Andre Angelantoni
10 min readSep 30, 2017


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Why do people get the flu after getting the flu shot?

This article is in response to the several significant errors Dr. Curchoe includes in her article, above.

Let’s start with this one:
Answer: You can’t get the flu from getting the shot.”

Actually, you can and it’s in a way that’s not obvious unless one is keeping abreast of the latest vaccine literature.

The error stems from the doctor’s common—but incorrect—notion of viral flu infection. She writes: “Getting the shot “primes” your body to recognize and fight all strains of the flu. So, if you are infected with a strain not covered by the vaccine your symptoms will be less severe, and even the most severe consequences of infection, like death, can be prevented.” (emphasis added)

None of that is true. What is actually happening is that the immune system is being programmed by the flu shot making it ready for the exact strains in the shot. It does not protect against other strains but instead opens you up to other flu strains and infection from other pathogens. It’s called heterologous immunity.

Heterologous immunity is an extension of basic immunology. After all, Gardasil was replaced by Gardasil 9 because the body was not “primed” to fight all strains of HPV (otherwise Gardasil 9 would not have been required). And Prevnar is superseded by Synflorix and Prevnar 13 because the body was not “primed” to handle all strains of pneumococcus. It’s not clear where you got the idea that the flu vaccine has this magical ability that other vaccines do not and you provide no reference for your assertion; it appears to be a completely made up “fact.”

Back to heterologous immunity and the influenza virus. The story starts when the Canadians noticed in 2010 that the people who got annual flu shots were getting the pandemic strain A/H1N1-pdm09 more often than the people who got no shot at all:

Seasonal Influenza Vaccine and Increased Risk of Pandemic A/H1N1-Related Illness: First Detection of the Association in British Columbia, Canada

Other groups found the same thing and this led to a 2014 study with ferrets that replicated the effect, thereby showing that the observations were sound:

Randomized Controlled Ferret Study to Assess the Direct Impact of 2008–09 Trivalent Inactivated Influenza Vaccine on A(H1N1)pdm09 Disease Risk

While this was happening in Canada, the Chinese became curious and this 2012 study from the University of Hong Kong showed that the children had a 4.4 higher chance of getting an upper respiratory virus infection after getting the seasonal flu shot:

Increased Risk of Noninfluenza Respiratory Virus Infections Associated With Receipt of Inactivated Influenza Vaccine

Could all this explain why it’s common to hear people complain that they got the flu shot then proceeded to get the worst bout of flu that they’ve ever gotten? If so, why exactly are people who are getting the shot also getting other strains of the flu and/or other upper-respiratory tract infections (URTIs)?

Heterologous immunity roughly means “unequal immunity” and it’s the concept that the immune system is programmed in a directional way. This can sometimes work in the body’s favor if a subsequent antigen is similar enough to the one for which antibodies have just been made. In this case, the directionality means that the body is already prepared to some degree because it has encountered a pathogen “similar enough” to the new one.

However, often it works against the body, too, as in the case of the flu vaccines. The body learns how to protect against the strains given in the shot and thereby—by design—becomes less able to handle other strains and other invaders.

Vaccine-proponents would like you to believe vaccines only boost and have no immunological downsides but that is false. In reality, one part is boosted while another is diminished. You gain protection in one way but lose protection in another.

Thus, people who get the flu shot do get protection from the strains in the shot but at the cost of opening themselves up to a different subtype of the flu (the flu shot typically includes just four subtypes out of tens of thousands of subtypes) or one of the other viruses that cause flu-like illness (FLI).

One mechanism behind this reduced protection appears to be because the flu shot suppresses production of certain cytotoxic T lymphocytes. These critical elements of a strong immune system are adroit killers of intracellular pathogens, including viruses and bacteria, as this 2011 paper explains, and the last thing you want is for these to be compromised in any way:

Annual Vaccination against Influenza Virus Hampers Development of Virus-Specific CD8+ T Cell Immunity in Children

Learn more about how CD8+ T cells work here:

This Stat News article gets parts of the story correct and explains a few other details. (They include the obligatory “get your shots regardless of how bad the shot actually performs and its side effects” quote from an expert because no article can get published without this.)

