Guest post by Niall McCrae and David Kurten
Back in May we reported on The Gateway Pundit website a curious and emphatic correlation between the flu jab and Covid-19 mortality. Comparing data from across Europe, we found that countries with high coverage of influenza vaccination in the elderly had the highest death toll from the coronavirus pandemic. Correlation, of course, is not causation, and we presented our findings tentatively. Our article drew smears of ‘fake news’ and ‘anti-vax conspiracy theory’. However, this putative risk of the flu vaccine should be taken seriously, particularly after our findings were corroborated by a peer-reviewed scientific analysis.
Christian Wehenkel, in the journal PeerJ (1 October 2020), studied 26 European countries and found a strong correlation (r = 0.62) between flu jab uptake and Covid deaths in older people. This result is slightly lower than ours (r = 0.7). Conducting his analysis after the ‘first wave’ of the virus in spring 2020, Wehenkel was able to compare countries by their public health response, but he found no significant differences due to lockdown or mandatory masks.
Our earlier study arose from observing stark contrasts in Covid-19 mortality in Europe. Why were the UK, Belgium, Italy and Spain so high, and Germany, the Nordic countries and eastern Europe so low? A multitude of ecological, demographic and diagnostic factors may explain this, but on searching for answers we were struck by flu vaccination data. Could this be a case of iatrogenic medicine; in other words, a medical intervention that does more harm than good?
The flu vaccine is administered annually, in early autumn. A new preparation is needed every year, due to the volatility of the virus. Often the strains that become most virulent over winter are not anticipated by the vaccine, thus lowering protection. Nonetheless, in 2009 health ministers across the EU agreed to a target of vaccinating 75% of older people against influenza. However, ten years later, no country had achieved this, the average being 44.3%.
Potentially, the flu jab may reduce immunity to other upper respiratory tract infections, as suggested on the BMJ website by paediatrician Alan Cunningham: –
‘It is possible that influenza vaccines alter our immune systems non-specifically to increase susceptibility to other infections; this has been observed with DTP and other vaccines.’
Using the EU publication Vaccines Today, we gathered data on flu vaccination coverage in older people and compared these to overall Covid-19 mortality from the United Nations database Worldometer (13 May 2020). We are unable to update vaccination data for autumn 2020, but we have added the latest mortality figures (17 December 2020), which show some dramatic changes from the earlier time point.
In May we found that the countries with highest death rates had all vaccinated at least half of their elderly population against flu. Denmark and Germany, with lower use of the flu vaccine, had considerably lower Covid-19 mortality. By December, however, most of the countries with low mortality in May had proportionately much higher increases. Mortality in the UK, Spain, Italy and France has approximately doubled, while Czechia’s and Slovakia’s are 35 and 50 times higher respectively. This could simply be due to the virus reaching endemic level later in east Europe, but another factor could be sudden increase in flu vaccination in counties of hitherto low uptake. Are they unwittingly endangering their seniors?
The World Health Organisation is vigorously promoting flu vaccination in Europe, with posters warning ‘don’t bring home an unwanted visitor: protect your family by getting vaccinated’. The Covid-19 pandemic has terrified the public and many people see a vaccine as the only means of escape. At an EU ‘Flu Day’ webinar (14 October 2020), Spanish member of the European parliament Dolors Montserrat asserted: –
‘The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us once again the enormous value of vaccines. Many countries are increasing orders for flu vaccine doses. Overall, it seems that we will see a record number of doses produced and distributed.’
A surge in demand for the flu jab was reported by Vaccines Today (27 October 2020), with supplies running low. As always, the elderly will be prioritised. Yet this age group, which accounts for the overwhelming majority of Covid-19 deaths, may be losing more than it gains. The scatterplot by Wehenkel (countries shown by dots) of Covid-19 deaths up to 25th July 2020 against flu vaccination rate in over-65s in 2019 shows a clear correlation between high flu jab coverage correlates with Covid-19 deaths.
It is right to ask the question: are patients who die of / with Covid-19 more likely to have received the flu vaccine? Given the clear correlation from Wehenkel’s data, an urgent investigation is needed to ascertain whether the large increase in Covid-19 deaths in eastern Europe in the autumn of 2020 correlates with an increase in flu jabs in autumn 2020 in those same countries. This leads on to the further explosive question: are flu jabs not only correlative with Covid-19 mortality, but causative by way of pathogenic priming? If the data from autumn 2020 confirm correlation, causation this should be investigated with rigour and urgency.