You may have heard the latest news on the flu vaccine. The national news finally publicized the fact that this year's vaccine didn't work. The Centers for Disease Control said it worked about 40% of the time. But I suspect it's much lower than that. Why? Because this isn't anything new.

Almost three years ago, the prestigious journal The Lancet published two studies. One paper examined all the data from patient studies over 37 years. Vaccines at best showed a "modest" ability to prevent influenza or its complications in the elderly.

"The runaway 100% effectiveness that's touted by proponents was nowhere to be seen," said Tom Jefferson. He's a Rome-based researcher with the Cochrane Vaccine Fields project, an international consortium of scientists who perform systematic reviews of research data. "There is a wild overestimation of the impact of these vaccines in the community," Dr. Jefferson said. "In the case of a pandemic, we are unsure from the data whether these vaccines would work on the elderly."

In a nutshell, the flu vaccine just doesn't work.

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A companion article found that new flu strains are becoming increasingly resistant to antiviral drugs. Only the expensive drug Tamiflu holds effectiveness against the new dreaded bird flu. However, its use is also called into question since the study has shown how quickly the flu virus can mutate into full resistance.

Further, all antiviral drugs only blunt the disease at best. Wealthy nations are stockpiling all the newer antivirals they can get. But it may be for naught. Tamiflu has already killed at least 12 children and can cause psychiatric/mental problems. If it's harming children, you can be sure it will harm the elderly as well.

Please don't be misled into getting a flu shot. Next year, you'll hear promises that they have the correct strain and the shots will work. But that's unlikely. At best it's a bad crap shoot. At worst, it's a direct ticket to Alzheimer's. The aluminum and other chemical preservatives will preserve your brain in a condition you might not want.

Instead, eat right, exercise, and get plenty of sunshine. If there's a bad flu outbreak, remember that high dose vitamin D (5,000-10,000 IU daily), vitamin C (2,000 mg daily or more), and oxidation treatments (such as hydrogen peroxide, hyperbaric oxygen, and ozone) will likely be your best bet.

The homeopathic ocsillococcinum, available in most health food stores, has been a long time mainstay for flu prevention. Many of my colleagues and patients swear by it, and it has no downside. Just be sure you are taking it as directed during the flu season, as it is a preventive and not a treatment.

Ref: The Lancet, September 21, 2005.

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