If you want someone to sort out all the nonsense about H1N1, someone who’s well-informed, has no professional agenda, and nothing to gain financially, then Tom Jefferson, M.D., is your guy.
For 15 years, Dr. Jefferson has been studying the nature of influenza and vaccines with the Cochrane Collaboration – a non-profit, independent organization that reviews a wide variety of health care research.
And now Dr. Jefferson and his colleagues have some good news: You can stop worrying about H1N1, and you can even stop worrying about the H1N1 vaccine, if you will only do one thing…
Dr. Jefferson wants you to wash your hands.
In fact, he wants you to wash them right now, wash them whenever you arrive home from public places or social gatherings, and wash them several times each day.
In a recent meta-analysis of six studies that tested physical interventions in curbing the spread of severe respiratory infection, Dr. Jefferson’s team found that the wearing of masks, gloves, and hospital gowns had a preventive impact, but were far less effective compared to hand washing more than 10 times each day.
Can it really be that simple? Dr. Jefferson says yes.
In a July 2009 interview with German magazine Der Spiegel, Dr. Jefferson noted that research shows hand washing can prevent more than just the flu.
Dr. Jefferson: “This method can fight against the 200 pathogens that bring about flu symptoms as well as against gastrointestinal viruses and completely unknown germs. One study done in Pakistan has shown that hand-washing can even save children’s lives. Someone should get a Nobel Prize for that!”
Changing the game
So…how about H1N1? Hand washing? Or vaccine?
In an interview last month with the Center for Medical Consumers, associate director of the CMC, Maryann Napoli, noted that during the recent Australian winter there were no H1N1 vaccines available. The result: 131 H1N1 deaths in a population of 22 million.
She asked Dr. Jefferson if it’s fair to conclude that the H1N1 virus didn’t turn out to be a pandemic. Dr. Jefferson: “Yes, you may conclude that the H1N1 virus is not the threat that it has been portrayed to be.”
And then Dr. Jefferson revealed something remarkable that you can be certain won’t be highlighted by the mainstream media: Earlier this year, the World Health Organization changed the definition of pandemic.
The earlier WHO definition reads: “An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus appears against which the human population has no immunity, resulting in epidemics worldwide with enormous numbers of deaths and illness.”
The revised definition removes this phrase: “with enormous numbers of deaths and illness” – which significantly lowers the bar for defining a pandemic.
When Ms. Napoli asked Dr. Jefferson about this change, he said: “I am wondering if this means that the world will always be in a pandemic. The world will always have to be doubly vaccinated and the world will always be spending a huge amount of money for vaccines, and of course, buying anti-viral drugs by the barrel load.
“Journalists and others have contacted WHO to find out why the change in definition, and they are always told that someone will get back to them, which never happens.”
Later in the interview, Dr. Jefferson takes off the gloves and states simply that the so-called pandemic is a “commercial operation.”
Dr. Jefferson: “Why else would the Australian government plan to immunize millions of people after the epidemic with a partially evaluated vaccine?”
The forecast: milder than expected
The Cochrane Collaboration has reviewed every influenza vaccine study conducted between 1948 and 2007. The result: “There is no evidence whatsoever that seasonal influenza vaccines have any effect, especially in the elderly and young children. No evidence of reduced cases, deaths, complications.”
And Dr. Jefferson adds: “There is no problem with the H1N1 virus. It’s no different from any other seasonal virus. In fact, it looks – from the Australian experience – like it’s going to be milder and it can be handled with public health measures, such as hand washing.”
If you have friends or family members who are on the fence about getting the seasonal flu vaccine and/or an H1N1 shot, do them a favor and forward this information so they can get an unbiased perspective from a true insider.
“Physical Interventions to Interrupt or Reduce the Spread of Respiratory Viruses: Systematic Review” British Medical Journal, Vol. 399, 9/22/09, bmj.com
“A Whole Industry Is Waiting for a Pandemic” Johann Grolle and Veronika Hackenbroch, Der Spiegel, 7/21/09, spiegel.de
“Why the H1N1 Virus is Not a Major Threat” Maryann Napoli, Center for Medical Consumers, 9/24/09, medicalconsumers.org