officials say it is not too late to get a flu shot. They don’t know how long this season will last — it has yet to reach its peak — and it is possible to get infected by flu more than once.
Angie Barwise, a 58-year-old mother and grandmother from Fort Worth, was diagnosed with the flu twice this season and died last week following complications from the illness. She had been diagnosed around the holidays with the flu, along with bronchitis and strep, her family told Fox affiliate KDFW. Her family said she had not received the vaccine.
Doctors gave her antibiotics and the antiviral medication Tamiflu, and she started to bounce back. But almost exactly a month later, her family said, she was in the emergency room with a different strain of the virus. But this time, KDFW reported, Barwise also had pneumonia and went into in septic shock, a life-threatening medical condition and a known complication of the virus, according to CDC.
On Saturday — a week after her second bout of the flu began — she died.
“I’ve outlived my own daughter,” her mother, Eileen Smith, told the news station this week. “I’m 83 years old, and I’ve outlived her. It shouldn’t be that way.”
As health-care professionals scramble to combat the virus and care for people seeking treatment, there continue to be local shortages of antiviral medication, officials said. Unlike most years when flu activity starts and ends at different times and at different places across the country, virtually the entire country has been slammed with intense levels of flu at the same time, so there are more prescriptions for antiviral drugs than previous years, Schuchat said.
CDC officials are working with pharmacies, health plans and others in the health-care system to have pharmacies stock larger amounts of medicine and allow brand-name drugs to be substituted for generics, which often carry lower out-of-pocket costs for consumers.
Still, the cost of prescription antivirals has led some patients to hesitate using them, with tragic consequences.
Heather Holland, a schoolteacher from Willow Park, Tex., was recently diagnosed with the flu and prescribed the generic form of Tamiflu. But her husband, Frank, told the Wall Street Journal that once she discovered it cost her $116 under her insurance plan, she decided against it.
“It’s principle with her. She’s a very frugal person in general, always has been,” he said.
Frank Holland told the Journal that when he found out that his wife had refused to fill the prescription, he did it. “I made her start taking it,” he told the newspaper.
But Holland was not able to fight the flu — her family said she died Feb. 4, less than a week after she first started to experience symptoms of the virus.
Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and pharmaceutical companies mount an aggressive campaign in the mainstream media to persuade Americans to get their flu shots. Flu shots are big business: industry analysts estimate that within the next five years, the U.S. flu vaccine market will be worth almost $3 billion annually. And profit margins are growing as manufacturers increase price premiums for the newer four-strain vaccines. The U.S. expects to distribute roughly 166 million doses for the 2017-18 flu season, up from 146 million doses in the previous year. As pharmaceutical companies bombard American consumers with ubiquitous billboards, drugstore enticements and radio announcements to “get your flu shot now,” the CDC has advised the industry to hike demand through the use of a “recipe” of scare-mongering messaging. (See Figure 1) CDC recommends “creating concern, anxiety and worry” among the American public.
Using spokespeople like Paul Offit and Peter Hotez as well as its extensive media partnerships and captive bureaucrats at CDC, the pharmaceutical industry has effectively banished the scientific debate about flu shot safety and efficacy from the public square. What ARE the scientific facts about the flu shot? The science indicates significant risks and low efficacy, both in the U.S. and internationally. In 2010, for example, Australia suspended its influenza vaccination program for children under five after one in 110 children experienced convulsions and other serious reactions within hours of getting their flu shots. In Italy in 2014, authorities suspended half a million doses of an influenza vaccine containing a proprietary adjuvant after 13 suspicious deaths occurred in people who got the shot. Closer to home, local news includes a steady stream of reports about healthy individuals acknowledged to have died on the heels of receiving their flu shot in recent years:
A flu-vaccinated 12-year-old boy died at home after health workers failed to recognize that he was ill (January 2018, Sterling Heights, MI).
A popular 37-year-old street vendor received a flu shot and died suddenly of “flu complications” (January 2015, Spokane, WA).
A 5-year-old girl succumbed to influenza-related cardiac arrest after contracting “the same [influenza] strain for which she had been vaccinated” (January 2015, Las Vegas, NV).
