Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Don Maisch

Kicking Sacred Cows : Is giving flu vaccinations to elderly nursing home patients really advisable?

In Australia the topic of vaccinations has taken on the tone of a sacred mantra and even to question the prevailing wisdom puts one in the Pauline Hanson nutter category.

However, for most things we accept as part of modern living there are risk factors to consider, such as the increased risk of a brain tumour with extended use of a cell phone held next to the head.

Even eating the humble peanut can cause deaths for sensitive individuals which doesn’t mean that we ban the peanut, or the cell phone, but to take sensible precautions to minimize the risk.

There is also a small risk for vaccinations with the need to take a risk-benefit consideration when vaccinating people who may have susceptibilities, such as the elderly with compromised immune systems. Currently, the policy for many Tasmanian nursing homes is to encourage residents to get their annual flu shots to protect against coming down with the illness. Is this good advice? Do the numbers add up?


As reported on ABC news, Tasmania’s Strathdevon aged care home last month had 6 residents die of seasonal flu complications even though 95% of the residents had previously been vaccinated for protection against the flu. Of a total population of 37 residents, 31 came down with flu symptoms, 9 required hospitalisation and 6 died. That doesn’t add up to protection.

WHY? Perhaps the flu vaccine does not work for elderly people with very compromised immune systems and may, in fact, have given these elderly people the very thing they were vaccinated against. Or perhaps not – that is a risk to consider for elderly people.

Also see: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/06/if-your-immune-system-is-compromised-can-you-get-vaccinated/

So, for those Generation X people waiting for their elderly baby boomer parent/s in nursing homes to kick the bucket so they can cash in on the inheritance – make sure the oldies get their flu shots…Perhaps two for good measure. The numbers are looking pretty good …

*Don Maisch PhD has been involved in telecommunications standard setting since the early 1990s and was a member of the Standards Australia Committee setting exposure standards for electromagnetic fields. His PhD thesis examined industry influence and bias in telecommunications health risk assessment. He has recently written a book chapter on industry influence in Australian expert science committees which is due for publication in June 2015. Besides also writing about shortcomings with planned smart grids networks in Australia (see here) he is currently working on a thesis examining draconian US tax laws that have been accepted in an IGA by the Abbott government and how they affect the financial future of expat Americans lining in Australia.

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Russell

    September 9, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Australian nursing homes have a policy to have most of their residents flu vaccinated.

    That hasn’t saved the large numbers who then died from the flu.

    You can’t vaccinate against something which doesn’t yet exist. Each new strain of flu each year, or month or day, is NEW!

    While you do vaccinate though the flu bugs which do survive, and they do every time, mutate and become immune to your last lot of vaccinations.

    Vaccinations are a myth, just like poisoning people with flouride to stop tooth decay. Just ask your wealthy local dentists and doctors.

    Proper lifelong nutrition is one answer to both problems.

    Re #10
    There are also Indigenous preventions and cures for colds and flus to be found wherever you travel. We recently travelled to be accidentally caught staying in the midst of the latest flu epidemic, but we didn’t catch it (as always) because of such knowledge and always keeping some preventive measures at hand.

    However, the drug and health industries don’t want you to be able or even think that you can prevent diseases because they make too much money out of it.

    If you do have a cold or flu though, yes, stay home and keep it to yourself as one prong in the prevention armoury.

  2. Doug Nichols

    September 7, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    As a person with a chronic health condition, if I catch the flu it puts a dent in my kidney function and could be very serious, not just for me but for your taxes as you will be paying for my dialysis treatment if and when it comes to that.

    This means I need the flu shot. I also need as many other people as possible to have the flu shot, because then the risk of transmission is much reduced.

    Instead of that we have people claiming that you can catch the flu from the flu shot (you can’t) and others who think it’s OK to carry on with normal life when you’ve got the flu. It isn’t OK. Stay at home. Isolate yourself.

  3. Tony Stone

    September 7, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    Always a good laugh and wonderful for the pharmaceutical business, when everyone rushes to get the flu jab and then you don’t see them on the job site for a few days, because they have the flu.

    Viruses can only survive, spread and evolve with the right breeding environment. Humans have this insane logic which rejects the facts and reality surrounding a health situation, whilst lauding and supporting the fantasy land claims of the drug and medical industry.

    The health propaganda machine tells everyone you should eat certain foods for better health and their biological and psychological destructive drugs will cure you, when the scientific facts are the opposite.

    Foods containing diaries, are the perfect breeding ground for viruses, add processed chemically saturated foods and you have the perfect storm for virus evolution and deadliness.

    Nursing homes and hospitals would be much better off providing decent foods for their patients, rather than providing absolute denatured and health destroying junk. Which contributes immensely to provide a safe well fed breeding ground for viruses and disease.

    It’s amazing places that claim they are aiding people health, provide the worst environment, yet best nutritional base for viruses, illness and disease.

    In the wash up, no matter what they claim, the medical and aged services provide the worst case scenarios for good health.

  4. Leonard Colquhoun

    September 6, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    Is it the old tactical choice of honey v vinegar, Christopher?

    BTW, mightn’t there have been some risk of a poster a bit on the narky side referring the adjective ‘autistic’ to ex-Commissar Triggs?

  5. Christopher Nagle

    September 6, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Well Leonard, I will take your well meant rebuke on advice.

    You are right, I can be a bit autistic. I am not fond of anti-vaxxers who are doing a lot of very perverse damage around themselves, like the climate change deniers, fossil fuel pimps and well meaning orthodox social libertarian clerics and fellow travelers who screw their clients and the common weal just as surely as multinational tax dodgers and low wage exploiters do.

