Dear Dr Trochet,
I am a registered nurse, and I am not accepting the flu vaccine. I have now been wearing a surgical mask for five shifts in accordance with your order, and to wear it for eight hours is quite uncomfortable. I don’t feel as if I get enough air, it makes my nose stuffy, and my throat and airways dry and scratchy, with a burning sensation in my chest. I’m concerned that the physical insult to my airways will make me vulnerable to illnesses I would not otherwise get.
I’d like to let you know why I will not accept vaccination - and why I believe mandatory vaccination may be a dangerous policy :
1. I’m seriously concerned about effects on my own health. I am by no means convinced of the safety of vaccines which are created new each year and released on short notice after only a minimum of testing. I’ve read enough about suspected ill effects of vaccination to not want to use them personally.
My last experience with vaccination, in April of this year with the TDap vaccine, was alarming to me. Beginning the same day and lasting the next 2 1/2 weeks, I had at various times nausea, a bad taste in my mouth, abdominal cramping, headaches and a persistent lethargy and weakness. These last symptoms were particularly scary, as I’ve never felt quite that way, even when I’ve had the flu. I do not want to feel that way again – nor risk more serious effects.
2. I question vaccinating the entire public for an illness like flu. I realize from personal experience that the flu can be an exhausting, frightening, potentially dangerous illness ; however I feel we’re pushing a very aggressive and invasive measure, while neglecting much more basic ones.
The most convincing science I’ve read favors conservative prevention, health enhancement and immune strengthening measures, with meticulous conservative care when illness occurs. I believe a public health campaign in this direction would be more scientifically sound - and exceedingly more cost effective.
Dr Trochet, I am especially concerned about the overuse of fever suppressing medications in relation to flu. It’s scientifically well established that fever is the body’s key healing reaction to viral illnesses ; that viruses thrive in a low body temperature ; that they progressively lose their ability to reproduce as body temperature increases ; and in fact that fever kills them. I have also read that fever suppression can make viral infections worse, especially in their effects on the central nervous system.
Systematic public education on these facts, on safe conservative management of fevers, with sober scientific cautions on the use of antipyretics, could benefit public health enormously. I believe it could also reduce the dollar costs of flu and other viral illness to society greatly.
3. I question whether any current vaccination will accurately enough identify the current year’s flu strains to make it preventive or worth the risk. There are literally hundreds of influenza strains in the world, with constant new mutations. It seems unjustified to me to spend billions of dollars nationwide on fighting four or five strains.
4.There is no significant flu epidemic underway.
5. I work in a psychiatric hospital, not a medical hospital. The percentage of patients who fall into the high risk categories I’ve seen described is actually quite small.
6. I’m prepared to follow all standard and common sense precautions for not transmitting flu, as described in my employer’s annual mandatory e-learning .
Concerning my wearing a mask for the entire flu season, I want to note that this it is not required of unvaccinated patients or visitors to our hospital. Their potential infectious status is effectively ignored, while mine is to be treated as an emergency. Given this and the other factors I’ve mentioned, I feel that to require me to wear a mask is :
- Unfair and unequal treatment .
- A drastic measure, given 5 and 6 above.
- A coercive measure to force compliance with a questionable and possibly dangerous policy.
I am especially concerned by your recommendation that flu vaccination be made a condition of employment for healthcare workers. The mandatory vaccination “movement”, of which this is a part, asserts the government’s right to put any substance it chooses into the bodies of citizens, any time it chooses. Neither employers nor government have that right under the constitution, as far as I know.
7. As to the potential dangers of vaccines, a number of ingredients in flu vaccines have known toxic qualities. That the quantities are small does not make them acceptable, as seen by the effects of many medications, which produce very potent effects even when given in minute amounts.
While we may know the effects of these ingredients when taken orally, we know very little about their effects when taken by injection, when taken in combination with other ingredients, or when used repeatedly. Where are there long term animal studies to demonstrate the safety of multiple vaccinations with multiple substances ? In the absence of such studies, we give children close to 70 vaccinations before their 10th birthday. This seems to me incredibly dangerous.
Vaccination may be widespread, but it is also controversial, both in terms of science and the law. Below is a sample of concerns being expressed in this regard.
As the last two links indicate, this is not just a medical, but a civil rights issue. I agree that the Department of Health and Human Services should be active to promote public health, and in some cases I wish it would be more active. But in this case I request that you take serious stock of the cautions and criticisms being expressed about vaccination worldwide ; and that you reverse your “mandatory” directive concerning flu vaccination. If you cannot do this yourself, I’d appreciate it if you’d pass my observations and request further up your chain of command.
Jeff Smith RN
Sutter Center for Psychiatry