Two female health care workers in their twenties and thirties were required to get flu shots for their jobs and developed apparent flu-related sepsis (January 2015, Pleasant Prairie, WI and December 2014, Lee’s Summit, MO).
Fourteen-year-old and 3-year-old girls who died after receiving flu shots were described as being “weakened…so severely that secondary complications made it impossible for them to survive” (January 2015, Des Moines, IA).
A 7-year-old girl died four days after receiving a flu shot at her annual well-child check-up (January 2012, Barton, VT).
Many other flu shot deaths may have been missed since the stubbornly incurious media rarely report the vaccination status of children who die of ‘flu’ or ‘flu-like’ symptoms.
In a typical tragic case, doctors in Visalia, CA “misdiagnosed” the flu in a 12-year-old girl who died suddenly in January; the listed causes of death (“cardiac arrest and septic shock”) were remarkably similar to symptoms experienced by other flu shot victims, although news reports did not disclose the Visalia girl’s vaccination status. Likewise, authorities could not verify whether a third-grade girl who died in mid-January of “flu complications” in Alabama had received a flu shot.
Although all vaccines have the potential to cause serious harm to both children and adults, influenza vaccines—which contain neurotoxic and carcinogenic ingredients such as thimerosal and formaldehyde as well as bacterial endotoxin—lead the pack in U.S. reports of serious vaccine injuries. More than four out of five (83%) of the vaccine injury cases(275/332) settled through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) for the nine-month period from mid-November 2016 through mid-August 2017 were flu-vaccine-related, including four deaths. Notably, almost four in ten of the reported non-fatal injuries for that period were for the highly debilitating and potentially life-threatening Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS). Studies have linked GBS to flu vaccines for many years, suggesting plausible biological mechanisms to explain the relationship. The other non-fatal flu vaccine injuries reported to VAERS in 2016-17 read like a catalogue of ordinarily rare diseases.
From 2014 to 2015, the NVICP flu shot settlements increased from $4.9 million to $61 million—an 1100% increase. As the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a voluntary surveillance system, is acknowledged by the government to capture as little as one percent of actual adverse events, the flu vaccine injuries and deaths are substantially underreported.
In a rational world, untainted by Pharma money, low flu shot efficacy would also inform consumer choice about vaccine risks and benefits. This year in Santa Barbara County, California, seven out of eight senior citizens who reportedly died from the flu had dutifully gotten their flu shots and had taken “flu-fighting medications” (which have their own set of problems). The County’s public health officer attributed the higher-than-normal mortality to the flu strain that is “particularly resistant to vaccination.” She still continues to advocate for flu shots as a “life or death” choice, even though infectious disease experts peg the vaccine’s effectiveness at an abysmal 10% this year.
Figure 1. Cartoon from CDC’s “Increasing Awareness and Update of Influenza Immunization” presentation made to the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.
Overstatement and deception
CDC’s strategy to use fear to ramp up flu vaccine sales requires the agency to exaggerate both flu risks and vaccine efficacy. Pharmaceutical companies and public health officials vastly overstate flu cases and deaths in order to market influenza “as a threat of great proportions.” Simple fact-checking shows that since October 2017, only 14.7% of the almost 447,000 “flu” specimens tested by clinical laboratories working with CDC have tested positive for influenza. This proportion has remained relatively constant for the past two decades. According to the British Medical Journal’s Peter Doshi, “Even the ideal influenza vaccine…can only deal with a small part of the ‘flu’ problem because most ‘flu’ appears to have nothing to do with influenza.” Actual influenza deaths not only rank lower than the major killers such as heart disease and cancer but also are lower down in the mortality rankings than ulcers and hernias.
