This episode's guest

Head shot of Dr. Cammy Benton
Cammy Benton, MD
Owner of Benton Integrative Medicine in North Carolina

It’s National Influenza Vaccination Week, and the 2017-2018 flu season has officially started.

On this episode of the Drugwatch Podcast, Dr. Cammy Benton of Benton Integrative Medicine in North Carolina talks about the safety and effectiveness of the flu vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 12,000 to 56,000 people die each year from the flu, and the agency recommends people 6 months and older to get the vaccine.

Flu vaccines work by creating antibodies in the body to fight the virus. This occurs about two weeks after vaccination. But, it only creates antibodies for the specific strain of flu in the vaccine. Typically, vaccines include three strains of the virus: influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus.

But, according to Benton, the vaccine is not proven to be effective, and it may come with some serious side effects such as getting sick, nerve pain and even autoimmune issues — including Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare immune disorder that causes the body to attack nerves.

Benton shares her own experience dealing with vaccine side effects and what she has learned from research. In addition, she discusses the ethics involved in mandating health care workers to receive the vaccine or lose their jobs.

Last modified: December 7, 2017

Michelle Llamas: Welcome to another episode of the Drugwatch Podcast. I'm your host, Michelle Llamas. This week is National Influenza Vaccination week, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention use this week to spread awareness about the flu and encourage flu vaccination.

But, there's been a lot of controversy surrounding the flu vaccine and its effectiveness, and vaccines in general, but we're going to focus on the flu vaccine, here. Joining me on the Drugwatch Podcast today is Dr. Tammy Benton of Benton Integrative Medicine of North Carolina. She's going to help us unpack some of these controversies and the information that's out there on the flu vaccines. So, thanks for being on the show, Dr. Benton.


Dr. Cammy Benton: Thank you for having me.


Michelle: So, first of all, let's start at the beginning. Please introduce yourself and tell us about your practice.


Dr. Benton: Well, I'm a family physician outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. I left the regular big-box medicine that usually works in normal hospital systems a couple years ago, because I thought I wasn't able to practice the medicine I wanted to practice. So, I opened my own direct primary care clinic, and did some monthly memberships. Then again, I also do functional medicine. And so, here, I'm able to enjoy my patients, spend time with. So, it's a blessing for me to have the opportunity to step outside the box, and practice outside the box using the best evidence that I can find, but also integrating the best of many different types of medicine, like herbal, sometimes homeopathy, when appropriate, nutritional changes. And, it's been so much fun. It's so much more gratifying to practice in this way. I feel like I can get people better.


Michelle: Hell, and you brought up a really key point, there, that you can actually spend time with your patients. Sadly, and I'm sure you know this, because you see it all around you, that health care's become sort of more of a business than it is about the patients, anymore. Because, when I go see my doctor, she maybe has, like 50 minutes, right? She'll talk to me a little bit real fast. She won't really let me ask many questions. And, then I'm shuffled, and here's a prescription. Or, you know, anything like that.

I think that it's great that there are people like you out there, that are able to spend more time with their patients. And, I think, part of the decision you made, too, was, some of the stuff you learned about vaccines, too, right? And how doctors treat regular medicine. So, let's get into that.

There's a lot of controversy about the vaccine. No one can say, hey, they didn't do anything good for medicine, because they've prevent widespread epidemics like polio, tuberculosis, those kind of vaccines. But then, we've got the flu vaccine. So, every year, there's this big push for people to get vaccinated. But, there's not a lot of literature out there for the average person. And even some physicians, maybe. So, as a medical doctor, can you tell us what medical professionals know about the flu vaccine?


Dr. Benton: In general, regardless of those of you who are for vaccines or against vaccines, many, on both sides, still, are against the flu vaccine. Like, even if you're for all of the vaccines. This is not an uncommon problem to have, that people have this idea against the flu vaccine.

Yet, I'm family medicine, so we do vaccines and vaccine training, as well as pediatricians. Internal medicine does it more for the pneumonia vaccines, influenza, and shingles for the older people.

