Episode 55 - Is Flu Shot As Ineffective As Nasal Mist?


Dr. Chad Edwards: This is Dr. Chad Edwards, and you are listening to Podcast 55

of, Against the Grain.

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Welcome to ‘Against the Grain podcast’ with Dr. Chad Edwards, where he

challenges the status quo when it comes to medicine. We get into hot topics in the

medical field with real stories, from real patients to help you on your way to a healthy

lifestyle. Get ready because we’re about to go, go, go– against the grain.

Marshall Morris: Hello, hello. This is the super tall Marshall Morris, and I am here

joined today with Dr. Chad Edwards, who believes that at least, 80% of medical

recommendations are complete crap, technically speaking here. Dr. Edwards, his

credentials are just incredible. He served in the US Army, he is the author of

Revolutionize Your Health With Customized Supplements. He’s the founder of

revolutionhealth.org, Board Certified Family Physician. Dr. Edwards, welcome to the

podcast episode today.

Dr. Edwards: Thanks. It’s great to be here.

Marshall: Yes.

Dr. Edwards: How are you doing today?

Marshall: I shamelessly – this is my confession. It’s like a confessional.

Dr. Edwards: Okay.

Marshall: My mom was Catholic, but this is kind of like, let’s take two minutes, and

this is the nutrition confessional.

Dr. Edwards: Okay.

Marshall: I’ve had two cups of coffee and two Monsters today. How do I get off that?

Dr. Edwards: Well, first, bless you, my child.


Dr. Edwards: Well, the first thing to do is to just stop, just don’t do that.

Marshall: Just don’t do that.

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Dr. Edwards: Right.

Marshall: Fair enough. For all the listeners out they’re probably asking, “Energy

drinks or coffee is one better or worse than the other?”

Dr. Edwards: Well, you got to figure the amount of sugar in a lot of the energy

drinks. I’m not a fan of a lot of artificial sweeteners. I would honestly rather have for

average – otherwise healthy physiology. I would rather have sugar than a lot of the

artificial sweetener crap. We will have a podcast- We should do that soon, have one

of those soon. Maybe I’ll go plan that this weekend and be ready for one of the

upcoming ones.

I would eliminate those things, get to look at what else is in there. As far as straight

up plain coffee, and not looking at dairy sensitivity or sugar or things like that, there’s

actually some benefit. If you listen to Dave Asbury’s stuff, he talks about– he’s the

Bulletproof Executive, great stuff he’s got a great podcast. He talks about life hacks

and things like that and he’s got some really good stuff out there. He talks about

some of the micro-toxins, some fungus stuff in coffee and the way it’s grown and

handled. He’s got some stuff that- I don’t know if this is a shameless plug. I’ve never

talked with Dave I get nothing from this–


Dr. Edwards: — but I believe in what he’s doing and he’s got some good clean stuff,

and he sells a good, high-quality coffee, and you could consider something like that

without all those micro-toxins. Definitely, something to look at and he’s much more of

an expert on the coffee realm than I am. Then the energy drink piece, again

watching all the artificial junk that comes in a lot of them, I would rather have the

sugar than a lot of the year artificial stuff. But you have to look at how much sugar is

in them, and some of those things are jam-packed. You might as well just open your

mouth and pour the sugar in. It’s crazy how much stuff that- I’m not saying that I

never drink them, but it’s got an insane amount of sugar Tulsa prolotherapy.

Marshall: Don’t make a habit of it.

Dr. Edwards: It’s not that you drink some of those, it’s that you had a total of four of

them. Especially like a monster, you get those big ones, and some of those things

are like, fifty-five- gallon drum, they are gigantic. It’s an enormous amount of stuff in


Marshall: It’s a lot.

Dr. Edwards: If you look at the labels, and you’ve got to be careful looking at those

labels, and you see, “Oh, there’s only 13 grams of sugar in one serving.”

Marshall: In in one serving and mostly more than one serving.

Dr. Edwards: Right, and some of those things are probably like 12 servings.

Marshall: Oh gosh.

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Dr. Edwards: You can feed a small town in Ethiopia [laughs].

Marshall: This will be ongoing therapy between you and I. Not to derail us too

much, but let’s see if you can bring it around to today’s hot topics.

Dr. Edwards: Yes, in the interim, you mentioned 80% of medical recommendations

being crap. That’s what we’re going to talk about today. We’re going to talk about

one of these. I just came across the teletype this week that the Advisory Committee

on Immunization Practices, ACIP, recommended that the flu nasal spray not to be

used for the upcoming flu season Tulsa prolotherapy. To put that in perspective, for the last several

years we’ve had two options, and we won’t go into the differences between the two

options, but you’ve got the flu shot which is an Inactivated Influenza Virus, IIV. Then

you have the nasal flu mist that you spray up your nose, so there’s no shot, but it’s a

attenuated live virus.

