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Against the Grain with Dr. Chad Edwards | Tulsa Sports Injury| Podcast 6 – Part 3
Bryan: Still, the initial foundational studies show, again, that there was no decrease in someone, you or I let’s say, you get the vaccine, I get the vaccine, it doesn’t necessarily prohibit us from getting the flu.
Chad: When we’re going back to the scientific studies, we are not looking at what is your chance. We’re looking at what is the chance of someone like you. Does that make sense?
Bryan: Yes, it makes sense.
Chad: You have to look at it in generalizations because we’re not looking that specifically. It’s a statistical analysis.
Bryan: I would encourage anyone, I think it was either Podcast 1 or 2, to go back and look at how lab results are done and compared. The same podcast where we talk about how people are measured in masses versus individuals. It would be helpful for people to listen to.
Chad: Absolutely. I totally agree with that. Okay, so 1957 had a new pandemic. It was called the Asian flu. Wasn’t as bad as that one in the 1918-1919 time frame, but we did see one to two million fatalities worldwide, so still killed a lot of people. Again, more fear. It’s a bad illness, bad disease. They developed a vaccine to it. Millions of doses administered in the United States in response. Vaccine had no appreciable effect on the trend of the pandemic.
We’re talking about millions of doses that were given and from a public health perspective and did this really make any impact on how many people got the flu, we didn’t notice a specific event. When you’re talking about these scientific studies, you have to be careful. Did they study the right people? We’re just looking at this big melting pot and you just throw a bunch of flu vaccine into it and then we say, “Did it make any difference in how many people got the flu?” I just want to use caution when we interpret this data. Same with the data that we get today. It’s more specific, but I think more skewed in many ways.
Okay, as we continue to go through here, we started doing this routine vaccination in the 1960’s. In this 1950 pandemic, when they didn’t really see a difference, they explained that away as there was a failure of the flu vaccine because the immunization campaign that they started was too little, too late. It just didn’t have enough time to make an impact.
In 1960, they started the first routine, annual vaccination and they emphasized these high-risk groups, including those over the age of 65 and individuals with chronic illness. By the early 1960’s, we had routine vaccination policy adoption. We were adopting routine vaccinations. Basically, “Everybody get your flu shot,” which is what we here today, but there was very little evidence to support this routine policy because, as we can see, in the 1940’s and the 1950’s, it just didn’t have an appreciable effect based on the information that we had.
In 1964, Alexander Langmuir, he was an MD/MPH, so physician, Master of Public Health. He was the chief epidemiologist at the CDC. Published a paper and his words were, “Reluctantly concluded that there is little progress to be reported. The severity of the epidemic of 1962-1963 demonstrate the failure to achieve effective control of excess mortality.” That was the chief epidemiologist. Epidemiology is looking at the distribution of disease and illness and those kinds of things, and he basically said it hasn’t made a difference in how many people die from the flu.
Bryan: The CDC is the Center for Disease Control.
Bryan: Let me ask you, on that note, does the CDC actually make and has made the flu vaccine, they distribute the flu vaccination? How does that work?
Chad: No, we’ll get into the manufacture of the flu vaccination and where do they get the strains. We’ll get into that.
Bryan: That’s great. That’d be helpful to know. The point is is that he’s saying in 1964 that these have no real effective change.
Chad: To control that excess mortality. We’re trying to prevent death. When we look at these pandemics, big deal. We don’t want people to die from this stuff.
Bryan: Before we move on to current day, what’s your takeaway on why? What is the reason for so many death proportionately versus now? Is it health care system?
Chad: I think it’s overall health, access to care, health in general. In the past, infectious disease was a big killer. We don’t see as much of that today. Part of it’s because if you get a secondary pneumonia, secondary infection, we’re able to treat those things. We didn’t use to have ventilators. We used to have an iron lung with polio. Now we don’t need an iron lung. We actually have ventilators. We have a lot of support things that we can do to help people in that regard. I think that has a lot to do with mortality.
Let me be very clear. This podcast is Against the Grain. We’re challenging mainstream dogma about the delivery of health care and medical care. However, when it comes to trauma care, acute care illness, there is no other place on the planet I would rather be. I’ve been multiple places. There is no other place on the planet that I would rather be if I’m going to get in a car accident, if I’m going to have surgery, I’m going to get sick, need an ICU, I want to be in this country. We are the best in the world at trauma and acute care. My issue is chronic illness and the prevention of things like diabetes. That’s where I think we’ve gone awry.
Bryan: I think to that point there’s a misconception of when I look at a statistic like this, it’s probably been generated over time. As we work through the facts here and the history of the flu vaccination, that a lot of the success that’s been at least perceived to be the result of this vaccine has actually been the result of an improved health care system here at home for incidences like pneumonia.