Recent peer-reviewed studies suggest that the shots may actually make people more susceptible to serious problems…
Incredibly, even though most “flu” is not influenza and flu vaccine effectiveness is as low as 10%, public health authorities keep telling everyone from six months of age on up (including pregnant women) that the flu shot is “better than nothing” and the “best tool we have.” However, there are many unanswered questions about influenza vaccines that warrant rigorous investigation. Recent peer-reviewed studies suggest that the shots may actually make people more susceptible to serious problems (as with the recently recalled dengue vaccine) and that getting flu shots year after year may be lowering subsequent vaccine effectiveness as well as drastically increasing risks for Alzheimer’s disease. Getting vaccinated against one strain of influenza may increase risks for other severe respiratory viruses. Unfortunately, most members of the public are not reading this alarming science. The public should make health decisions based on sound science, not scare tactics.
Flu vaccines make pharma companies $3 billion a year and aren’t very effective. Without a Manhattan Project-style initiative to modernize immunizations, things aren’t going to get any better.
A week ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed what people have been suspecting: This flu season is one of the worst in recent memory. It’s on track to match the 2014-2015 season in which 34 million Americans got the flu, and about 56,000 people—including 148 children—died.
One reason behind the high toll is a mismatch between one of the flu viruses infecting people and one of the viral strains chosen almost a year ago for the global vaccine recipe, which gets rewritten every year. The dominant strain this winter is one called H3N2, which historically causes more severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths than other strains. When the flu swept through Australia last summer, the effectiveness of the H3N2 component of the vaccine was only about 10 percent. The CDC doesn’t yet have a hard estimate for effectiveness in the United States but thinks it might be near 30 percent.
That mismatch is a bad piece of biological luck. But we should consider it a warning.
We’ve long known that our flu vaccines aren’t built to last, or to tackle every strain. But pharma companies don’t have an incentive to research drugs that will make them less money—not while current vaccines are good enough to make them $3 billion a year. To drive those new vaccines forward, medicine needs a Manhattan Project-style investment, pulling on resources outside the drug industry to force a new generation of vaccines into existence.
It’s well-known inside medicine, and little appreciated outside it, that flu vaccines aren’t as protective as most people assume. In January, the CDC collated data on flu-vaccine effectiveness from 2004 up through last year. There was no flu season in which the vaccine protected more than 60 percent of recipients. In the worst season, 2004-2005, effectiveness sank to 10 percent. That’s very different from childhood vaccines. As Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, lamented at a meeting last summer: “The measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine is 97 percent effective; yellow fever vaccine is 99 percent effective.”
The flu virus itself is to blame. The measles virus that threatens a child today is no different from the one that circulated 50 years ago, so across those 50 years, the same vaccine formula has worked just fine. But flu viruses—and there are always a few around at once—change constantly, and each year vaccine formulators must race to catch up.
The dream is to develop a “universal flu vaccine,” one that could be given once or twice in toddlerhood like an MMR vaccine, or boosted a few times in your life as whooping-cough shots are. That is a substantial scientific challenge because the parts of the flu virus that don’t change from year to year—and thus could evoke long-lasting immunity—are hidden away in the virus, masked by the parts that change all the time.
A handful of academic teams are competing to build such a new shot. They’re tinkering with the proteins that protrude from the virus, trying to take off their ever-changing heads so the immune system can respond to their conserved, unchanging stalks. They’re creating chimeric viruses from several proteins fused together, and they’re emptying out viral envelopes or engineering nanoparticles to provoke immunity in unfamiliar ways. Several of those strategies look promising in animal studies but haven’t been tested in humans. There are substantial hurdles to putting any formula into a human arm—including the fundamental one of figuring out what level of immune reaction signals that a new formula is protective enough.
And then, of course, there’s the fact that creating a new vaccine is expensive. It includes not just the cost of research and development, clinical trials, and licensing—generally accepted, across the pharma industry, to take 10 to 15 years and about $1 billion—but also the price tag for building a new manufacturing facility, which can top $600 million. Contrast that to the expenses of making the current vaccines, which use equipment and processes not changed in decades. A 2013 World Health Organization analysis pegged each manufacturers’ cost of refreshing the annual vaccine at $5 million to $18 million per year.
Now consider this: Right now, millions of people, roughly 100 million just in the United States, receive the flu vaccine every year. If those shots were converted to once or twice or four times in a lifetime, manufacturers would lose an enormous amount of sales and would need to price a new vaccine much higher per dose to recoup.