So, we're basically pretty much taught the same things, regardless of the vaccine: that it's safe and effective; don't read the insert, because it's just lawyer jargon, this is CYA, as they say; and it saves lives. And, it did! And, I remember learning about the flu vaccine, 36,000 people a year died from the flu, you've got to get it, you know? And, it's safe and effective. You can't get sick from the flu shot. If you get sick, it's coincidence. Or, you were probably already infected when you got the vaccine. Or, it would have been worse had you not gotten the vaccine. And, that's pretty much the standard treatment. If you were to ask any doctor, that's what they're going to spit out. It's almost like we have been trained just to say they’re great, is the keyword. And, just to preface this, all the rest of the conversation, I think most doctors really do care about the patient. They want to do the best. I mean, most doctors don't wake up and say, I'm going to take advantage of poor, unsuspecting patients.

So, I think they're doing the best they can, but the sheer volume of information they haven't learn, they just take for granted that what they're learning about vaccines are just true.


Michelle: The stuff that is being provided to doctors isn't really complete. I mean, I would say, right?


Dr. Benton: Right.


Michelle: They don't really give you all the studies. We're talking specifically about the flu vaccine. You had a previous interview, and you talked about a conversation that you had with a CDC official actually telling that there's no real science confirming the effectiveness of the flu vaccine. Can you talk a little about that, and what you learned from that conversation?


Dr. Benton: Well, sure. Kind of, just to take a step back, is, I was working for an organization. I won't say who. And, they were mandating the flu vaccine. And I volunteered three years in a row. I got sick from it three years in a row. I even made my mother and my siblings take it, because of, you know, getting prepared for having a baby. And, I had never even gotten the flu shot before, because I never got sick. Neither did my family. They were pretty healthy people. Then I'm like, oh no, they're telling me I better get it because I'm having a baby.

This year, my mother, my brother, my sister, got a flu-like illness within 24 hours, and were sick for a week with fevers. I got some more of a srerum sickness and stayed kind of sickly for three to four months. And my husband could take it three years in a row and never had a side effect. He never had a problem.

So, I was like, huh. This whole theory about, you don't get sick from the flu shot, that kind of ruined that theory, being that, three years in a row, we were all sick. And we normally were very healthy.


Michelle: Oh, and then, to interrupt you real quick, you said you were sick for like, three months!


Dr. Benton: Three or four months.


Michelle: That's terrible! Yeah.


Dr. Benton: They came to me for the fourth year, and I'm like, I started crying. I'm like, I can't take it again, because I don't want to be sick for months at a time! And they're like, but you have to! I'm like, and that's when it got me. That's when I got mad. And, I started trying to fight it within the organization. And I found a higher-level CDC official at one of my programs, my functional-medicine programs. And she was super nice. And so, I spoke with her first. I was so excited to have a senior CDC medical official beside me at one of these conferences. So, I asked her, I was like, how do you feel about the flu shot? It's like, oh, no, it's great!

Then like, how do you feel about the studies about the flu shot? Oh, it's great. But I proceeded to tell her about the Cochrane database meta-analysis, the CIDRAP, which is the Centers for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, that announced, I think there was 40 years of data, that shows, like, really, no benefit for over age 65, none for under age 18, and between those ages, 30-50 percent effective on an average year. A couple years ago, it was 19 percent effective. And, does not decrease transmission rates, or hospitalization rates.

So, this is not very good data. Her jaw dropped. She literally just ... She sincerely didn't know. And, she, she was actually generous enough, she gave me the contact information for the medical director. I'm not going to say names. I appreciated her honesty and integrity in answering me. And, I kicked myself for not recording the conversation, because I was in such disbelief. I expected to be creamed by the CDC, and I wasn't. I made the appointment with her. And, I started writing down the list of studies that I had, and the information that I had. And, she went, yes, yup, yup, just, she kept saying yep. And, at the end, I was like, okay. Rebuttal? And she was like, no, no rebuttal.