Getting a flu shot every year? More may not be better

Would this mother of two still be alive if she hadn’t gotten the flu shot?

“Ms Thew, who worked as a medical receptionist in Canberra, had been vaccinated against the flu.” (Sep. 26, 2017)

Of course it’s impossible to know in any specific situation but now that we know the mechanism by which the shots weaken the immune system, it is plausible and even likely.

Those interested in exploring the concept of heterologous immunity should read the paper below. Here is an extract from this 2014 paper’s abstract:

“Immunity to previously encountered viruses can alter responses to unrelated pathogens. This phenomenon, which is known as heterologous immunity, has been well established in animal model systems. Heterologous immunity appears to be relatively common and may be beneficial by boosting protective responses. However, heterologous reactivity can also result in severe immunopathology. The key features that define heterologous immune modulation include alterations in the CD4+ and CD8+ T cell compartments and changes in viral dynamics and disease progression.”

The two faces of heterologous immunity: protection or immunopathology

Heterologous immunity is opening a new world of understanding. This article is worth quoting at length:

A new paradigm: vaccines modulate general resistance
The epidemiological data indicate that vaccines have non-specific effects that may be just as important or even more important for childhood survival than their specific effects [4]. Existing studies suggest a general pattern, namely that the live vaccines: BCG, measles vaccine, and Vaccinia are associated with beneficial nonspecific effects, leading to reduced all-cause mortality, whereas the inactivated, alum-adjuvated DTP vaccine is associated with increased susceptibility to other unrelated infections, particularly in females.”

“If vaccines can modulate the immune system in a more general way, as suggested by epidemiological and immunological data, it opens an avenue to a new understanding of the immune system as a learning system. Just like the brain, the immune system seems to extend what has been learned in one context to new contexts. In the brain it is known that inference takes place, because of the obvious mismatch between the sparse information provided by our senses and the strong generalizations and powerful abstractions we make [87].

However, our current perception of the immune system is more simplistic. It was, to a large extent, shaped in the 1950s with the formulation of the clonal selection hypothesis. This line of thinking has emphasized the adaptive immune system and the specific antigen recognition and specific memory, which have been crucial in vaccine development, perhaps at the expense of examining cross-reactive features of the immune system as well as the memory capacity of the innate immune system. Although tens of thousands of studies assessing disease-specific, antibody-inducing effects of vaccines have been conducted, most people have not examined whether vaccines have nonspecific effects because current perception excludes such effects.”

The above excerpt is from this brilliant 2013 paper:

A small jab — a big effect: nonspecific immunomodulation by vaccines

Right now no one understands that NSI (nonspecific immunomodulation) due to heterologous immunity even exists thus “current perception excludes such effects.” That is why most people dismiss the claims of sickness after getting the shot as having anything to do with the shot. In their worldview, such a thing can’t possibly happen so they refuse to give the shot responsibility for this phenomenon.

The index of suspicion that it was the shot is extremely low because people (like our good doctor) are not up-to-date on the immunology and have invented reasonable-sounding explanations that are not supported by empirical evidence—but they do sound good, are told to you by a doctor, and that convinces people to get the shot.

What’s the result of all this?

Well, one result is that the flu shot is remarkably ineffective at stopping the flu. The highly respected Cochrane Collaboration in its gold-standard reviews put the number needed to treat (NNT) at 71 in its 2014 metareview:

The Number Needed to Treat is a form of assessing treatment effectiveness. In this case, Cochrane is saying that, after weeding out the bad studies, the remaining ones showed that 71 people would need the shot to prevent a single case of flu. At the risk of insulting the reader, this is astonishingly poor effectiveness.

This article in the British Medical Journal pointed out that they could find no evidence to support any of the common reasons the public health community gives for dispensing the flu vaccine:

“Evidence from systematic reviews shows that inactivated vaccines have little or no effect on the effects measured.”

