December 11, 2015
For those parents facing the administration of flu vaccines, especially FluMist, in their children’s schools, please be aware that FluMist is a live-virus vaccine, live-virus meaning the virus can “shed” (in other words, be transmitted) to those whose immune systems are not strong, which can include a wide variety of people — children with asthma, autism, or life-threatening allergies, senior citizens, pregnant women (pregnancy supresses the immune system somewhat), and people under a great deal of stress.
The vaccine manufacturer’s package insert for FluMist says that, among children aged 6 months to 17 years who received the FluMist vaccine, 1-7% of them, depending upon the specific age grouping, were shedding the live virus through nasal secretions for more than 11 days, with some still shedding at the close of the study 28 days post-vaccination, and a whopping 89% of children in the 6-23 month range were shedding for at least a few days. Fifty percent of children 5-8 years of age shed the virus. That means that half of the children in kindergarten through third grade are shedding the FluMist virus after vaccination. The vaccine manufacturer’s insert warns about transmission to “immunocompromised household contacts.” What about classmates? Children in school spend up to seven or eight hours together, five days a week, in close quarters. Parents have a right to know if recently vaccinated children may be contagious and likely to spread the flu.
Acknowledging this risk, the Florida Department of Health states that their protocol is to “sit immunocompromised children on one side of the room and vaccinated children on the other side.” But one “vaccine broker,” Healthy Schools LLC, who administers flu vaccine programs in schools in Florida, claims that
If students are currently in school and not in a “protected” environment such as transplant floors of hospitals, etc., it is safe for them to be in the vicinity of a FluMist clinic. Consider that these students are already in daily contact with other students who are receiving vaccinations at the pediatric offices. Also, if the students are going to physicians’ offices, they are likely there during a FluMist vaccination.
This implies that Healthy Schools feels there is no concern at all about viral shedding, and also implies that there is no attempt to adhere to the Health Department’s policy of separating the recently vaccinated from the immunocompromised. Certainly, the most severely immunocompromised children will be in hospitals or at home, but Healthy Schools fails to acknowledge that there are many children whose immune systems operate less than optimally who attend school and are at risk from the virus in the vaccine, which is the reason why children with asthma (1 in 10 today) are told they are not eligible to receive FluMist.
In fact, a 2009 mainstream study showed that children with asthma who had received flu shots were three times more likely to be hospitalized by flu-related illness than children with asthma who had not. As we are frequently assured the flu shot cannot give you the flu because the viruses are “killed,’ then perhaps it is the very fact that these children are in doctors’ offices or schools sitting next to children who have been recently vaccinated with FluMist that causes them to end up with bad cases of flu that get them hospitalized.
There are many different “vaccine brokers” operating in different areas, but we’ll use Healthy Schools as an example of how they work. Chuck Alexander of the Division of Disease Control, Florida Department of Health, said Healthy Schools and other brokers do the FluMist school program in order to make money. In other words, they make a profit on administering the vaccine in schools. Healthy Schools uses Tony Boselli of the Jacksonville Jaguars to promote their vaccine products, offering to bring FluMist to schools at no cost to the school or the students. If a school’s principal agrees, the school then participates in the flu vaccine program. The company makes money by charging the insurance companies of children who are insured or Medicaid for those who qualify. Insurance companies reimburse for flu vaccines for their enrollees. The company is reimbursed for completely uninsured children by the federal government’s Vaccines For Children program. The Health Department and the schools consider it a win because they can get all their children vaccinated, supposedly keeping them healthier, at no cost to the school or school district and with minimal effort on their part.
But are the vaccine programs really reducing flu-related illness? The last two years, FluMist was completely ineffective against H1N1, the “pandemic” strain that was considered the most dangerous or virulent. Most people know that the average school-aged kid is going to weather the average flu pretty easily.
It’s really only the particularly virulent strains that concern parents when it comes to their schoolchildren. So the FluMist has been ineffective for the last two years against the only strain a parent is likely to be concerned about and has the potential to cause flu in others.
If this is a situation that concerns you as a parent, what can you do?
Contact your local politicians (your vote is their paycheck) and educate them with respect to the issues of live-virus vaccines. Hold them accountable.
Contact your local Department of Health and find out what their protocol is to protect the children who may be at risk. Hold them accountable.
Contact your child’s school administrators and ask them if they will be following your Department of Health’s protocol. Hold them accountable.
Ask school administrators if they are getting kickbacks from the “vaccine broker” who administers the flu vaccine program. How much are they making, and where is the money going? All parents have the right to know. Hold them accountable.
Also, as a taxpayer, ask that they provide proof that the flu vaccine program in your school is reducing school absences. Hold them accountable.
Be aware of how many teachers, staff, students, parents, and family members become sick after the flu vaccine program comes to your community school, and point out those cases to other parents and administrators within the school district.
You may be able to have FluMist removed from your child’s school, like one TMR reader did, by educating all those involved in the decision-making process.