of FluMist Vaccine
Sherri Tenpenny, DO, © 2003
following article on the new FluMist vaccine was first published
at the Online
Vaccine Conference at Redflagsdaily.com. This important online
conference on vaccines will play a significant role in stimulating
public discussion on this vital public health issue. You can view
other essential articles on vaccines at the Online
the manufacturer of FluMist, recently announced that it signed
an agreement that makes FluMist, the new intranasal influenza
vaccine, readily available to people as they shop at Wal-Mart, the
world’s biggest retailer." 
the physician in charge of a bustling integrative medical clinic,
questions about vaccines frequently arise. After reading about the
MedImmune-Walmart joint venture, I felt compelled to warn our patients
and our Internet subscribers of the potentially serious complications
that may come from direct and passive exposure to this new vaccine.
I also wanted to give a "heads up" to everyone regarding the onslaught
of advertising that is about to besiege them.
of TV and print advertisements have been designed to persuade everyone
into taking the FluMist plunge. The campaign will be the "most
intense, direct-to-consumer marketing campaign ever waged for a vaccine,"
costing an estimated $25 million over the next 2.5 months . In
addition, Wyeth, MedImmune’s partner, plans a three-year, $100 million
campaign to encourage use of the nasal flu vaccine among physicians.
arm of the blitz campaign will focus on the "inconveniences" that
your family, friends and co-workers will endure if you don’t get the
flu shot and subsequently contract the flu. Print advertisements and
magazine articles apparently will use scare tactics--similar to those
that were used while promoting the smallpox vaccine--which warned
of the high possibility of a "bioterror attack using the flu virus."
the goal seems to center around frightening--or inducing enough guilt--so
that everyone would begin to demand the vaccine as soon as it is available.
And at nearly $70 a dose, this will be a financial bonanza for MedImmune
and Wyeth, who are expecting the vaccine to become the blockbuster
new drug that will push MedImmune’s revenues to more than $1 billion/year.
there are many reasons for caution. FluMist contains live (attenuated)
influenza viruses that replicate in the nasopharynx of the vaccine
recipient. The most common side effects include "cough, runny nose/nasal
congestion, irritability, headaches, chills, muscle aches and fever
> 100° F." These symptoms are nearly identical to those the
flu vaccine is designed to prevent. 
for significant concern is the vaccine’s most prevalent side effects:
"runny nose" and "nasal congestion." It has been documented that the
live viruses from the vaccine can be shed (and potentially spread
into the community) from recipient children for up to 21 days, 
and even longer from adults.  Viral shedding also puts breastfeeding
infants at risk if the mother has been given FluMist. 
to shedding via nasal secretions, the virus can be dispersed through
sneezing. What is the normal physiological response when an irritant
enters the nasal passages? A sneeze … sometimes a big sneeze … sometimes
several big sneezes. Therefore, the risk for shedding--and spreading--live
viruses throughout a school, church, workplace or store--especially
one which is administering the vaccine.
section of the FluMist package insert labeled "PRECAUTIONS,"
the manufacturer states the following warning:
recipients should avoid close contact with immunocompromised individuals
for at least 21 days."
is specifically directed toward those living in the same household
with an immunocompromised person, but the on-going release of live
viruses throughout the community may be a significant risk to everyone
who has a weak, or weakened, immune system.
of immunocompromised people in the United States is enormous:
is estimated that at least 10 percent, or more than 28 million people
have eczema. 
than 8.5 million people have cancer. 
are reported to be 850,000 individuals with diagnosed and undiagnosed
HIV infection or AIDS 
on 2001 data, there were 184,000 organ recipients 
more extensive list of at-risk people includes the untold millions
on drugs called corticosteroids. Prednisone®, Medrol®, and a variety
of similar medications given to both adults and children. These drugs
are prescribed for dozens of conditions including asthma, allergies,
eczema, emphysema, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, herniated
spinal discs, acute muscular pain syndromes, and all types of rheumatoid
and autoimmune diseases. As much as 60 percent of the entire population
could be considered to be "chemically immunosuppressed." It is important
to realize that FluMist is CONTRAINDICATED for people who are
immunocompromised. People who receive FluMist and are living
with an immunocompromised person put their loved ones at risk.