Marshall: What is attenuated?

Dr. Edwards: That means it’s altered slightly so that it’s typically not pathogenic,

also doesn’t cause disease, doesn’t cause the flu but it certainly elicits an immune

response, and a lot of people would say, “I got the flu shot, and it worked, I got the

flu,” It can happen. In fact, earlier on, we had a podcast on the flu, and I don’t mean

to rehearse that, but I do want to talk about some of the implications of this

recommendation. As I read this, I was like, “I wonder why they said that; not to use it

for 2016/2017.” I was just like, “Why?” When I read the paper on it, and this is a

quote, “New data show that the nasal mist has been ineffective for the last three

influenza seasons, so, 2013 to 2016.” It’s been ineffective for those last seasons,

and so they’ve said, “Well we don’t recommend it because it doesn’t work.” Well, that

was really interesting to me because the flu shot doesn’t work either. Some people

may say, “What?” What are you saying? I wanted to just run through some of the

history of the flu shot– .

Marshall: Sure.

Dr. Edwards: — and I don’t remember how much of this we did before, you can

certainly go back and listen to it, but I’m just going to kind of list out some of this stuff

as far as the history of the flu shot.

In 1947, this was shortly after the flu shot became available, they found that the

incidence of disease flu was no different in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals,

that started in 1947. In 1957, the vaccine had no appreciable effect on the trend of

the Asian flu pandemic. By the early 1960s, routine influenza vaccination was

generally adopted as a policy with very little supporting evidence Tulsa prolotherapy.

In 1964, the Chief Epidemiologist at the CDC, his name was Alexander Langmuir, L-

A-N- G-M- U-I- R, he was the Chief Epidemiologist, Physician, MD and an MPH;

Master’s in Public Health- “Reluctantly concluded that there is little progress to be

reported,” and referring as to the making progress on reducing the mortality in

reducing the incidence of flu.” It went on to say that, “The severity of the epidemic of

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1962 to 1963 demonstrates the failure to achieve effective control of excess

mortality.” We’re talking down in the 1960s.

In 1964, his paper question whether the widespread immunization practice should

be continued without better evidence to justify the major costs to the general public.

In 1968, the CDC performed its first randomized plus double-blind trial and quote,

“Despite extensive use of influenza vaccines, attainment of improved morbidity-

mortality has never been demonstrated.” That was in 1968 by a study done by the


In 1976, swine flu appeared for the first time as a potential pandemic. They feared

that it was going to be this big pandemic, and it was going to kill a bunch of people,

like what we saw in the 19-teens. What they found was lower levels than expected

of the flu, but there was an epidemic of paralytic Guillain-Barré syndrome in

recipients of vaccine, which led to the program’s cancellation. They quit using the

vaccine temporarily because of this epidemic of Guillain-Barré. Guillain-Barré, for

those of the listeners that don’t know, is like, when you are getting an immunization

you are trying to load your immune system and build antibodies so that you can

fight a potential infection. The way our immune system works, it’s like– I think about

getting an APB out for red Nissan pickups. Your immune system is going to develop

an antibody to all red Nissan pickups. But there’re old red Nissan pickups, and

there’s new red Nissan pickups, and you can have some cross-reactivity, what we

call molecular mimicry. Basically, Guillain-Barré is kind of an autoimmune disorder

where you get the immunization, and your body develops antibodies against itself,

kind of attacks itself, and it causes paralysis Tulsa prolotherapy.

Usually, that’s temporary, but it’s quite called an ascending paralysis. It starts low, in

your feet, and it works its way up. It can be severe as to require ventilation, so

intubate it and be on a ventilator. The incidence of that continues. Current estimates

are that it’s one in a million, two in a million, not very common. But when you

consider the number of flu vaccines and factors, roughly 171 million influenza

vaccines that are projected to be given-

Marshall: 171 million?

Dr. Edwards: Right, we’re looking at just under 200 cases, but between 200 to 350

cases of potentially fatal Guillain-Barré because of the flu. According to the data has

never been shown to be effective. In the 1976, they saw this epidemic of this stuff,

and this is one of the potential harms of the flu shot. In 1977 an analysis was

conducted by the CDC which concluded that influenza control had been generally

ineffective and that statistically valid community trials were needed, in 1977. Again,

we’re 30 years into this, and we’re still not seeing improvement.

