By Dr. Mercola
Recently the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, held an invitation-only call.The call was co-sponsored by the U.S. Health and Human Services, the Office of Minority Health, and CDC.Conspicuously, the end of the invitation read:“This call is off the record and is not for press purposes” -- but it became public when it showed up on the HHS website.Fortunately one of our staff was able to get on the call.The focus of the call was on getting faith-based organizations to sponsor flu clinics with Walgreens.Basically, they want to move inside your church, mosque or synagogue, and set up shop, with your pastor, priest, imam and rabbi on hand to convince you to get a flu shot.As an example, they cited a priest who stopped in the middle of mass to roll up his sleeve and get vaccinated, inspiring the rest of his parish to line up behind him.
Talk to God, Get a Shot
The idea of holding out your arm and getting a shot in the middle of a worship service, with your pastoral leader urging you on, really seems to be pushing it. The reason they’re doing this, health officials said on the phone, is that they’ve found that non-traditional settings such as worship services can be highly effective in influencing people’s decisions.Speaking directly to church leaders, Joshua DuBois, executive director of the White House Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership, said:“As trusted messengers, you’re able to spread messages and help get people vaccinated.”Zeroing in on minorities, particularly older adults, blacks and Latinos, health officials said churches, mosques and schools are places where barriers to vaccinations can be taken down, and these minorities can be convinced to get vaccinated. Besides hosting flu shot clinics, churches can also help by putting reminders in their bulletins, and by church members personally reminding others to get their shots, officials said.They even went so far as to encourage the churches to pay people’s insurance co-pays so they’d be more inclined to get the shots. For those who simply can’t pay anything, there’ll be 300,000 free shots given out as part of the flu vaccine crusade.
Who's Funding This?
The original concept of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, developed in 2001, was to help community leaders enhance the 1998 Initiative to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health.The partnership targets cancer screening, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, infant mortality, HIV/AIDS and vaccinations. It also originally covered complementary and alternative health care options, although that type of care, which would include health measures other than vaccines, was not even listed as an option during this phone conference.For at least 10 years, this collaboration of community-based volunteers, nonprofit organizations and faith-based groups worked at a grassroots level in their respective neighborhoods, funded by Congress through various health care grants.However, in 2010 the initiative took a turn with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which moved the initiative’s management to the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, paving the way for the federal government to fund and run projects like flu clinics right in your church.Interestingly, flu shots were already covered by most insurance plans, Medicare and the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program.But for some reason health officials have decided it’s OK to push the government into places of worship, mid-service, to sell and administer vaccines – and this no-press-allowed phone call reiterated that over and over again. I can only wonder which vaccine they’ll move into your church next, all in the name of “community health.”
The Secret's Out – Flu Shots Are Hardly Effective, If at All
In February 2011, new research showed that 76 percent of white seniors get flu vaccines, with 68 percent of English-speaking Hispanic seniors getting them, and 64 percent of Spanish-speaking Hispanic seniors doing so. In the phone conference, officials emphasized that they want to increase flu vaccine coverage beyond those numbers.But unfortunately, they neglected to mention the shocking lack of evidence supporting flu vaccines.The truth is flu vaccines just don’t do what the CDC claims they do. I’ve written about this several times so far this year and the past few years, along with major news media like Time Health. Even the Centers for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP)admitted on its website on November 4, 2011 that it’s time to revise public messages regarding this vaccine.Specifically, what happened is that a study published in the prestigious journal The Lancet revealed that flu shots provide only “moderate protection” against the flu, and in some seasons is altogether “reduced or absent.”Specifically, the Lancet said the vaccine is about 59 percent effective. But when you break the numbers down statistically, what it really works out to is that the vaccine prevents flu 1.5 times out of 100.That’s right. Using the Lancet’s own numbers, statistics show that the vaccine only works 1.5 times out of 100.It’s a far cry from the 60 percent the CDC claims on its website, or the 70 to 90 percent it claimed before it changed the numbers this year. Some people call this lying with statistics, but any way you look at it the secret’s out: flu vaccine statistics just don’t add up to warrant pushing them in your church – or anywhere for that matter.
The Real Way to Good Health this Winter
Only the CDC, HHS and the Faith-Based Partnership Center can say why they’re pushing flu vaccines in churches in the wake of statistics like this. So instead of trying to second-guess them, what I’ll do is offer up some good ways to stay healthy this winter.Ultimately it is the state of your immune system that determines whether or not you will get sick from being exposed to viral or bacterial organisms associated with infectious diseases like the flu.The key to boosting your immune system, then, and making it a "lean, mean, disease-fighting machine" lies in your lifestyle habits --healthy food, stress relief, exercise, sleep, and safe exposure to sunlight, among other things. Artificially manipulating your immune system with a vaccine to try to stay healthy is not the same thing, nor does it produce the same kind of immunity and sought-after, disease-fighting result. It may actually make you less healthy in the long run.Since numerous studies show that vitamin D boosts immunity, particularly vitamin D3, the first thing you want to do is make sure you maintain your vitamin D levels at 50-70 ng/ml year-round. The only way you can be sure of what your levels are is to be tested. For an in-depth explanation of everything you need to know before you get tested, please read my latest updates in Test Values and Treatment for Vitamin D Deficiency.While a supplement is OK, the best way to get your vitamin D is with safe exposure to sunshine, or by using a safe tanning bed (one with electronic ballasts rather than magnetic ballasts, to avoid unnecessary exposure to EMF fields). Other things that you can do include eating healthy, avoiding sugars and artificial sweeteners, exercising, and getting enough sleep. I address these issues in myfree nutrition plan here. My free one-hour vitamin D lecture can help you here.