Michelle: Oh goodness.


Dr. Benton: My jaw dropped! I was like, wait a second. People are being fired across the country for not taking this flu vaccine. And she said, there's simply not enough science to back that up. We don't support the mandates. I'm like, but you guys set public policy. I was like, so people are listening to you. She's like, but we're not the ones recommending the mandates. That's just kind of happening out there. She was like, we are, we have ongoing studies. She said, there will never be a good flu vaccine, quite frankly, because we have to guess, a year in advance, and there's too many strains of flu viruses. The flu strains mutate. And so, there's simply no way of having a great vaccine, unless we just guess a year in advance, and we're lucky.

She says, simply, it's the only vaccine that we have. It's all that we have.


Michelle: It's just kind of, it is mind-boggling, how something can be mandated. Like you said, with such little info, and real data. So, I think it's interesting, and I'd like to know how it even came about as being a thing, you know? Like, oh, we've got to keep pushing this flu vaccine.


Dr. Benton: Well, I have a theory. And, I think it's partially ... Do you want me to mention it to you?


Michelle: Oh, sure! Yeah.


Dr. Benton: This is not Republican, Democrat. This is whatever. So, in 2004, when George Bush and Carey were running.


Michelle: Mm-hmm


Dr. Benton: There was a national flu vaccine shortage. And, everyone's clamoring that George Bush has failed at national security, and we're waiting on the next pandemic. George Bush had the response, he's like, all right, I'm going to see to it that it's on every street corner, that we have enough to protect us against the next pandemic.

And, at this point, everyone's like, I don't want the flu shot. I get sick from it! You know?


Michelle: Mm-hmm (affirmative)


Dr. Benton: Wanting the flu shot. The demand had dropped dramatically. Those people were getting sick from the flu shot, that we're trained to say, it doesn't really make you sick. It was then, since then, that you suddenly see, like, everyone's dying. You want to kill your grandma if you don't get it. You know, just so you know, they were giving it, literally, on every street corner. Every pharmacy, school, push. And now, it's mandated for many organizations. Not just health care organizations, but now other organizations are following suit. This did not stem from a pandemic. This did not stem from a rise in flu-related death. Per the CDC, the national vital statistics records, an average of about 1,000 a year die from the flu, out of over 300 million people.

The CDC extrapolates, let's say, 36 to 50,000, but, if you look at the CDC website on the main page, it says somewhere between 30 to 50,000 a year die from flu and pneumonia. They include it with all-caused pneumonia, cancer-related, HIV-related. And same thing, the flu season is just a few months out of the whole year. How could the majority of flu and pneumonia deaths be due to the flu? It just doesn't make any logical sense.


Michelle: And, again, there's that tiny print that they're just including everyone.


Dr. Benton: Children, the elderly, all disease-related pneumonia included with that. There's news reports out, 30 to 50,000 a year die from the flu, which is not true.


Michelle: No, and, I mean, that's a scary number. So, of course, people are like, oh my gosh, you know? And they run out there and get the flu vaccine. So ...


Dr. Benton: Right! If it were really 50,000 a year, we should worry. But, it's not. Think about the 1917 flu pandemic, which is what people will often bring up. You don't want that to happen again. But the reality is, in 1917, they didn't even know the germ theory. They didn't understand hand washing. There was like, a poor nutrition, there was poverty, there was sewage in your back yard. Like, so, what made the difference between then versus now is the difference in hygiene: personal hygiene, nutrition, we have refrigerators for foods, we have more than enough food in this country. It's a totally different situation than 100 years ago.


Michelle: From 100 years ago (laughs).


Dr. Benton: 100 years ago!


Michelle: Uh-huh. Yeah, I think we've done much better since then. You started learning about all of this, because you had your own personal experience with the vaccine, you and your children did. So, tell us a little bit about that background, and how you came into doing all this research.