In 1995, we’re in the 90s, FDA acknowledged the ongoing paucity of randomized

trials and warned about a series of methodological flaws in many existing flu vaccine

studies. We’re just not getting good data, and we’re not getting good results on the

flu shot. In 2000, into the 2000s, in the new millennium, CDC performed a placebo

control trial and found that vaccination, when compared to placebo, may not provide

overall economic benefit in most years. CDC, in the 2000s, not seeing anything yet.

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In 2004 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended annual flu

immunization, and I just put that in as another milestone. Then in 2012, the

systematic review concluded recommendation to vaccinate the elderly was made

without data for vaccine efficacy or effectiveness. In other words, we’re making

recommendations, “Go get your flu shot,” based on no scientific data. We probably

need to take a break and then we come back we’ll summarize a lot of this stuff and

why I think this is another one of the many loads of crap that we’re fed.

Marshall: We’re getting into it. It’s a little bit of a holy war against immunization.

Dr. Edwards: I’ll talk about that after the break too.

Marshall: All right.

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Marshall: All right. We are back, and we’re talking about the flu shot immunization

and everything that that entails. You started off talking about the nasal spray; the

recommendation that the past three seasons, the nasal spray has been proven


Dr. Edwards: Right.

Marshall: Then, in the first half of the podcast we were talking about the history of

the flu shot and the studies associated with it and how they were documenting that

there has been no progress using the flu shot-

Dr. Edwards: That’s correct.

Marshall: -in decreased mortality rate or infection. Get us into why is this such a big

deal or why is this happening?

Dr. Edwards: Well, that’s a good question and what you alluded to one thing right

before the break about immunization practice in general. Let me differentiate. There

are some immunizations that I am extremely in favor of. For example, I work in the

emergency room, and I see patients that get bitten by a dog. A patient the other day

got bit by a bat, the mammal that flies and can’t see in the middle of the dark, a bat.

Marshall: Blind as a bat.

Dr. Edwards: Exactly. I was deployed with the military to Honduras in 2014, and we

had one of our service members that got bit by a local dog. What happens with

them, if you have not been vaccinated against rabies prophylactically, you’re

required to get rabies immune globulin. This immune globulin against rabies and you

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have to actually inject it, like if you get bit on the hand or on the arm, you have to

inject it all around that area.

Marshall: Is it like with a shot or it’s a liquid.

Dr. Edwards: Yes, it’s an injection, and you have to infiltrate into the wound as

much as possible. Then you get the rest of it like a shot in the hip. That’s no joke. I

had a patient, both the one that got bit by a bat and another one that got bit by a

stray dog, it was a pit bull; this was in the emergency room. This dog, pit bull, came

out of the woods literally, mangy, nasty-looking, all that kind of good stuff. The guy

saw the dog, turned to look the other way and then when he turned to look the other

way, the dog bit him in the back of the leg and then just ran back off into the woods.

You don’t have access to the animal; you can’t test the animal and there was a lady

that got bit by a bat in her hand. Neither one of these patients had insurance and

that rabies immune globulin was around $24,000 to give them.

We’re sitting here. It’s very frustrating because we have to make medical decisions

not based on cost in the emergency room and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re

going to do whatever is in the best interest of that patient. Now, there’s a piece of

that, that there’s never, at least not in a hundred years, been a documented case of

a dog giving a human rabies. It’s this relatively low risk of the person having a true

contact, now bat higher risk, but then if somebody told me, “This patient doesn’t

have insurance,” am I going to give this patient $24,000 rabies immune globulin

knowing that this is relatively low risk? The reason that without question I pulled the

trigger on that and say, “Yes, we’re going to do it,” it’s because if you miss it, it’s

fatal. By the time you get symptoms, you’re pretty much going to die.

Marshall: I feel like we need to do an entire episode on physicians having to make

decisions based on insurance, you know what I mean?

Dr. Edwards: Yes, absolutely.

Marshall: Because I think that’s such a mental– It’s stressful. I would imagine, and

so I feel like we could get into that on one of the episodes.

Dr. Edwards: Yes, it’s not an easy decision. I’ve had to consciously make that

decision and I just– The nurses were standing there talking to me, and I said, “Okay,

guys. Do we make decisions? Do we discuss the cost with any other therapy with

any of our other patients?” They were like, “No,” and I said, “Then we’re not having

that discussion on this one.” We’re going to do what’s in the best interest of the

patient. We’re not going to worry about the cost because if we miss it on this guy,

he’s dead.” If he was exposed and we don’t treat him, he’s dead so what’s your life

worth? Even if you are on welfare and have to come up with $24,000 or something,

whatever it is, if you don’t have $24,000 and don’t have a way to get $24,000 what

you going to do? But what’s your life worth? That’s the decision that we have to

make, and I’m going to embrace that. It is what it is.