    My parents did their best to imbue me with some civil manners and an awareness of what it means to be polite. My poor late mother was forever asking me where she went wrong… But Leonard, there isn’t much to be polite about. The world that emerged in 1945 is about to crash and burn, and it deserves to. War is coming and it won’t be polite.

    In the world of business as usual, politeness is a a valued virtue, because it oils the necessary machinery of co-operation and social survival. But when the bets start coming off and everyone begins to play for keeps, a slightly autistic temperament is just the ticket….until one day it isn’t.

  6. Robert LePage

    September 6, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    The flu vaccine is not renowned as a prevention and is very variable in it’s potency.
    My biggest argument against it is that it HAS at times given the recipient serious health problems.
    My main reason though is that it is manufactured by large drug corporations who do it to make profits.
    I have had problems with other drugs that are sold as a prevention or even a cure for other health problems and when investigated were found to cause more problems than they prevented.
    While I have every faith in GP’s who are doing the job to the best of their abilities but are really at the mercy of the drug company reps as to the efficacy of their wares.
    Finally, flu drugs are based on the last primary flu of the previous season and the flu will have mutated by the time it is taken, the vaccine is not very effective with the elderly and can be as low as 20% effective anyway.
    Vit C taken in large quantities on a regular basis is a better preventative in my view.
    It is quite often the target of unsubstantiated attacks by the drug companies because of the risk of cancer and a variety of other false reasons, none of which are true.

  7. James

    September 6, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Don Maisch quotes the Cleveland Clinic to back up his anti-vax diatribe, so here’s a bit more about that Clinic:

    “Cleveland Clinic Doctor Goes Full Anti-Vaccine”
    Forbes online
    JAN 7, 2017

  8. Leonard Colquhoun

    September 6, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    “Is giving flu vaccinations to elderly nursing home patients really advisable?” – would reckon that family and friends of the latest score or so deaths of unvaccinated “elderly nursing home patients”.

    Suggested way out of having to write “I do not want to be uncharitable Don, in accusing you of being a closet anti vaxxer”: in presenting a case or offering an alternative opinion, NEVER EVER (well, almost ‘never ever’) mention a proponent’s name.

    Instead of opening with “Don, with all due respect, if you bothered to read the latest Australian Dept of Health Immunization handbook”, begin with something like this:

    ‘Claims that “vaccinations has taken on the tone of a sacred mantra and even to question the prevailing wisdom puts one in the Pauline Hanson nutter category” need to be judged by what’s claimed in the latest Australian Department of Health Immunization handbook” . . . ”

    This changes the focus from Who said to What was said – which is more objective and in no need of any sort of [abject] ‘Sorry’. Rudyard Kipling put it like this:

    I have six honest servingmen,
    They taught me all I knew.
    Their names are What and Why and When,
    And Where and How and Who.

  9. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    September 6, 2017 at 2:44 am

    Don, with all due respect, if you bothered to read the latest Australian Dept of Health Immunization handbook ( http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/Handbook10-home~handbook10part4~handbook10-4-7#4-7-1) you would discover under section 4.7.11, it says, “Post-vaccination symptoms may mimic influenza infection, but all currently available influenza vaccines do not contain live virus and so do not cause influenza.”

    So Don, your concern on that front is unfounded.

    There are a number of issues around influenza vaccinations which do suggest that immunological senescence does affect the effectiveness of the vaccine, but it is also suggested that in combination with pneumonia vaccination, it is much more effective, because the latter is often what kills the elderly patient if they do get a flu infection.

    We are yet to produce a broad spectrum vaccination against flu, which is notoriously ‘flexible’ and can mutate rapidly. All the medical system can do is try to cover the main threats they can confidently predict are coming. They won’t get all of them.

    All this trouble of having vaccinations is to reduce overall risk to the maximum number of people. And in the case of flu in elderly and frail people, it is a much more serious condition than for more robust and younger ones. And as we have seen recently, it can and does kill them, which is all the more reason to administer it to them.

    So it really is worth getting those shots for the olds. The really big risk vector for flu shots is egg allergy anaphylaxis, because the vaccines are made from egg. Also people with a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome are not vaccinated. There are some vaccines which are not given to children under nine years old, but that is it.

    I do not want to be uncharitable Don in accusing you of being a closet anti vaxxer who is using the unfortunate recent events in a single nursing home. But your lack of research might imply that you only visit sites that back up your pre-existing doubts about the practice. Maybe I am wrong, and if so, my humblest apologies.

  10. Robert LePage

    September 4, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    95% of these people had been vaccinated.
    Vitamin C: The Miracle Swine Flu Cure “Living Proof”
    Aug 12, 2012
    Doctors treating Aukland farmer Alan Smith had decided it was time to turn his life support machine off, until a timely intervention by his family and Vitamin C, saved his life.

    The medical system does nor want to know about this but I can not understand why, when it works.
    I have been refusing the flu jab for years and have not had the flu since.

  11. Peter Godfrey

    September 4, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Well said Don.
    My boss many years ago used to have a flu jab every year. After the Jab he came to work with flu symptoms, every time. Most of the time he would only be looking green around the gills for about 3 days.
    It all comes down to stupid western ideals.
    The ideal that nobody actually wants to know that people die.
    I say get over it, we are all going to die sometime.
    I have always thought that if I have a gravestone,which I don’t want anyway. It would have carved on it “He died of death”.

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