The Flu: To Vaccinate or NOT to Vaccinate? THAT is the Question

(Reprinted from Atlas Newsletter October 2009)

This question has been on the tip of peopleʼs lips this season. Many have asked me what I think. Many have already received their vaccines. Others have been procrastinating, and perhaps wondering if they should bother.

Before I give you my viewpoint, I wanted to bring to light the worst flu epidemic in American history. I suppose the media keeps trying to brace the public for a deadly epidemic of this order. But it would be healthy to put the worst American flu epidemic in perspective with this yearʼs flu season in terms of magnitudes of cases of flu, number of deaths and, surprisingly, how chiropractic played a role then and can play a role now.

According to the CDC, slightly more than 411 people have died nationwide since August from laboratory-confirmed flu. Another 2,416 have died from flu and pneumonia-related syndromes. However, in 1917-1918, there was a Spanish flu epidemic in which 500,000 Americans died. Obviously many, many more were sick. 20 million worldwide were thought to have died but recent estimates believe as many as 100 million people worldwide died from this flu.  In the book titled, “The Official History of Chiropractic in Texas” by Dr. Walter Rhodes, DC and published by the Texas Chiropractic Association, it is told how many patients who contracted the flu during that epidemic were sent home to die. But many patients who were treated by a chiropractor were saved.

For instance, in Davenport, IA, which is where the founding chiropractic school is located, 50 medical doctors treated 4,953 cases of flu and 274 deaths.  But 150 chiropractors, including students and faculty at Palmer Chiropractic School in Davenport, IA treated 1,635 cases with only one death.

And in the whole state of Iowa, medical doctors treated 93,590 flu patients with 6,116 deaths. By contrast, 4,735 flu patients were treated by chiropractors with only 6 deaths.

The overall epidemic statistics were for every 10,000 flu cases which were treated with medical methods, 950 died. But for every 10,000 flu cases treated by drugless methods, there were only 25 deaths. (Wholly cow!)

During World War I, Dr. S. T. McMurrain, DC was stationed in Perigua, France and set up a makeshift table in Base Hospital No. 84 in the influenza ward. The medical officer in charge sent all influenza patients in for chiropractic adjustments from Dr. McMurrain [DC] for the several months the epidemic raged in that area.  Lt. Col. McNaughton, the detachment commander, was so impressed he requested to have Dr. McMurrain [DC] commissioned in the Sanitary Corps.

Dr. Paul Myers [DC] of Wichita Falls was pressed into service by the County Health Officer and authorized to write prescriptions for the duration of the epidemic there – but Dr. Myers [DC] said he never wrote any, getting better results without medication.

Dr. Helen B. Mason [DC], whose “son, when only a year old, became very ill with bronchitis. My husband and I took him to several medical specialists without any worthwhile results. We called a chiropractor, as a last resort, and were amazed at the rapidity of his recovery. We discussed this amazing cure at length and came to the decision that if chiropractic could do as much for the health of other individuals as it had done for our son we wanted to become chiropractors.”

Dr. M. L. Stanphill, DC recalls that no member of his family contracted the flu.

Most chiropractors and their patients were miraculously spared and we repeatedly hear about those decisions to become a chiropractor after a remarkable recovery or when a close family member given up for dead suddenly came back to vibrant health. (Chapter 3.)

In the accounts listed in this book, chiropractors were struggling to maintain viable businesses. With the success chiropractors everywhere had at saving their patients from the flu, new patients were filling offices and the flu epidemic of 1917-1918 cemented chiropracticʼs survival for a public that wanted its product: better health with less drugs.

With respect to the current “flu scare”, I take the following things into account before deciding on the shot. lists the ingredients in all of the different brands of flu vaccines. (Search “flu vaccine ingredients”). One of the brands contains residual amounts of “nonylphenol ethoxylate”. says this is a surfactant used in detergents. Another brand of flu vaccination contains residual amounts of formaldehyde, an embalming agent. Another contains “hydrolyzed porcine gelatin”. Gelatin is one of the most common ingredients to cause allergic reactions in vaccines. Web links to the package inserts for each vaccine are available there as well. For instance, anaphylactic shock is reported as a serious adverse reaction in the vaccine called Afluria. But the most common side effects reported are malaise, headache and muscle aches. Then there are the multi-dose vials that contain your weekly allowance of mercury in one shot.

If you work in a profession that mandates vaccination (of any kind), insist on single- dose versus multi-dose. The multi-dose version has 25 micrograms of mercury from the preservative thimerosal. “Single dose” means the vial is used for just one person and the single dose vials are manufactured without thimerosal (or mercury). “Multi-dose” means a syringe is injected into a vial of vaccine multiple times and thimerosal prevents germs from the outside from contaminating the stock.

The chemicals alone deter me from the vaccine. I wonʼt even touch on whether the flu vaccine works. So I continue to decline it for me and my family. And despite being in contact with dozens of patients who have been sick or have a sick family member or co- worker, I have stayed healthy throughout this flu season. And so has my entire staff. My daughter was sick and missed two days of school. But was it any different than any other time a child gets sick? To me, it is inevitable. Was it the flu? Maybe. Do I think I should have gotten her a shot beforehand? I would still say no. I will take my chance every time with the natural course of the disease and the bodyʼs ability to combat it rather than with the germs and the chemicals used to make the vaccine.

If you arenʼt feeling well but you can still get yourself into the office, I urge you to still arrive for your next appointment. We are ready to serve you and your family and help you through this flu season. I feel certain we are not looking down the barrel of an outbreak like was experienced in 1917-1918. But even if we were, our office would make it into “The History of Chiropractic in Colorado” when it gets written because our doors will still be open to provide the most superb style of drug-less healthcare available.

(Thank you to for providing excerpts from this book and Dr. Jerry Porter DC for sending the link to it.)


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