The reason that I bring that up is because if you had the rabies immunization, then–

For example, since I was with Special Operations, we had an extensive list of

immunizations that we had to get. One of them was the rabies vaccine series. I’m

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actually very glad that I got that one because if I got bit by a dog in Honduras or like

this guy, then I go to the emergency room, and they say, “Okay, you’ve had a rabies

immunization. Let’s give you your booster.” They give me a rabies immunization,

and I walk out the door. That’s it. The difference is one person has to pay $24,000,

or the insurance has to pay $24,000 for rabies immunoglobulin, and they also get

the immunization versus me, I just have to get an update to my immunization.

Marshall: Sure.

Dr. Edwards: The cost difference is dramatic. I do travel and some with the military

and some civilian, and those kinds of things. I’ve done mission trips, and I love going

to Honduras. There’s always the potential of exposure like that, and if I’m in a third

world country, and get bit by a rabid dog, what am I going to do?

Marshall: Now how does that compare to the exposure to the flu then?

Dr. Edwards: While there are fatalities to the flu virus, I’m not going to underplay

that. You’re talking about what are the chances of dying from the flu if you get the

flu. I’ve never in my medical practice period, I have never seen anyone die from the

flu. We know it happens, I’m not underplaying that. But we’ve seen lots of people

with flu, you feel awful, you feel horrible. When you look at the numbers most of the

time, you recover from it, and you go back to doing your thing Tulsa prolotherapy.

[coughs] When you contrast that with rabies if you get rabies, and you’re getting

symptoms, you’re dead. It’s 100% fatal at that point. When you’re balancing, this one

you get sick and feel awful, risk of dying is relatively low. This one you get it, and

you die. When you look at risks and benefits, then that’s a no-brainer to me. With

rabies, relatively low incidents. In other words, how many people get bit by stray

dogs. That doesn’t happen very often. Not that you can 100% control for that, but

you can reduce your risk. With flu, it just is what it is. You can lock yourself in your

house and not see anybody, but nobody does that except for hermits. You can’t

control how you get the flu. You can certainly do things like wash your hands and

protect your mouth when you cough, and not be around other people when you’re

coughing and sneezing and those kinds of things, but you can’t a 100% control for

that. The issue is, if you get rabies, you’re dead. If you get flu, you’re probably not.

It’s a risk-benefit thing.

The second thing is when you look at certain immunizations, they are extremely

powerful. With smallpox, arguably the first vaccine that prevents you from getting

smallpox. In fact, we’ve effectively eradicated smallpox disease through vaccination

principles. The World Health Organization declared it eradicated, although we still

have some in the labs, but that vaccine works. You get the rabies vaccine, that

vaccine works. The flu shot doesn’t work. That’s from the CDC, that’s from the FDA,

that’s from all of these different organizations and people since its inception in the

1940’s. When you look at the most recent systematic reviews, there’s not significant

evidence that it works. Some will say the flu shot absolutely works; now there’s a

difference between effectiveness and efficacy.

Marshall: What’s the difference?

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Dr. Edwards: Efficacy means that when I give you an immunization, that your body

develops antibodies against that antigen. The antigen is what would cause the

disease or at least associate it with. If you get the flu shot, it is efficacious. It does

cause your body to make antibodies against it. The problem is that it is not effective.

It is not been shown to be effective in reducing the incidents of the flu, and that has

been in study after study. There are some studies that will show it but like this one,

let me go back one page. Like the one that says in 1995 when the FDA

acknowledged the ongoing paucity of randomized trials and warned about serious

methodological flaws in many existing flu vaccine studies.

When you read the Cochrane reviews in 2010 to 2012 on the flu shot, they talked

directly about the funding, the influence of the industry, who paid for the study, how

did they conduct the study and the results that they got. But when you look at it

objectively, there is clearly a bias in the studies that are conducted on the flu shot.

When you remove that bias, there’s not good evidence that it works.

Marshall: I feel like the overwhelming message that I’m still receiving is, “Go get

your flu shot,” more than, “Don’t go get a flu shot or get the nasal spray?” Why are

we still seeing or hearing that then?

