Is the Flu Shot Worth the Chemical Cocktail?

With the 2013 flu season peaking from now until April, a question at the top of the debate pile is whether or not to receive a flu shot. Some argue that by not getting yourself vaccinated, you are putting another at risk of exposure to the disease. Others argue that if vaccinations work, then why worry over if others around you have had their flu shot or not? The media and Internet are abuzz with information about the flu, how you catch the flu, what to do to prevent the flu, what you can take to help treat the flu, but you have to dig deeper to find a list of the ingredients in the actual flu shot.

So what’s the big deal with the components that make up the flu shot if it helps to prevent the aches, pains and overall discomfort of the disease? According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), here is the generalized short-list of ingredients and their purpose for being in a flu shot:

Type of Ingredient




Thimerosal (only in multi-dose vials of flu vaccine)

To prevent contamination


Aluminum salts

To help stimulate the body’s response to the antigens


Sugars, gelatin

To keep the vaccine potent during transportation and storage

Residual cell culture materials

Egg protein

To grow enough of the virus or bacteria to make the vaccine

Residual inactivating ingredients


To kill viruses or inactivate toxins during the manufacturing process

Residual antibiotics

Penicillin, sulfa drugs

To prevent contamination by bacteria during the vaccine manufacturing process

The controversial ingredient that most anti-vaccine advocates fight against is the use of Thiomersal — commonly called Thimerosal in the United States — which is a heavy-metal (mercury) based preservative that is believed by some in the medical field to bring the onset of Autism in otherwise healthy children. Thimerosal is highly toxic if inhaled, ingested or in contact with the skin and is extremely detrimental in aquatic environments and causes long term effects in aquatic organisms. The CDC states “Today, except for some flu vaccines, none of the childhood vaccines used routinely in the United States contain mercury (thimerosal) as a preservative. Although no evidence suggests that there are safety concerns with Thimerosal, vaccine manufacturers stopped using it as a precautionary measure. Now it is contained in very tiny amounts only in multi-dose vials of flu vaccine. Thimerosal is necessary in vaccines that come in multi-dose vials because they require that each individual vaccine dose be drawn from the vial with a new needle and syringe. With each needle inserted, there is the potential for introducing microbes into the vial.”

But what the CDC is not reporting is that each pharmaceutical company uses a different chemical cocktail, so unless the consumer knows exactly what manufacturer prepared the administered vaccine shot, one cannot be guaranteed to be receiving a Thimerosal-free vaccine. And even if one did know the exact details of the origin of the vaccine, the other preservatives might not be mercury but still be toxic to the body nonetheless.

Take for instance the Begrivac Influenza vaccine (split virion, inactivated) from Wyeth that comes with this fact sheet. It is recommended for children 6 months and older, one i.m. injection, size of dose smaller for 6-36 months, booster dose recommended for children who have not previously been vaccinated. The listed ingredients include chemicals that are harmless such as sucrose, potassium dihydrogen phosphate, sodium phosphate dehydrate, and magnesium chloride hexahydrate; chemicals that are harmful in high concentrations but harmless in low levels, such as low concentrations of potassium chloride and traces of diethylether and formaldehyde; and the chemicals/proteins below that, even in low amounts, can potentially cause adverse reactions from some of the people inoculated:

Polymyxin B. “Polymyxin B is a mixture of polymyxins B1 and B2, obtained from Bacillus polymyxa strains. They are basic polypeptides of about eight amino acids and have cationic detergent action on cell membranes. Polymyxin B is used for infections with gram-negative organisms, but may be neurotoxic and nephrotoxic.”

Polysorbate 80. “Polysorbate 80 is a skin or sense organ toxicant and has been known to cause cancer in animals.”

Egg protein. In many cases, eggs are used in vaccine production. “At 5-6 days of incubation, the microorganism is inoculated into the yolk sac of the embryonated eggs, which are harvested after death of the embryo at 12-15 days. Egg-related allergy is common, particularly in children with asthma or general allergies, and may be as high as 40% in children with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis. The risk of egg-related allergy after vaccination depends on the presence of egg protein in the final product. For example, influenza vaccine is manufactured using the extra-embryonic fluids of chick embryos and contains measurable quantities of egg proteins.”

Virus: Influenza virus antigens. Proteins from the influenza virus.

The above influenza vaccine is just one of many pharmaceutical CDC and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved vaccines for children. True, it contains no Thimerosal, but it does contain potentially unsafe compounds even though it is ruled to be safe. And what about the doses for adults and the elderly?

In the cases of vaccines that contain aluminum or mercury compounds, it is important to keep in mind that such heavy metals can lead to future health problems, especially if you receive the flu shot annually. According to FAQ Heavy Metal Detox, some effects of exposure to heavy metals are:

The Brain – calcium levels in the brain affect cognitive development.”

The Central Nervous System – neurotransmitters are chemicals released by neurons for communication within the CNS. Impaired release of calcium-dependent neurotransmitters result in depressed levels of hormones norepinephrine, serotonin, and acetylcholine. The release of neurotransmitters is related to: mood, sexuality, emotion, motivation, digestion, and muscle control. There is a correlation between calcium levels and degenerative CNS diseases.”

The Skeletal System – Skeletal Osteodystery due to disruption of calcium levels in bones.”

The Cellular System – Impaired cellular nutrition and energy production as related to the disruption of cellular calcium-sodium ATP pump processes.”

The Endocrine System – The thyroid, hypothalamus, and the pituary glands are organs that can be negatively impacted by mercury and other heavy metals. Developmental delays, behavioural and learning disabilities, decreased IQ and attention span, mental retardation, and autism can be the results.”

So choose wisely when deciding how to prepare for the flu season ahead. Research shows that the shots are only up to 65 percent effective and could be the wrong strain for your area. Some great alternatives to injecting a flu shot would be to boost up your or your child’s immune system ahead of time with probiotics, organic teas and spices and foods rich with anti-oxidants.

Editor’s Note: Photographs one and six by Eneas de Troya.




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