Flu jabs – doing more harm than good?
By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson
I regard people who mindlessly oppose all forms of vaccinations as being similar in outlook to creationists and climate change deniers, but close experience of the potential adverse effects of some vaccinations makes me a little sceptical of claims by some health leaders that all vaccines are safe, effective panaceas.
When working as a nurse in the 1980s, I looked after an attractive lady in her thirties who, along with other neurological signs, had permanently lost all control of her bladder as a consequence of an adverse reaction to the smallpox vaccine – her case notes supported this, noting that it was a recognised, but very rare occurrence (something like one in 20,000).
My own mother-in-law developed a permanent debilitating neurological condition within weeks of receiving a flu vaccination – her doctors neither confirm nor deny a possible link.
At the beginning of winter, at the end of 2005, Cannon Capital chief executive James Flaherty described flu vaccination for elderly people as ‘euthanasia by the back door’. Speaking to attendees at a Caring Times Christmas Lunch, Mr Flaherty asked providers if they had noticed an increase in post-flu-jab mortality – all of them had.
Amid calls for care providers to pay for their staff to have flu jabs, I would suggest that, while it is clear that the decision to have a flu vaccination rests solely with the individual, where the responsibility lies in the advent of a demonstrable adverse effect is less clear. Employers who offer to take the financial sting out of a flu jab may be wise to ensure that disclaimers are signed beforehand. The same of course applies in respect of residents.
Vaccinations have undoubtedly been responsible for global improvements in public health and have reduced much human heartache and misery but, while I am no immunologist, I do know that the flu viruses can reconfigure themselves in very short time-frames, and that developing effective, safe vaccinations against them is very problematic. There’s no way I’d consent to having one – I’d rather take my chance against the flu.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.