Dr. Benton: Even prior to the flu vaccine, like, two years prior to that, I took a T-DAP, and I stayed sick, and I ended up with bronchitis for five months. To this point, I was never sick. I'd never even had the flu. Then I had the T-DAP and then I had the ... five months, I was sick from January through May, and I even cracked a rib. They said I had nothing but some fatigue issues, and then I took the flu shot, and I got sick each year.

So, I have like, then, four vaccines, actually, in a row, that I had issues with. Then, I vaccinated my children, and my oldest had the high fever, the inconsolable crying. And I just remember looking at him like, well, they said this was normal. She had honest Asperger-like symptoms, you know? So, the children go this way, she goes the other way. She just didn't feel connected, lots of parietal playing. But, she wasn't severe. It, kind of like, she just an odd kid. She had this robotic kind of laugh, that's "ha ha ha ha ha," kind of laugh. And that, my husband's an engineer, so I blamed it on him from.


Michelle: That's his engineer symptoms.


Dr. Benton: So, my second child, he ended up with an autoimmune disease, traumatic myositis. And, instead of going to a rheumatologist and putting her on immune suppressants, I opted to go the homeopathic route. I had never tried it before, but I did not like the idea of the traditional route. And, lo and behold, within six months, she was better.


Michelle: That's wonderful!


Dr. Benton: And my engineering husband, who was very skeptical of it, saw such, like, dramatic changes with the homeopathy that he no longer denied the benefits of it. And, so, but, during that time, we also treated my oldest child. She's just sick constantly, all the time, she's just sick and sick and sick and sick. For months and months. And, so, we started on homeopathy on her, and within a month and half, she went from this uptight, high-strung, kind of robotic thing, to belly-laughing. She would sit on my lap and let me read books with her, whereas before, she couldn't sit still. She was just calmer and more interactive. She was fine. And, I was like, thank God, I've got my kid back. Because, I was kind of, honestly, dumbfounded and just, overwhelmed with, oh my God, I really had a sick child, and I just thought she was just strange.

Then, so, she stayed fine. And then, going into the five-year shot, is kind of when I started really like, okay, this has been banging me on the head. And, so I started reading a little bit of this and a little of that, but I still felt like I did not have a choice in vaccinating her for kindergarten. I'm like, that's the only way they can go to school, right? I had no clue about religious exemptions, or medical exemptions. And so, I just went in to her five-year shots just praying: Please, God, let her be okay. And then, you know, she got all of her kindergarten shots, and her leg swelled up, had fever of 103. She had a hypersensitivity reaction. But, at one point, she also had neurologic changes. For two months, she just had this emotional lability. And, for like, a year-and-a-half or so, she had significant facial tics. Finally, it resolved. I was very angry at myself. Like, how could it take me this long to recognize all these changes, right? And my child was having neurologic effects from this. And we had just been so brainwashed that we are unable to see it, even if it slaps us in the face.


Michelle: That's sort of confirmed, right? No, yeah, of course. I've spoken to moms, particularly with the HPV vaccine, because that's something that the parents have to choose to give to their kids. I've spoken to parents about that and, man, they were very torn up. And that's a whole other, you know, that's a whole other thing there. But, that's got some serious side-effects, and they feel like they've ruined their kids' lives.

But, in your case, so, you actually could see, now, because she was fine. And then, you went into the vaccines, and then we had those neurological things popped up again. So, you're thinking, well, that, there's no other cause for it, right? You're seeing it happen.


Dr. Benton: That's what I try to tell people. Like, you know, it's not like I was an anti-vaxxer.


Michelle: Exactly.


Dr. Benton: I went into it willing to do it, and denying what I was seeing right in front of my face, and the effort of still trying to protect the greater good. And, maybe I'm just imagining these things. You start on to think, am I just seeing things? So, it wasn't like I went into with a very pro-vaccine mind. And then seeing this, so, it was definitely real, and my mother saw it. But, you know, saying, God, she's okay again, enough that no one would ever know, you know? We've done lots of homeopathy with her to get her better. So, thank God, there's a little on these gastrointestinal issues. We've got her two rounds of vaccines. She's started losing weight. And, you know, we knew she already had food sensitivities. And, these vaccines have food proteins in them. And, the vaccines she took had the soy in the milk, which we knew she had issues with already. Like, I had no clue there were food proteins. We don't learn ingredients in vaccines.


