Only about 1,000 people die directly from the flu virus in the U.S each year. But the government claims 36,000 -- the remaining 35,000 deaths are caused by diseases like pneumonia that may follow the flu.
But there's no clear scientific connection between the flu and these more serious afflictions. That means most of the time a flu shot has little impact in actually preventing death.
Barbara Loe Fisher, head of the National Vaccine Information Center, says that the repeated references to 36,000 seems to be an attempt to scare people into getting the shot. Fisher has a new book on the safety issues with vaccines, "Vaccines, Autism & Chronic Inflammation: The New Epidemic."
Her concerns have led her to look at alternatives. One alternative favored by a number of physicians is vitamin D. Dr. John Cannell, Executive Director of the Vitamin D Council, suggests the reason we even have a flu season is because our vitamin D levels drop, which takes place naturally as we get less and less sun with the approach of winter.
Cannell suggests babies get a 1,000 units of vitamin D a day, and those two and older get 2,000 units. Many adults and some children need more than that.
* CBN November 4, 2008