The Flu Vaccine: What Parents Need to Know

by Patricia Lemer MEd, NCC

For 30 years the US has used exclusively killed or inactivated flu virus injections. In June, 2003, however, the FDA approved the first live virus flu vaccine, also the first designed to be sprayed up the nose. Altering its decades old recommendation of vaccination only for the at-risk elderly, the CDC now proposes annual flu shots for children age six to 23 months and all healthy adults.

What has caused our government to recommend flu vaccines from cradle to grave? Has a new and virulent strain appeared? No!

While everyone likes to think that medical advice is determined solely by objective scientific evidence, other factors compete. Most obvious is the powerful influence of large drug companies. Another factor is the impact of September 11, 2001, which has helped to create in America what many now call "a culture of fear."

Flu Vaccine Facts

Effects and Risks of Flu Vaccine

All vaccines carry risk. No long-term safety trials have been done on children. Even though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have directed vaccine manufacturers to remove mercury from all childhood vaccines since 1999, the killed virus injected vaccine contains thimerosal. It can cause fever, fatigue, painful joints and headache.

The live/nasal version, which requires a 21-day avoidance of immune-compromised contacts (don‘t take it if you work or live with seniors or infants), can cause runny nose, nasal congestion, cough, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, fever, chills and generalized weakness. Long-term, patients are at increased risk for Alzheimer’s and autism with the killed virus, and respiratory distress with the live.

Still worse, the live virus vaccine could trigger the very flu epidemic it is intended to prevent. Introduction of a live vaccine into the bodies of thousands of people could easily spread the virus to others, especially among the more vulnerable ill and elderly, and create a flu outbreak. These vaccines created in chicken kidney cells also involve a risk of retro-viruses crossing over into human beings with unknown consequences.

With the government’s mandate, future generations of Americans will have little or no immunological experience with flu viruses, becoming vaccine dependent for the rest of their lives. This national experiment could have far-reaching financial and long-term health costs, as the flu vaccine becomes the most profitable vaccine in the history of vaccination. Imagine a drug company with no liability for injury or death having a guaranteed market of 280 million Americans getting annual flu vaccines paid for by their insurance companies. A stockholder’s dream and a consumer’s worst nightmare!


This year, a bill sponsored by US Representatives Dave Weldon, MD (R-FL) and Carolyn Maloney (D- NY), the Mercury-Free Vaccine Act of 2004 (HR 4169), seeks to remove the preservative thimerosal from vaccines. HR 4169 requires that by January 1, 2005, no childhood vaccine have more than one microgram (mcg) of mercury, that a year later mercury be removed completely from all childhood and adolescent vaccines, and that after January 1, 2007, no adult vaccines may contain more than 1 mcg of mercury. The law further demands that vaccine-promotion messages carry a recommendation against administering mercury-containing vaccines to pregnant women.

Your Right to Know

The National Vaccine Information Center and others advocate public education and informed consent. Everyone is entitled to full and truthful information about the benefits and risks of all vaccines.

This article was exerpted from "The Flu Vaccine and You" by Richard Pitt (Mothering Magazine, July/August 2004) and "Flu Vaccine: Missing the Mark" by Barbara Loe Fisher. (Special Report of the National Vaccine Information Center) Go to the original articles for more information.

[Initially published in New Developments: Volume 9, Number 4 - Summer, 2004]

All material in this web site is given for information purposes only and is not to be substituted for advice from your health care provider.

5801 Beacon Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15217 | P: 800.497.0944 | F: 412.422.1374

Page last modified: February 23, 2009
©2009 Developmental Delay Resources. All rights reserved.