Let that sink in for a moment. They found little or no evidence to support any of the common reasons the public health community gives for injecting the flu vaccine:
• No reduction in flu cases.
• No reduction in hospital admissions.
• No reduction in mortality.
• No reduction in school absenteeism.

Influenza vaccination: policy versus evidence, BMJ, October 2006

And the flu shot is not without other risks. The most commonly compensated injury in the US National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program is Guillain-Barré Syndrome occurring after the flu shot. GBS is an autoimmune reaction in which the body attacks itself causing paralysis. There are lots of other ways the flu shot causes the body to attack itself.

For instance, the pandemic strain caused over 1000 cases of narcolepsy for which some people are getting compensated, as this article describes:

Furthermore, cases arose of Type 1 Diabetes from the H1N1 program that public health researchers in Sweden hid. As independent journalist Celeste McGovern reports: “Forced to release public documents, the Medical Products Agency of Sweden has now, three years after publishing findings based on distorted data, confirmed that they removed 141 cases of Type 1 diabetes from the pool of data before they analysed it.”

Vaccines cause all sorts of autoimmune diseases that doctors and public health officials deny and hide, instead saying that they just can’t seem to figure out why 50 million Americans have autoimmune diseases—but don’t worry, they know for sure that it has nothing to do with the repeated immune activation of the vaccines. (See for more autoimmune facts.)

Saying that repeated immune activation has nothing to do with the body eventually learning to attack itself is absurd on its face. In reality, it doesn’t matter whether the activation is naturally caused or artificially caused. Each activation increases the risk of the body learning to attack itself.

In the case of the intensive vaccination program most people submit themselves and their children to, repeated immune activation eventually breaks down critical immunotolerance mechanisms. These are the safety systems the body has in place to ensure it doesn’t attack itself. Activating the immune system repeatedly will eventually cause the body to attack itself in susceptible individuals and likely in all individuals if there are enough immune activations.

See this occur in a mouse model with the 2009 experiment “Self-Organized Criticality Theory of Autoimmunity,” Tsumiyama et al.

“What is obvious is that a typical vaccine formulation contains all the necessary biochemical components to induce autoimmune manifestations….Physicians need to be aware that in certain individuals, vaccinations can trigger serious and potentially disabling and even fatal autoimmune manifestations.”
— Vaccines and Autoimmunity, Shoenfeld, Agmon-Levin, Tomljenovic, Wiley Blackwell, 2015

The reason the connection between vaccination and 50 million people with autoimmune disease must be hidden is obvious. When it becomes generally known that intensive immune system manipulation from the vaccination program causes autoimmune disease (research the role of the aluminum that is injected), vaccination rates will plummet along with trust in the government and health authorities who have purposefully withheld this knowledge and allowed the autoimmune epidemic to skyrocket. Thus, the deception must be maintained.

Were you ever told by the doctors and public health officials of the risks of repeated immune activation? Did you notice this doctor makes no mention of the existence of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, its three-year statute of limitations and that legal recourse against the vaccine manufacturers for damage from a vaccine is pre-empted by the 1986 law that put the Program into place?

It is unwise to trust public health pronouncements of vaccine safety and efficacy; their primary goal is to hide negative facts about vaccination so as to maintain high vaccines rates. And, unfortunately, the doctors are complicit in this deception and cannot be trusted, either.

To summarize:
• getting the flu shot protects you from the exact strains in the shot but opens you up more to other flu strains and other infections (both bacterial and viral because it weakens basic CD8+ T cell production)
• it is remarkably ineffective when data are pooled and analysed by unbiased researchers who cannot take money from the pharmaceutical industry
• it is the most compensated vaccine injury in the United States National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
all vaccination causes some sort of autoimmune disease that varies depending on the interaction of the vaccine and the individual’s genetics (for more on this, see the medical textbook “Vaccines and Autoimmunity,” Shoenfeld, Wiley Press, 2015)
• the totality of the evidence seems to indicate that public flu programs are an ineffective use of public health dollars, are likely causing more damage than good, and should be stopped.

— André Angelantoni
Founder and Project Lead,