Michelle: No, no, you're right! I, shoot, I didn't know there was food. And so many people, nowadays, have food allergies. I mean, if you pick up a box of crackers, it's got to tell you that there's soy and milk in it. But, the vaccines, I guess they don't? I mean, that's a little scary.


Dr. Benton: Exactly. And, not that, clearly, vaccines ... We live in a chemical soup.

All the chemicals in your home, and all the pills that we take. You know, so there's a lot. But, clearly, why are we not considering the fact that you aluminum activants with food proteins and not considering that as a potential source for all these food allergies?


Michelle: Yeah, and if, at the very least, everyone should know or be told that that's what in there. So then, they should be able to make a choice for themselves. I always say, you know, you don't always have to ban anything. But, you have to give people information to let them make choices. You know?


Dr. Benton: Informed consent.


Michelle: Yeah.


Dr. Benton: I'm actually on the board for Physicians for Informed Consent out of California.


Michelle: Oh that's great!


Dr. Benton: Yeah, and so, we're trying to fight for exactly this, because doctors are themselves informed. They think they're informed, but they're really not informed.


Michelle: No, there's so much going on. I think it's hard for physicians, you know? Because people say, well shoot, you're a doctor. You should be able to look up all these things. And it's just, there's so much new stuff that's coming out every year that, you know, the poor doctors are, they're depending on the manufacturers to give them the safety information that they need. And, of course, as we know, that doesn't always happen until some horrible thing goes on and a bunch of people die, and then the FDA looks into it and all this stuff. But, in the meantime, people are at risk of things, and they never know.


Dr. Benton: So, I was given a blessing, in the form of a severance package. So, I literally studied vaccines Monday through Friday, like eight hours a day. I became obsessed with it, because, then, it was about the time of the measles outbreak in California.

And then they were starting to pass all these mandates, and getting rid of religious exemptions. And, I was like, why is this happening? There's not public health crisis going on. Of course, this all happened after the CDC whistleblower. Like, within two months, it all went crazy. And that's when doctors were firing patients left and right. I'm like, I've got to figure out why this is. What do I really need to do for my children's health? And what do I need to do for my own health?

So, I wanted to see both sides. So, I spent months and months. Most doctors do not simply have that time. All the things that we have to manage in medicine, they don't have that time. This is a cause, and it's chosen me. So, I read about it a lot. But most doctors, as they're saying, they've not had to worry about it before.


Michelle: So now, let's talk a little bit about some of the side effects that you've seen in the research that you've done, specifically with the flu vaccine. Because, it's got quite a few, which is surprising. And from neurological problems, to, there's vasovagal syncope, which is a fancy way of saying fainting.


Dr. Benton: Right.


Michelle: And that's bizarre. You know, you're going to faint after you get the shot. You get shoulder-related injuries.


Dr. Benton: Right.


Michelle: I think it's probably nerve damage in the shoulder after getting the shot. There is this other thing and, now, I'm gonna probably butcher the way this is pronounced.


Dr. Benton:: Guillain-Barré.


Michelle: I've seen it so many times. I've never heard it said. So, say that again real quick for people.


Dr. Benton: Guillain-Barré syndrome.


Michelle: All right. Now, that has a host of awful things that come along with it, and people pretty much have their lives ruined after getting that syndrome. So, tell us a little bit about some of the side effects that you've come across.


Dr. Benton: I think, honestly, the most common side effect is just the local arm swelling.