“What’s the business model here? Am I going to spend more than $1 billion to make a vaccine when I can only sell $20 million worth of doses?” Michael Osterholm asks.
The founder of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, and a former adviser to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Osterholm has been pushing for years to get people to notice that the market structure for the flu vaccine works against innovation. “Think about this,” he told me. “If you get a licensed product, which can take billions of dollars to achieve, how are you going to get a return on investment unless you are able to charge an exorbitant amount?”
This isn’t a hypothetical. Take the case of FluMist: As Osterholm’s CIDRAP group revealed in a 2012 report, The Compelling Need for Game-Changing Influenza Vaccines, the vaccine manufacturer MedImmune expended more than $1 billion to develop the novel nasal-spray flu vaccine. In 2009, its first year on the market, FluMist earned just $145 million. And in 2016 and 2017, a CDC advisory body recommended against using the spray at all, saying its rate of effectiveness had sunk to 3 percent.
Examples such as FluMist, Osterholm’s group wrote in their report, make it unlikely that any manufacturer will embark on a new flu vaccine or that VCs will fund them. “We could find no evidence that any private-sector investment source, including venture capital or other equity investors or current vaccine manufacturers, will be sufficient to carry one, yet alone multiple, potential novel-antigen influenza vaccines across the multiyear expenses of production,” they wrote.
As it happens, another sector of medicine is grappling with a similar problem. Since about 2000, pharma manufacturers have largely abandoned antibiotics because of a similar mismatch between investment and reward. Like vaccines, antibiotics are priced low and used for short amounts of time—unlike the lucrative cardiovascular or cancer drugs you’ll see advertised on TV and in magazines.
One answer to the funding gap has been a public-private research accelerator, CARB-X. It was founded in 2016 to dispense $455 million from the US government and a matching amount from the Wellcome Trust in England to support risky early stage research into new antibiotic compounds. Another proposal, put forward by the British Review on Antimicrobial Resistance but not yet enacted, would give roughly $1 billion in no strings “market entry rewards” to companies that get new compounds all the way through trials to licensure, counting on the cash grant to repay R&D expenses.
Osterholm thinks flu vaccines need research support, market rewards, sales guarantees, and more—a matrix of investment in research, manufacturing, and research leadership that he likens to the Manhattan Project, the all-in federal effort to build atomic bombs to bring an end to World War II. Only governments have the power to organize that scale of project, he thinks, and only private philanthropy, on the scale of the Gates Foundation or the Wellcome Trust, has the resources and the flexibility.
And he may be right. What’s clear is that the current flu vaccine market is broken. It’s important to think about that now, because this flu season marks the 100th anniversary of the worst flu known to history: The world-spanning 1918 influenza, which killed an estimated 100 million people in little more than a year. Flu pandemics arrive irregularly, and no one has been able to predict when the worst of them will come again. It would be smart of us to fix the vaccine problem before it arrives.
Sugar has become a daily habit in the past 100 years, during which rates of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other chronic illnesses have skyrocketed
Recent research demonstrates cancer cells use sugar as their primary fuel and are functionally starved when sugar is withheld, upholding previous research by German biochemist, Otto Warburg
The metabolic theory of cancer holds sugar damages mitochondrial function and energy production, triggering cell mutations that are then fed by ongoing sugar consumption
Your healthiest choice is to avoid or eliminate refined sugar from your diet by eating whole, organic foods, and carefully reading labels of any packaged foods you buy
Refined sugar was not consumed on a daily basis until the past 100 years. Before that, it was a treat afforded only by the very rich as sugar cane was a difficult crop to grow. In the past 100 years, rates of obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and numerous other chronic diseases have skyrocketed.
When sugar and tobacco were introduced by Native Americans to Europeans as they began to settle America, the average life span was relatively short.1 This meant health consequences from sugar and tobacco were easily buried in the myriad of other life challenges the early settlers faced.
