by: Dr. Sharon Collins


Last winter the influenza season was quite severe. The statistics I heard were that there were 80,000 deaths across the country due to the flu. However, flu-associated deaths in adults are not a nationally notifiable condition, and states are not required to report flu-associated deaths in adults to the CDC. In contrast, flu-associated deaths in children ARE a nationally notifiable condition, and so flu-associated childhood deaths are sent to CDC. According to the CDC, “During past seasons, approximately 80% of flu-associated deaths in children have occurred in children who were not vaccinated. Based on available data, this remains true for the 2017-2018 season, as well.” However, the link that was inserted to take me to the latest surveillance data on flu deaths in children was not functioning so I was unable to substantiate the data.

In June 2018 at the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the CDC presented the vaccine effectiveness data. They testified that the “overall vaccine effectiveness (VE) of the 2017-2018 flu vaccine against both influenza A and B viruses is estimated to be 40%. This means the flu vaccine reduced a person’s overall risk of having to seek medical care at a doctor’s office for flu illness by 40%. Protection by virus type and subtype was: 25% against A(H3N2), 65% against A(H1N1) and 49% against influenza B viruses. These VE estimates were presented to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on June 20, 2018.”

If the hospitals are not required to report flu-associated deaths in adults to the CDC, then our data on adults are invalid. And I don’t think anyone can truthfully tell us how many of the fluassociated deaths in adults were in people who were or were not vaccinated or how effective the vaccines were. Also one of the world’s leading reviewers of clinical studies – the Cochrane Review – says that neither the vaccine nor the antiviral drug, Tamiflu, provide much benefit.

My sister, who was vaccinated, died on December 28, 2017—three days after being diagnosed with Influenza A. She developed pneumonia and was hospitalized on Christmas day in respiratory distress. The cause of her death, I am sure, was recorded as cardiac arrest—not influenza. She was 43 years of age. I know personally of two other young people—one in his 40’s and the other 53 years of age who died with the EXACT same scenario—three days after being diagnosed with Influenza A. Both of their hearts just stopped beating and they could not be resuscitated. I never asked about their vaccine status.

I was in Tampa last week and while I was waiting to board, I received an alert that the Flu Season had its first US death—a child. No other details were released except that the child died of complications of Influenza B between September 30 and October 6. And then they noted: “The child had not received a flu vaccine.” As if it was her or her parents ‘fault? It takes two weeks to develop antibodies against the flu after one is vaccinated. So she would have had to be vaccinated in the middle of August to have been protected. We doctors have always been told to begin vaccinating for the flu in October.

I predict: Influenza is going to be designated an all-season illness and we are going to be required to get the vaccine at some point in time (possibly in summer) with a booster before winter rolls around.

Our bodies are bombarded with multiple viruses and bacteria this time of the year, most of which we do not have vaccines against. One of the viruses going around right now—an enterovirus EDV-68 is causing paralysis and death in many children infected. Either the virulence of these organisms is increasing or our defenses are weakening.

I am not against getting the flu vaccine. But if the flu vaccine is the ONLY thing we do to build immunity against the flu and other illnesses that are circulating this time of the year, we are generally unprotected. That is why I put together an even on October 27 about how to naturally protect ourselves against the flu and other illnesses this time of the year. And this is why I have posted my recommendations for boosting immunity.

Preparation for influenza season should begin now. If we start to get ready today for this season the difficulties and illnesses we encounter will be fewer and of shorter duration if we get ill at all. It is very important to prepare our bodies to withstand the stress and strain these organisms put on us.

The CDC has not given us any other directives besides getting vaccinated, washing our hands, and covering our mouth to prevent getting infected and to protect others. I take it a step further because I too believe it is our duty to do whatever we can do to protect ourselves and others.