People have been admitting for the bursitis, like a bursitis for a shoulder. That's probably the most common. And then the people getting sick, I mean, frankly, I see plenty of people get sick. And when, the last two years I was in ... Granted, someone could accuse me of being biased, but I had the nurses tally, for people coming in with the flu, for flu-positive diagnosis, like a definite, like a lab-diagnosed test, eight out of 10 had the flu vaccine. Most people who didn't get the flu shot, I hardly ever saw. Like, in my practice the last two years, my patients don't tend to get the flu. I've hardly seen it in two years out of my practice.

To that, I'll give the flu shot. But, in the regular clinic, where everyone was having to get it, then I was seeing it all the time. So, getting sick from it, even if you don't say you get from it, people, this is an immune modulator. And a lot of people get the flu afterward.

So, this, honestly, this is what you see most commonly, and I think these are the ones that are clearly dismissed. It's like, well, it's just coincidence, right? So, they definitely never get reported. The more serious ones, and there are hundreds of cases awarded every year for Guillain-Barré syndrome is, really, a paralysis. And some people, you can die from Guillain-Barré syndrome. But, you end up having to be hospitalized and receive expensive treatments. And, for many people, it could take years to recover.

But, I had a colleague, she's a doctor, and she got Guillain-Barré syndrome. They said, well, maybe it's really due to your car accident a year before. And it's just coincidence.


Michelle: After the flu shot, and just, by coincidence. I think it's funny, too, that, the sad thing is that you mentioned, everyone gets the flu. It's kind of like, well, why did I even get this vaccine? Because now, I'm sick anyway.


Dr. Benton: They say it's that you'd have been sicker had you not gotten it. It's very interesting how, just like I did with my own daughter, we have this cognitive dissonance. Like, we're afraid to see the truth right in front of us. I have a friend who's a nurse practitioner, really great lady. She's actually questioning some things, very open-minded. And so, she sent me a message asking me about, can I ask you about this flu vaccine, a possible reaction?

So, she admitted a young boy who came in totally healthy, got a flu shot. Two days later, presented with some nerve type ... Like, just kind of random places all over his body. She's like, do you think this could be a flu vaccine reaction? I'm like, well, within 48 hours, he's having neuropathic changes, and he was previously healthy. So, it sounds like it to me. And I said to her, I was like, I want to replace the word vaccine with antibiotic, or any other medicine. And then ask me if you think that you would question yourself about this reaction.

And then she's like, but he and his mom will never buy into. He said he's never had a vaccine reaction, and his mother's a NICU nurse. She will not accept this as a diagnosis. I'm like, again, I want you to ask with any antibiotic, or anything you have an allergic reaction to, you usually have multiple exposures before you have the allergic reaction. So, you know, medically, if this were an antibiotic, or any other substance that you can have a reaction at any time. But also, to his mother, if this had been a peanut allergy, or an antibiotic reaction, then she'd be willing to accept it. So, again, replace the word vaccine with any other substance, and see if you'd be having the same concern.

And she's like, oh my gosh, you're right! I said, even someone who's open-minded, there's ... She's fearful of actually calling it for what it was, and she's fearful of telling the diagnosis for repercussions of being labeled an anti-vaxxer.


Michelle: Anytime anybody questions it, they just sort of basically say, oh, you're a crazy person.


Dr. Benton: She's an open-minded person and still this fearful. So, imagine any other doctor who has not been brave enough to even question anything. They just outright dismiss it. So, what is the real risk of taking the flu vaccine? And most doctors honestly have never even heard of VAERS, which is the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.


Michelle: Yes.


Dr. Benton: And, even then, the pro-vaccine side is using it as a weapon. Like, well, someone said in there that they turned into the Incredible Hulk. So, it's being used against people. So, even if they report, it's a passive reporting. So anyone can report. So then it's like, well, it's not a reporting system, because anyone can report anything. But, the reality is, where do we report them, right?


Michelle: Yeah.


