Why do some people think that getting a flu vaccine can cause them to get RSV?
The usual suspects…
Do Flu Vaccines Cause RSV?
Like the flu, RSV or respiratory syncytial virus, causes infections during cold and flu season.
Unlike the flu, we don’t yet have an RSV vaccine, but that hasn’t stopped anti-vax folks from trying to link them together.
Of course it is silly think that a flu shot could cause a child to develop RSV.
For one thing, you can just look at who gets RSV, especially severe RSV infections.
“The average seasonal RSV hospitalization rate in this study was 5.2 per 1000 children who were <24 months old, but the rate varied by season as much as fourfold. Nevertheless, 1-month-old infants consistently were most likely to be hospitalized, almost twice as often as the next 2 most at-risk groups: infants <1 month old and infants 2 months old. These youngest infants accounted for an important proportion of all children admitted with RSV infection in the first 2 years of life: 11% were infants <1 month old, 44% were ≤2 months old, and only 36% were >5 months old.”
Hall et al on Respiratory syncytial virus-associated hospitalizations among children less than 24 months of age
While anyone can get RSV, even adults, it is infants who are under 6 months old that typically are at the greatest risk to have severe infections. And of course, these kids are too young to even have a flu vaccine!
Anyway, the whole idea that “RSV is an adverse reaction from flu vaccine” comes from the misuse of a study, Increased risk of noninfluenza respiratory virus infections associated with receipt of inactivated influenza vaccine, that doesn’t even mention RSV.
“Being protected against influenza, TIV recipients may lack temporary non-specific immunity that protected against other respiratory viruses.”
Cowling et al on Increased risk of noninfluenza respiratory virus infections associated with receipt of inactivated influenza vaccine
And it is very important to keep in mind that it was a small study about interference caused by non-specific immunity.
Another larger study that did include RSV, “Influenza vaccination is not associated with detection of noninfluenza respiratory viruses in seasonal studies of influenza vaccine effectiveness,” found that “influenza vaccination was not associated with detection of noninfluenza respiratory viruses.”
What to Know About Flu Vaccines Causing RSV
The bottom line is that flu vaccines do not cause RSV and do not increase your risk of getting RSV.
And know that until we get a better, universal flu vaccine, folks should know that talk about flu vaccine effectiveness is largely academic, as a yearly flu vaccine remains the best way to protect yourself from getting the flu and developing serious complications from the flu.
Do One Out of 39 Vaccinated Children Suffer Serious Injuries?
If they actually took the time to read the report cited in the post, the pilot study conducted by the Federal Agency for Health Care Research (AHCR) via the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) back in 2010, they would actually see that it doesn’t actually say anything about serious vaccine injuries.
The study, which look at VAERS reports, was actually talking about ALL possible reactions after a child was vaccinated, so would include more mild reactions, like fever, pain, and redness at the injection site.
“The same study found that typical clinicians see 1.3 vaccine injuries per month.”
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Chairman, Children’s Health Defense
In case you haven’t recognized it yet, they are talking about the infamous “Harvard study.”
“Parents from around Southern California choose Gordon for his outspoken and controversial stance on vaccinations, driving from as far away as Santa Barbara and Long Beach.
They know he will lend a sympathetic ear to their concerns about the possible adverse side effects of childhood vaccinations — even though several large scientific studies have failed to find a connection.
His openness to alternative approaches has earned him an avid following. With thousands of patients, his practice is so busy that he no longer accepts new patients.”
Los Angeles Times on Doctor Contrarian
Often described as a celebrity pediatrician, partly because he sees many of the kids of Hollywood celebrities, the Los Angeles Times once named him Doctor Contrarian.
How Jay Gordon On Bill Maher Helps Explain Our Anti-Vaccine Problems
Jay Gordon has become a bit of a celebrity in his own right too, with appearances on Good Morning America, with Cindy Crawford, the Ricki Lake Show, the Doctors, and he was even a regular on ABC TV’s Home Show back in the 1990s.
Although he claims he is not anti-vaccine, Jay Gordon has made many other statements over the years that had vaccine advocates shaking their heads.
His main idea is that vaccines should be given on a slower schedule, just one or two at a time and that some shouldn’t be given until kids are “developmentally solid.”
Of course, giving vaccines later just leaves these kids at risk to get a vaccine-preventable disease while they are waiting, without any extra benefit of fewer side effects.
“I talk much more quietly, because I have no proof.”
Talking on TV is not exactly talking quietly…
But let’s take a quick look at some of his statements on Real Time with Bill Maher to help those who might think that he is.
B. Maher: I’m just saying vaccines, like every medicine, has side effects… So let’s not deny that or pretend it doesn’t happen. Which ones? How much? How do we manage this? This is not crazy talk.
Jay Gordon: We don’t do it the way we should do it. Manufacturers don’t put… We don’t manufacture vaccines as well as we could. We have a schedule that is invariable for every single child, one size doesn’t really fit all. The polio vaccine that I would get as a 180 lb. man is the same that I give to a 12 lb. baby. We could do it a lot better. I don’t want to bring polio back. I don’t want to bring measles back. Measles is a nasty illness.
If he doesn’t understand the consequences of his slow vaccine schedule, especially if more parents actually started listening to him, then he is clearly not a vaccine expert.
Mostly, he seems to be an expert on pandering to parents who already have fears of vaccinating and protecting their kids.
And what he has never understood, even if he does get some of these parents to vaccinate on a slower schedule, his rhetoric likely gets many more parents started on the road to thinking vaccines are harmful or not necessary.
Jay Gordon has been wrong before, as you can see in the way he has changed his stance on the HPV vaccine, which he says he now gives, and he is wrong now.
And his advise is indeed contrary to that of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which makes you wonder why he is still allowed to be a member.
“There is no ‘alternative’ immunization schedule. Delaying vaccines only leaves a child at risk of disease for a longer period of time; it does not make vaccinating safer.
Vaccines work, plain and simple. Vaccines are one of the safest, most effective and most important medical innovations of our time. Pediatricians partner with parents to provide what is best for their child, and what is best is for children to be fully vaccinated.”
Karen Remley, MD, MBA, MPH, FAAP, Executive Director, American Academy of Pediatrics
Maybe its time that Doctor Contrarian stopped thinking everyone else is wrong and he takes a long and hard look at his own views on vaccines.
“Nothing I do is free. I feel like I should give you a little bit of a discussion before I recommend Tylenol, because of the impact on the liver. A discussion about ibuprofen, because of the impact on the kidneys. And when someone gets antibiotics from me, I talk to them. You know, there could be a yeast infection. You could get diarrhea and a rash. Sorry about the diarrhea and the rash. But with vaccines, the discussion is closed.”
Health care providers are hopefully all giving their patients a vaccine information sheet and informed consent, so the discussion is certainly not closed when they give kids vaccines.
Does Jay discuss the potential risks of delaying or skipping vaccines?
Will he say sorry about the rotavirus, measles, tetanus, and diphtheria?
Although he thinks he is taking the middle road, Jay Gordon simply helps fuel the modern anti-vaccine movement.
To be sure though, along the way, he certainly has been in the middle of things…
From his appearance on Good Morning America in 2000 to discuss why Cindy Crawford wasn’t vaccinating her baby, just as Wakefield was getting started, to testifying against SB277, California’s vaccine law, that didn’t work because doctors simply started writing unnecessary medical exemptions, he has been there. And let’s not forget that he was Jenny McCarthy‘s pediatrician!
“I’m just saying, ‘we don’t know shit,’ that’s why when doctors, when you get a diagnosis, the other doctor gives you another one. They say, right away, get a second opinion.”