As early as the 1920s, research documented the damage sugar does to your body. To this day, tobacco continues to be a leading a cause of premature death.2 Unfortunately, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) call tobacco the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., that title may well belong to sugar. Yet people who would never consider smoking may have little concern over the amount of sugar and starch eaten each day.
From a nutritional standpoint, your body does not need refined sugar. Although you need glucose, your body manufactures the glucose it needs in your liver through a process called gluconeogenesis. If you never ate another morsel of candy, sugar or starch again, you would live quite comfortably and likely in far better health.
Sugar Feeds the Growth of Cancer Cells
Recent research reported in this short news video demonstrates that the amount of sugar you eat each day should be an important consideration in your nutritional plan. In 1926, German biochemist Otto Warburg observed cancer cells fermented glucose to lactic acid, even in the presence of oxygen (known as the Warburg effect), and theorized it might be the fundamental cause of cancer.3 This led to the idea that tumor growth could be disturbed by cutting off the energy supply, namely sugar.
For decades, scientists and researchers dismissed the idea, and the sugar industry backed them up. Warburg received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1931 for his work in cellular respiration and energy production. His life’s mission was to find a cure for cancer, but his findings were largely ignored by the conventional medical community as they were considered simplistic and didn’t fit the genetic model of disease that was widely accepted.
Recent research from Belgium4 shows there is indeed a strong link between glucose overstimulation and mutated proteins often found inside human tumor cells, which make the cells grow faster.5 The study began in 2008, triggered by the researchers’ desire to gain a greater understanding of the Warburg effect.
The rapid breakdown of glucose in tumor cells is not seen in healthy cells, making glucose the primary energy source for cancer. Researcher Johan Thevelein, Ph.D., a molecular biologist from LU Leuven in Belgium, commented on the results of the study in a press release, saying:6
“Our research reveals how the hyperactive sugar consumption of cancerous cells leads to a vicious cycle of continued stimulation of cancer development and growth. Thus, it is able to explain the correlation between the strength of the Warburg effect and tumor aggressiveness.
This link between sugar and cancer has sweeping consequences. Our results provide a foundation for future research in this domain, which can now be performed with a much more precise and relevant focus.”
Cell Mutation Not Limited to Sugar Consumption
They’re quick to point out that while they believe the presence of added sugar in your diet may increase the aggressive growth of cancer cells, their research does not prove it triggers the original mutation.7 That said, previous research has shown that the genetic mutations found in cancer cells are actually a downstream effect caused by mitochondrial dysfunction, not the original cause, and excessive sugar consumption is one of the things that triggers mitochondrial dysfunction. I’ll discuss this more in a section below.
Granted, there are thousands of manufactured chemicals in your home, car and workplace that may cause or contribute to cell mutations. Air pollution, personal care products, plastics and chemical treatments often contain chemicals with carcinogenic properties, and such exposures also play a role.
The mutation of a cell, fed by your daily sugar habit, may grow into cancer. Cell mutation from sugar consumption occurs after mitochondrial damage. However, sugar also provides nutrition to cells mutated by contaminant exposure, and is required for these mutated cells to grow and multiply. As such, your sugar intake becomes an important factor, and one that you have a great deal of control over.
This means that even in the absence of oxygen, tumor cells can extract energy from glucose molecules. Rapid cell division of cancer cells to fuel growth requires the presence of a lot of sugar. Warburg believed a defect in the mitochondria of cancer cells allows the cells to use glycolysis to fuel growth, which suggests cancer is actually a metabolic disease that is affected by your diet.
Research Supports Cancer Is a Metabolic Disease
In the U.S. an estimated 600,000 people will die from cancer this year, costing over $125 billion in health care expenses.9 The World Health Organization finds cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide, responsible for nearly 8.8 million deaths in 2015.10 Imagine if that many people were dying each year from the flu or polio. This would be headline news each day. Have we become so used to the idea of cancer that 1.6 million new cases every year in the U.S. is old news?
Conventional cancer treatment focuses on surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. However, many of these treatments have only been successful at lengthening lives by months and not in curing the disease. The basis for these treatments is that cancer is a genetic problem and not one triggered and fed by mitochondrial dysfunction. As a result, the nutritional link is typically overlooked.
