Flu Shots - Beware of Toxic Additives
By Sherri Tenpenny, DO

One year ago this month, The Washington Post ran a story that not only extolled the use of the influenza vaccines but pushed for a new and improved version by saying, “Why wait for the pandemic to benefit from better flu vaccines?”(1) The story went on to say that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is planning to strengthen the flu shot “destined for the elderly” by adding an immune-boosting compound to the shot called an adjuvant.

An adjuvant is a substance added to produce a high antibody response using the smallest amount of virus (antigen) possible. By definition adjuvants are considered to be “pharmacologically active drugs.” They are designed to be “inert without inherent activity or toxicity” and yet they are required to “potently augment effects of the other compounds” in the vaccines. It is difficult to explain how a substance can be defined as “pharmacologically active” and at the same time be described as “inert and have no activity or toxicity.”

The limiting factor for approval of new adjuvants has been that most are far too toxic for use in humans. However, one adjuvant has been approved in Europe and its approval is on the way for use in the U.S. It is an oil-based adjuvant called MF-59, a compound primarily composed of squalene.

On first blush, squalene seems like a good choice for an adjuvant. Manufactured naturally in the liver, squalene is a precursor for cholesterol. In addition, squalene can be purchased at health food stores in its more commonly known form, “shark liver oil.” However, ingested squalene has a completely different effect on the body than injected squalene. When molecules of squalene enter the body through an injection, even at concentrations as small as 10 to 20 parts per billion, it can lead to self-destructive immune responses, such as autoimmune arthritis and lupus.(3)

Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain this reaction. Metabolically, squalene stimulates an immune response both excessively and nonspecifically. More than two dozen peer-reviewed scientific papers from ten different laboratories throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Australia have been published documenting the development of autoimmune disease in animals subjected to squalene-based adjuvants.(4) A convincing proposal for why this occurs includes the concept of “molecular mimicry” in which an antibody created against the squalene in MF59 can cross react with the body’s squalene on the surface of human cells. The destruction of the body’s own squalene can lead to debilitating autoimmune and central nervous system diseases.

The squalene in MF59 is not the only cause for concern. One of its components, Tween80 (polysorbate 80) is considered by vaccine manufacturers to be “inert” but is far from it. A study published in December, 2005 discovered that Tween80 can cause anaphylaxis, a sometimes fatal reaction characterized by a sharp drop in blood pressure, hives, and breathing difficulties. Researchers concluded that the severe reaction was not a typical allergic response characterized by the combination of IgE antibodies and the release of histamines; it was caused by a serious disruption that had occurred within the immune system.(5)

Vaccine manufacturer Chiron is already using MF59 in its European influenza vaccine for seniors called Fluad™. It remains to be seen if Chiron will gain approval for using this adjuvant-containing vaccine in the U.S. In the mean time—and for the first time—all children from age six months to five years will be targeted for the flu shot this fall. Expect even more children to be on the vaccine list as early as 2007; discussions are underway to mandatorily vaccinate the healthy five to nine year-old group as a school requirement.

A record 121 million doses of flu vaccine was produced for the 2006-2007 flu season and production is being ramped up to 140 million doses for the coming flu season. Be prepared for a huge push to get everyone vaccinated this fall. Consider it to be psychological pre-conditioning. The plan is to get each person ready—and eager—to roll up their sleeve for an injection of the “pandemic” flu vaccine when it becomes available.

Retaining freedom of choice will become increasingly important for those who want to refuse. Get politically active by joining the American Association for Health Freedom at health freedom, the organization on Capitol Hill that lobbies for a person's right to choose and the practitioners right to practice. Self-appointed experts at the WHO and the CDC who really believe the only way to survive a pandemic to be innoculated with viruses and chemicals will be pressuring you to comply. Don't let the bird flu vaccine become mandatory in your State.

When the media begins to, once again, shriek about the coming bird flu pandemic by urging everyone to be vaccinated, remember that the bird flu vaccine will be largely untested. Worse, it will be no more effective than the annual flu shot and there is a high probability it will contain MF-59.

(1) Neergaard, Lauren. “Experts Say Elderly Need Better Flu Shot.” The Washington Post. April 17, 2006.
(2) Kenney, R. T., Edleman, R. “Survey of human-use adjuvants,” Expert Review of Vaccines 2 (2) (2003): 167–188.
(3) Ref. No. 1: Svelander, L., Holm, B. C., Buchtt, A., Lorentzen, J. C., Svelander, L. “Responses of the rat immune system to arthritogenic adjuvant oil,” Scandinavian Journal of Immunology 54 (2001): 599–605. PMID: 11902335.
(4) Matsumoto, Gary. Vaccine A: The Covert Government Experiment That’s Killing Our Soldiers and Why GIs Are Only the First Victims Vaccine. (New York: Basic Books)
(5) Coors, Esther A., Seybold, Heidi, Merk, Hans, Mahler, Vera. “Polysorbate 80 in medical products and nonimmunologic anaphylactoid reactions,” Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology 95 (2005): 593–599.

Dr. Sherri J. Tenpenny is respected as one of the country’s most knowledgeable and outspoken medial doctors regarding the negative impacts of vaccines on health. Through her education company, NMA Media Press, she spreads her vision of retaining freedom of choice in healthcare, including the freedom to refuse vaccination.

Her three hour DVD, Vaccines: The Risk, The Benefits and The Choices , her new book FOWL! Bird flu: It’s Not What You Think (mostly about the flu vaccine), and many other books, tapes and materials are available at

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