Humana, my health insurer, called the other day with a recorded message urging me to get a flu shot. It ran through a little survey:

Did I get a flu shot yet? No. Did I intend to get a flu shot? No.

Then I was asked to choose the best reason from a list. One was: You think it’s ineffective.

Yes.

What followed was a lecture about how the Centers for Disease Control had declared that it was very

important to get the flu shot to prevent a possibly dangerous bout with the flu.

I was not given an opportunity to respond.

Today, I called Humana and spoke with an agent about its latest HMO plan. And I took the occasion to respond to the flu message. Why, I asked her, do insurers swallow the malarkey spewed by the CDC without investigating? Okay, so they’re not scientists. But they could read what physician researchers not tied to the medical establishment have to say. Or read the reports in medical journals. Their eyes likely would be opened, and they would take a different position. Doing so would save them and the rest of us a lot of money.

Fluke — doesn’t work

Because the CDC and entrenched medicine are wrong about the effectiveness of the flu vaccine. It’s virtually worthless. Even worse, in rare cases, it can cause serious adverse effects.

Dr. David Brownstein

Listen to what Dr. David Brownstein, of Michigan, has to say. He’s had numerous books published and lectures to physicians across the globe.

“There have been no good studies showing that the flu vaccine is effective for seniors,” Brownstein wrote in a monthly issue of his newsletter, Natural Way to Health. In another issue, he noted this: “When the influenza vaccine is a good match for the circulating strain of influenza, the best of the randomized controlled trials of influenza vaccines have shown that vaccinating between 33 and 100 people resulted in one less case of influenza. In other words, the best of the flu vaccine studies found that, in healthy people, the flu vaccine fails 97-99 percent of those that are vaccinated. In the elderly the effectiveness of the flu vaccine is much worse.”

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

While acknowledging that influenza is a serious disease, Brownstein accused the CDC and medical organizations of using “scare tactics” to push vaccinations. He quoted this from one report: “Over a period of 31 seasons between 1976 and 2007, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.” Where, he wondered, do such wildly varying figures come from?

The CDC said 3,697 influenza deaths occurred in 2013, according to Brownstein. He discovered that by searching through charts upon reading that 56,979 deaths that year were caused by pneumonia and influenza. He found that 53,282 were from pneumonia. And they did not mention that the flu vaccine has never been shown to be effective against pneumonia.

Some time ago, he received an email that said the new vaccine Fluzone was four times stronger in seniors than the standard flu shot. Fluzone was, the information given by a “well-known physician” said, a 24 percent improvement. He studied the study numbers, and found that people receiving Fluzone had an influenza rate of 1.43 percent compared to 1.89 percent for those who got the regular flu vaccine. That’s how the prominent doctor arrived at a 24 percent better rate.

Flu foolery

But, Brownstein declared, that was the “relative risk difference. This number is not to be used when considering whether a particular therapy would help a patient … The headlines should read: ‘New Flu Vaccine is 0.46 percent more effective.’ Going one step further, it takes 217 elderly people to receive the high dose flu vaccine to prevent one case of the flu. That is the number needed to treat based on this study. That means that 216 out of 217 elderly people received the flu vaccine for naught—it did not help them prevent the flu.

On the other hand, he wrote, “The flu vaccine has … been associated with many serious adverse effects including narcolepsy and Guillen-Barre syndrome … Many of the flu shots contain mercury.”

Brownstein’s conclusion: “In the future, the flu vaccine will be looked upon as another poor medical recommendation. Unfortunately, the list of poor medical recommendations seems to be growing.”