Dr. Benton: Who do the doctors report to? Because I certainly had had, also, when I had a nerve reaction to a shingles vaccine, I had the hospital diagnose her with serum sickness, and she had liver and kidney failure due to the shingles vaccine. When we reported it to the drug company, they sent a nice little letter that said, thank you for your concern; we disagree.


Michelle: Mm-hmm.


Dr. Benton: Who do we report adverse reactions to, if not to VAERS, which is being dismissed now; if not to the drug companies, which dismissed us, and they have the right to just say, no it isn't?


Michelle: You know, I think that's interesting. Because, you bring this up with VAERS, but there's also the medical device reporting, which is MAUDE. And then we got the drug, which is FAERS. So, there's FAERS, VAERS, and MAUDE. But, no one really questions the integrity of MAUDE and FAERS. In fact, they usually say that, because it's self-reporting, that most people might not know that their issues are connected to the drug. So, it's under-reported.

So, I might even, I mean, we could probably say the same things about VAERS, really.


Dr. Benton: Yeah, the CDC and FDA both estimate that somewhere between 10 percent of those reported. So, for sure, it's under-reported.


Michelle: They're using that self-reporting mechanism to say that it's not reliable. But, in that case, there is, where's the reliable information then, you know? There is no place to collect it, except for VAERS, like you were saying.


Dr. Benton: Well, informed consent, when a doctor or nurse does not know the studies behind it, they do not know what the adverse reactions are, because there is no reliable place to report these things to. So, how are we given informed consent, especially now that we're adding mandates on top of it. Your job or the vaccine. So, that's not informed consent. I mean, informed consent means that you give permissions to do it, and you're not coerced. But, they're clearly coerced.

There was a lady I know, recently, like she's local, she had a severe anaphylactic reaction 18 years ago. And, she is a health care provider. They told her, you have to get the original records from the hospitalization. But, she couldn't, they didn't have the records anymore. So then her allergist wrote her a letter saying she cannot take this. She's had severe allergies to this and cannot take it. And they still told like, that's not good enough. And they made her take the vaccine, and she's been in the ICU twice in the past two weeks. She almost died. She almost died. And it was her job or risk death. And she tried to pre-medicate, and she almost died. And, so, who's going to take care of her, right?


Michelle: And then she has no recourse after that, I suppose. She can't go back and say, hey, well, you forced me to take this and you almost killed me. So ...


Dr. Benton: Because, they, well, she could've quit. That's what they could say. You could've quit. But, how else, how is that right to do that to a health care provider? You know, I had opportunity to open my own clinic. But, many people in the health care profession cannot.


Michelle: And, again, it's kind of like, you really are taking someone's liberties away, when you're forcing them to do something that could hurt them.


Dr. Benton: I mean, totally. It's like, they had to vaccinate to protect others. I'm like, why is it okay to make me sick? I'm actually more contagious being sick with every cold that comes by. I mean, making me sick to keep someone else well, how is that just?


Michelle: What advice can you give to people during flu season? Because, luckily, there are still some people that could say no to this vaccine. So, say they're going to try and keep themselves healthy. What are a few things that you can tell people to help themselves during flu season?


Dr. Benton: The most basic things, obviously, are to get good sleep, and be happy, and eat a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables. Right? That's the ...


Michelle: That's the cornerstone, there. The basic.


Dr. Benton: The cornerstone. But, there are really good studies that vitamin D and vitamin B supplementation for prevention. Then, even some use it for treatment. They'll do a high dose vitamin D regimen for a couple days at the onset of the flu. The elderberry syrup has, actually, really good studies, and even within the NIH, for studies have shown significant benefits for treatment and for prevention.

So, these are my two favorite go-to's. And some people will do cod liver oil in place of the vitamin D, because the cod liver oil also has vitamin A in it, but a natural form of vitamin A, which is a very healthy way of doing things. So, cod liver oil, versus vitamin D. If you take vitamin D, by the way, you should always pair a vitamin K2, because it helps prevent toxicity and helps utilize the calcium better. It puts it in your bones, in your teeth, and out of your soft tissues. So, vitamin D should always be paired with vitamin K2.