The featured study exposes the flaw in using only pharmaceutical, surgical and radiation treatments on tumors and other cancer growths. Warburg postulated that by cutting off the food supply cancer cells rely on for survival, you effectively starve them.
Research has also shown that genetic mutations are not the trigger for cancer growths but rather a downstream effect resulting from defective energy metabolism in cell mitochondria. This defective energy metabolism changes the way your cells function and promotes the growth of cancer cells.
In other words, if your mitochondria remain healthy, your risk of developing cancer is slim. Thomas Seyfried, Ph.D., author of “Cancer as a Metabolic Disease: On the Origin, Management and Treatment of Cancer,” has received many awards and honors through his long and illustrious career for the work he’s done expanding knowledge of how metabolism affects cancer.
He is one of the pioneers in the application of nutritional ketosis for cancer. While in nutritional ketosis, your body burns fat for fuel instead of starches and carbohydrates. By eating a healthy high-fat, low-carbohydrate and low- to moderate-protein diet, your body begins to burn fat as its primary fuel. Research from Ohio State University demonstrates athletes who eat a ketogenic diet experience significant improvements in their health and performance.11
Nutritional ketosis is also showing great promise in the treatment of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease,12 Type 2 diabetes13 and seizures14 that are unresponsive to medications. This recent research from Belgium confirms the work Warburg, Seyfried and others have done, and supports the hypothesis that cancer is a metabolically based disease and not a genetic problem.
Chemotherapy May Not Be the Answer
Traditional administration of chemotherapy may increase your risk of metastasis (the spread of cancer cells through your body) and may trigger additional tumor growth. Chemotherapy is sometimes recommended prior to surgery to help shrink the size of the tumor, increasing the likelihood a woman could have a lumpectomy instead of a full mastectomy.
Recent research reveals that giving chemotherapy prior to breast cancer surgery may promote metastasis of the disease, allowing it to spread to other areas of your body.15 This greatly increases the risk of dying. The study found that mice had twice the amount of cancer cells in their blood and lungs after treatment with chemotherapy. The researchers also found similar results in 20 human patients whose tumor microenvironments became more favorable to metastasis after chemotherapy.
Other studies in men with prostate cancer have demonstrated chemotherapy may cause DNA damage in healthy cells that boosts tumor growth and helps the cancer cells resist treatment.16 Research continues to reveal the effect chemotherapy has on your body and the devastating effect it has on healthy cells. At least as far back as 2004, researchers have known that “chemotherapy only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival.”17
Your Healthiest Choice Is to Avoid Sugar
Sugar is a primary factor driving the development of a number of different health conditions and chronic diseases. Sugar contributes to several of the leading causes of death in the U.S., including:18
While all forms of sugar are harmful when consumed in excess, processed fructose — the most commonly found sugar in processed foods — appears to be the worst. Manufacturers use the addictive property of sugar to drive sales, and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) allows them to achieve their goals at a lower price. Although it tastes like sugar, HFCS gives your body a bigger sugar jolt. Dr. Yulia Johnson, family medicine physician with The Iowa Clinic, comments on the use of HFCS:20
“Your body processes high fructose corn syrup differently than it does ordinary sugar. The burden falls on your liver, which is not capable of keeping up with how quickly corn syrup breaks down. As a result, blood sugar spikes quicker. It’s stored as fat, so you can become obese and develop other health problems, such as diabetes, much faster.”
It stands to reason that if you want to live a healthier life and reduce your health care costs and your risk for cancer, you’d be wise to avoid refined sugar as much as possible, if not eliminate it from your diet entirely.
If you do pick up packaged foods, read the labels carefully so you can make an informed decision about the sugar you’re adding to your diet. Sugars may masquerade under several different names on food labels. Some of the more common names are listed below, but there are more than are listed here.
Labels list ingredients in order of the amount in the product. In other words, there is more of the first ingredient than the second, and so forth. When evaluating sugar, remember if it is listed in the fourth, sixth and ninth positions, the combined total may put it in the first or second position.21