Fall is upon us and with it comes TV and radio ads, and even grocery store deals, regarding getting the seasonal flu shot. Many patients have asked my opinion, so I wanted to share a little information I have read and encourage you to do a little digging before you decide to vaccinate yourself and your family.

Influenza, the virus that causes flu, has the ability to reinvent itself constantly, which makes it difficult to make an effective vaccine. According to the book Vaccination Is Not Immunization, pg 98 Michael Decker MD of Aventis, a flu vaccine manufacturer, stated,

“By the time you know what the right strain is, you can’t do anything about it.”

An article titled Influenza vaccination: policy versus evidenceprinted in the British Medical Journal Oct. 27th, 2006 found when it comes to the flu vaccine,

“Evidence from systematic review shows that inactivated vaccines have little or no effect.”

There is enough information out there to make me question the effectiveness of the flu shot, so I wanted to look at its ingredients and evaluate their safety too.

Many flu shots are still being manufacturer with mercury in the form of a preservative called thimerosal: according to the government’s site on flu shots (http://answers.flu.gov/categories/1220), since 2001, no new vaccine licensed by FDA for use in children has contained thimerosal as a preservative, except for some formulations of the influenza vaccine.

In looking further, it seems the multi-dose flu shot contains more mercury, whereas the single shot has gone through a process to help take most of the thimersol out; however, most manufactures still use formaldehyde, which has been classified as a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing substance) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Another ingredient beta-Propiolactone was “reasonably expected to be a human carcinogen” (NIH substance profile, 1999). β-Propiolactone is a disinfectant and has been used to sterilize blood plasma, vaccines, tissue grafts, surgical instruments, and enzymes.

There is a lot of information out there to try and sift through. It boils down to a personal decision. In my opinion the ingredients are controversial enough that I would rather take my chances getting the flu. But that is the personal decision I am making for myself.

Fun video about ingredients.


Dr. J. Anna Stid is a Network Spinal Analysis Chiropractor that specializes in Re-Organizational Healing.  She also facilitates Somato Respiratory Integration and Nutritional Coaching.

Dr. Stid practices in Noe Valley area of San Francisco, CA


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