And, like, the elderberry syrup. If you can do elderberry syrup daily, but also at the onset, you can just do, like jack it up and take every few hours. And it's super safe, because it's a food product. Just, and, elderberry that has like honey in it, you got to be careful with babies, you know, under one. That's one caution, that many elderberry syrups still have honey in it. That's my only caution there.

But, these are the common things. There's certainly, there's more. There's things like echinacea. There astragalus. Astragalus is really good, is an antiviral for flu prevention. So, astragalus is really good. So, there's all kinds of fun stuff that you can do that actually helps to promote health, and boost your immune system, supports your immune system. My only caution is, for people with significant autoimmune disease, there's certain things like echinacea that can sort of make that worse. You got to be cautious there.

But, the elderberry syrup, and a vitamin D3 is safe for everybody to take, unless you have ... There's always an exception to everything.


Michelle: Of course.


Dr. Benton: This is like, the two common things that you can do that's pretty safe. Like, cod liver oil, I love for immune system.


Michelle: Yeah, and that's, that beats taking a shot, or taking some weird over-the-counter medicine.


Dr. Benton: I'm not going to become paralyzed by vitamin D.


Michelle: Exactly. That's putting it in perspective. And, elderberry tastes really good, actually.


Dr. Benton: It's delicious.


Michelle: I love it. I love it. But yes, do you have any parting advice or words that you'd like to tell anybody about flu vaccines?


Dr. Benton: I do believe that we're in a day and age where, for this, you're going to be armed with information, and not fear. You have to look at both sides for everything. And, regarding all vaccines, and even the flu shot: you can find something that supports what you believe on Dr. Google, no matter what.

But, I do believe that, overwhelmingly, the science does not support widespread flu vaccines, especially mandated flu vaccines. And, we have to start standing up for ourselves as the regular people to say this is not okay. It's not like 100,000 people a year are really dying from this thing, and this is an effective vaccine. This is a really failed vaccine, and not that many people actually truly die from it. We have to start recognizing that the TV, most of their programs are paid for by Pharma. Like, 70 percent of revenue comes from Pharma. I mean, look at all the commercials for drugs.

So, you have to keep that perspective as people are reporting it. They, just like doctors, doctors are required to give flu vaccines as part of their qualitive care measures. So, they get bonuses, or they get incentives to make sure that they complete all the qualitive care measures. They clear bonuses, hospital systems, for reaching a certain threshold of having everyone vaccinated.

So, you have to think about the behind-the-scene things. Number one is your own health. And there are things you could do for your health to protect you, and boost your immune system, and protect your family. And, it's important to realize that we need to empower ourselves, to take care of ourselves, and not be strayed by Big Pharma, or big business out there. It's unacceptable. We have to fight this. We need to stop being silent. And that's where I come in. It's like, if I don't speak up, then who's going to speak up? All the nurses are banding together now. It's really great to see people saying that we've had enough. It's too much, to take away our liberties for the failed vaccine.


Michelle: Thank you so much for being on the show, Dr. Benton. And we shared so much good stuff out here. And, I think it's actually good to hear from a health care practitioner about this. And, you know, there's so much stuff on the internet you mentioned before. So, it's good to hear someone actually have some concrete research that they've done, that they can share with people. So, thank you so much for being on the show.


Dr. Benton: Thank you for having me.


Meet Your Host

Michelle Y. Llamas is a senior content writer. She is also the host of Drugwatch Podcast where she interviews medical experts as well as patients affected by drugs and medical devices. She has written medical and legal content for several years — including an article in The Journal of Palliative Medicine and an academic book review for Nova Science Publishers. With Drugwatch, she has developed relationships with legal and medical professionals as well as with several patients and support groups. Prior to writing for Drugwatch, she spent several years as a legal assistant for a personal injury law firm in Orlando. She obtained her English – Technical Communication degree from the University of Central Florida. She is a committee member with the American Medical Writers Association.

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