Dr. Edwards: I think there’s a couple of things. Number one, I think there’s the

possibility, and again I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I think there’s the possibility

of lobbying with governmental influence. You get the ASIP is a panel, and I believe

there were sixteen members; fourteen that voted in favor of making this

recommendation to not use the nasal spray, and then two that did not vote again,

one abstained, and one had some other issue, may’ve been conflict of interest or

something like that. But there’s the potential for influence on these panel members,

and I’m not saying that they were influenced, I don’t know that, but there’s always

that question. Is the pharmaceutical industry or the manufacturers these flu shots

influencing these physicians? Most physicians would say, “No, I’m not influenced by

that,” and study after study shows that it does make a difference. It does change the

physician’s mindset about prescribing habits.

Marshall: When you talk about influence, what kind of magnitude, you said a 171


Dr. Edwards: Million.

Marshall: Vaccinations or-

Dr. Edwards: That’s what they anticipated for the coming year.

Marshall: Yes, 171 million times– how much is the average flu shot or nasal spray?

Dr. Edwards: I don’t know what the cost is. Most places you can probably get it for

15 bucks or something like that.

Marshall: Okay.

Dr. Edwards: You’re probably talking $4, $5, maybe a couple of dollars for the

actual cost of the vaccine it’s-

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Marshall: Cost of it if four or five dollars but they’re charging fifteen dollars a pop.

That’s a billion dollars.

Dr. Edwards: Yes.

Marshall: That’s a billion dollar season thing. That’s pretty significant.

Dr. Edwards: Exactly, and that raises the next piece which is why would they make

the recommendation to stop the nose spray but they’ve never made a

recommendation to not use the flu shot? Interestingly in their recommendation they

talk about this very thing that the nose spray only accounts for 8% of the 171 to 176

million doses of influenza protection for the next year. They’re looking at the data,

and they are saying, “If this doesn’t work,” and I’m not saying that they consciously

thought this but, “This doesn’t work, and if you just don’t look at the other stuff then it

won’t come to light.” But to get a piece of that is that looking at efficacy versus


If you go to revolutionizehealth.org and search in the search bar on the website for

flu, one of them is like all you need to know about the flu shot. I post in that article;

there’s a portion of package insert from one of the flu shots called fluvial. In it, it says

exactly that, “The recommendations for this shot are based on efficacy, and it has

not been proven to prevent flu.” Says it right there on the handout. It goes back to

efficacy versus effectiveness, and so you have to be very careful about interpreting

the data. They’re talking about the ability of the body to make antibodies, or they are

talking about preventing flu. I would argue that no one cares if you have antibodies if

it doesn’t prevent the flu. When you look at the epidemiological data for the last 50

years, where’s the evidence that it makes a difference?

The Cochrane reviews don’t show it. Statistically or historically, it doesn’t show it.

We’ve got something that hasn’t been shown to be effective, and now they are

coming out and saying, “Don’t use the nose spray because it doesn’t work but these

others do but are they looking at efficacy or effectiveness?” I didn’t get a chance to

read those actual reports myself.

Marshall: This is serious.

Dr. Edwards: I agree

Marshall: This is serious. Coming full circle, the nasal spray, finally, has been

recommended that it is not working, let’s cancel that, it’s not been shown to be

effective. But when you look at the data, none of it’s been shown to be effective.

Dr. Edwards: Correct.

Marshall: This is a big deal and for all the listeners out there in terms of next steps

form, you can read more about everything that you need to know about the flu,

revolutionhealth.org. What would you say for this upcoming season? In terms of

whether they’re deciding to get the flu shot or not?

Dr. Edwards: You got to remember that many people don’t have a choice. If you

work in a hospital, they almost threaten your life with, “You have to get the flu shot.”

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Again, it’s barbaric tactics based on no sound evidence, and some people say that

in fact, I’ve heard this, that you got to get your flu shot so that you don’t transmit it to

your patients. That was actually studied, and it was shown that it doesn’t work. Yet

we had these recommendations.

What do I recommend, I’ve got a couple of posts on the website where I talk about

what to do to prevent the flu itself, and what can you do to treat the flu itself. But

then I also talk about what do you do if you have to get the flu shot and how to

manage that. We’ll have those as podcasts coming up soon. We’re not quite in the

flu season, but as we get closer, we’ll start having more stuff about them.

Marshall: Dr. Edwards, thank you so much for sharing this today. The grass is

green, the sky is blue, studies show the flu shot doesn’t work.

Dr. Edwards: [laughs] That’s right. And you have to pay your taxes.

Marshall: And you have to pay your taxes. Thank you so much.

Dr. Edwards: Thanks.

Announcer: Thanks for listening to this week’s podcast with Dr. Chad Edwards.

Tune in next week, where we’ll be going, Against the Grain.