this make stores that administer the vaccines--like Walmart and the
other pharmaceutical chain stores that have announced they will carry
FluMist --risky places to shop for large segments of the
population? What measures will be taken in these stores to ensure
that the virus will not become commingled with food? What hand washing
policy is going to be enforced in the stores for all Walmart employees
and customers who have received FluMist? These are reasonable
questions that deserve answers.
market for FluMist is "healthy children and adults, ages 5 to
49 years." Some believe that by vaccinating these people, a type of
"herd immunity" will occur that will protect the very young and the
elderly who are excluded from getting this vaccine. However, it is
these very "at-risk" populations who may suffer the most from the
flu by being exposed to people who are given FluMist.
from Chet: Click
here for my special report containing 37 natural cold and
flu home remedies.
to information presented at the May 2003 National Influenza Summit,
 approximately 85 percent of Americans between the ages of 20
and 50 go unvaccinated, and nearly 66 percent between the ages of
50 and 64 do not receive the flu vaccine. Have there been "raging
epidemics" across the country due to lack of flu vaccinations? It
appears that the massive campaign to vaccinate everyone this year
may be motivated, in part, by economics.
suspected to be the most likely cause for the flu this season were
negligibly different from the strains used in last year’s flu vaccine.
Therefore, the influenza vaccine produced for the 2003-2004 season
is identical in composition to the one used last year. This marks
only the second time that the same strains have been used during two
consecutive flu seasons.  Consider that antibodies from other
viral vaccines--such as MMR, polio and chickenpox vaccines--last at
least three years, and in some instances, up to 15 years. If the viruses
used in the vaccine are the same as last year, why is this year’s
vaccine even necessary?
greater concern about FluMist is the contents within the vaccine.
Each 0.5 ml of the formula contains 10 6.5-7.5 particles of live,
attenuated influenza virus. That means that between 10 million and
100 million viral particles will be forcefully injected into the nostrils
when administered. The viral strain was developed by serial passage
through "specific pathogen-free primary chick kidney cells" and then
grown in "specific pathogen-free eggs." That means that the culture
media was free of pathogens that were specifically tested for, but
not a culture that was necessarily "pathogen-free." The risk that
the vaccine may contain contaminant avian retroviruses still remains.
In addition, a stabilizing buffer containing potassium phosphate,
sucrose (table sugar) and nearly 0.5 mg of monosodium glutamate (MSG)
is added to each dose. 
the most troubling concerns over the injection of this "chemical soup"
is the potential for the viruses to enter directly into the brain.
At the top of the nasal passages is a paper-thin bone called the cribriform
plate. The olfactory nerves pass through this bone and line the nasal
passages, carrying messenger molecules to the brain that are identified
as "smells" familiar to us. The olfactory tract has long been recognized
as a direct pathway to the brain. Intranasal injection of certain
viruses has resulted in a serious brain infection called encephalitis,
presumably by direct infection of the olfactory neurons that carried
the viruses to the brain.  Time will tell whether the live viruses
in FluMist will become linked to cases of encephalitis.
companies do not necessarily always do a reasonable job of considering
the "down side" when they are pushing new drugs or new vaccines. FluMist
has the potential for causing the worst, most severe flu epidemic
seen in years. Parents tell their young children not to put things
up their noses because they might cause them harm. It would be wise
to consider that advice for adults. With all the risks involved, one
should be extremely cautious about what one allows to be sprayed in
from Chet: Click
here for my special report containing 37 natural cold and
flu home remedies.
Business News. Sept. 12, 2003. FluMist Available In Pharmacies
This Fall. http://biz.yahoo.com/djus/030910/0017000011_2.html
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Post. Spray vaccine for flu wins FDA clearance. June 18, 2003.
Madjid. Influenza as a bioweapon. J.R.Soc.Med. 2003;96:345-346.
Neil. MedImmune awaits the $1 billion mark and a new flu drug.
The Business Gazette. Feb. 7, 2003. http://www.gazette.net/200306/business/news/143250-1.html
T., et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlledtrial
of the safety, transmissibility and phenotypic stability of
a live, attenuated, cold-adapted influenza virus vaccine (CAIV-T)
in children attending day care. Presented at the 41st Annual
Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy,
(Chicago, IL). 2001
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and Harold Rubin, MS, ABD, CRC. September 26, 2003. Vaccinations
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