Should You Get the Flu Shot This Year?

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Holistic Remedies Preventative Medicine Vaccines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all Americans over the age of 6 months receive an annual flu shot. Many doctors push the flu vaccine on patients during regular visits. Pediatricians often do this during well child visits and even use fear and guilt to coerce parents into vaccinating. This practice has become standard, and some doctors will not treat patients who refuse CDC-recommended vaccines.

Even if you don’t go to the doctor, you can’t escape the ads and media messages selling the flu vaccine as the best method of preventing influenza. Pharmacies and retail stores also promote flu shots. It’s ingrained in our culture that Fall is “flu season” and that by getting your flu shot, you are protecting yourself and those around you.

Here is the content of an email my editor received on September 29 as we were in the process of publishing this blog:

“This year, it’s even more important to get a flu shot to protect yourself and your community. The CDC recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October, before peak flu season begins.”

If you have followed me for a while, you know that universal screening tests and vaccines are not the same as prevention, and they do not create true, lasting health. True health is cultivated from the inside out. And when so-called experts say, “Vaccines only work if enough people get them” or “Everyone needs to be vaccinated in order to protect the small number of people who cannot get the vaccine for medical reasons,” you know that something is not right.

In fact, when it comes to the flu vaccine, something is wrong indeed. Research suggests that receiving annual flu vaccinations does not lower the risk of disease transmission at all, so you are not protecting yourself or your community when you receive a flu vaccine. That said, I’m the first to acknowledge that if your inner wisdom and not societal pressure leads you to get a flu shot, then it is most likely the right thing for you.

Risks Associated with the Flu?

The flu is a respiratory virus spread via infectious droplets. The most common symptoms of the flu include sudden fatigue, fever (usually above 100 degrees), chills, headache, body aches, dry cough, and sore throat. Children can sometimes have stomach problems or diarrhea, but this is not a common symptom for adults.

As with any virus and in any given year, some people can experience more severe symptoms and complications that require medical intervention. These symptoms may include chest pain, trouble breathing, severe vomiting, dizziness and confusion, among others.

People who are typically at high risk for complications from the flu (and all other viruses) include those with immune system problems or chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.  If you are pregnant, Native American, or Alaska Native, you may have a higher risk of complications from the flu. The elderly and very young (under 2 years) may suffer more severe symptoms as well.

While some people will die from complications from the flu, the number of flu deaths reported by the CDC each year are misleading because they are combined with pneumonia deaths, the causes of which can be anything. For most healthy individuals, the flu is easily treated with rest and fluids.

Why I Don’t Recommend Getting a Flu Vaccine

I live a healthy life, and I trust my immune system to do its job. I also know that viruses are ubiquitous organisms that make up the human biome. And they don’t cause problems unless the body is compromised in some other way—such as by air pollution, water pollution or soils laced with glyphosate. So, I don’t worry that I’ll catch something during “flu season.” But I know that even healthy people get fooled, shamed, or scared by their doctors, the media, and even friends and family into getting a flu shot when it’s really not necessary.

That’s why I want you to understand the reasons I don’t get flu a shot and why I recommend you pass on it as well.

Here’s why I don’t get a flu shot:

  1. They are ineffective. According to the CDC, flu vaccine effectiveness varies between 40–60 percent. However, in 10 out of 14 flu seasons between 2004/2005 and 2017/2018, overall influenza vaccine effectiveness was less than 50 percent. During the 2018/2019 season, the vaccine proved to be only 29 percent effective. During the 2014/2015 season, the vaccine was only 19 percent effective! Most flu vaccines are created using the common Type A and Type B influenza strains. One reason the flu vaccine is not effective is because there are always hundreds of influenza viruses circulating, and there is no way to predict which strains will hit each year. More than 80 percent of influenza-like respiratory illnesses that occur during flu season are not caused by Type A and Type B influenza strains. In addition, influenza viruses mutate rapidly. A flu vaccine with last year’s strains will not offer protection against this year’s new strains.
  2. Vaccine data is manipulated. Research shows that much of the data supporting flu vaccines as a way to prevent infection, complications, hospitalizations, and death are actually due to what’s called the healthy user effect. This means that people who received the vaccine and didn’t die during flu season are reported as having had a reduced risk of dying over those who were not vaccinated, which translates into the success rate of the vaccine. However, when the people who are vaccinated actually have a lower risk of dying to begin with, this is attributed to being a healthy user. Given the growth in pharmaceutical advertising dollars behind the studies and medical journals reporting them, I think it’s fair to say that there is widespread bias in reporting on vaccine effectiveness.
  3. They contain harmful adjuvants. A great majority of vaccines (if not all) contain harmful ingredients that act as adjuvants. Many are known to be extremely toxic, including mercury, aluminum compounds, ammonia sulfate, beta-Propiolactone, ethyl mercury (thimerosal), formaldehyde, monosodium glutamate, octoxynol-9, phenol, polysorbate 80, and others. In animal studies, these ingredients have been shown to cause developmental delays; adverse neurologic events and disorders, such as motor weakness and slowing; and a host of other ill effects. The CDC reports that brain inflammation and death are known “side effects” of every vaccine. (Remember, conditions such as ADHD, autism, and learning disabilities are manifestations of an inflamed brain.) I encourage anyone considering getting a flu vaccine (or any vaccine for that matter) to read the package inserts first. That way you can see for yourself exactly what is in them. You can find package insert information for many commonly given vaccines at
  4. They contain viral proteins from animals. Vaccine companies typically use chicken embryos to culture flu strains. (They also use dog kidney cells.) Fertilized chicken eggs are susceptible to a wide variety of viruses and contain biologically active ingredients that may be harmful to humans, including tiny proteins that have been associated with neurological disorders and oncogenes that can cause cancer.
  5. Flu mortality statistics are exaggerated. The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) lumps influenza and pneumonia statistics together. This greatly inflates the number of “flu deaths” each year. For example, in 2001, the CDC reported 62,034 “influenza and pneumonia” deaths. Since pneumonia can have many underlying causes, you need to look at the actual number of reported flu deaths. That number—the number of deaths with influenza as the sole underlying cause—was just 257. That means 61,777 reported flu deaths were actually due to pneumonia with some other underlying cause. Even more interesting is that of the 257 “flu deaths,” there were only 18 positive cases of influenza virus that could be identified. In addition, between 1976 and 2006, flu death estimates varied widely because the tests used to diagnose influenza were not sensitive enough to distinguish influenza from the 150–200 different pathogens that produce flu-like symptoms. And, while the CDC uses respiratory and circulatory (R&C) deaths to provide an estimate of deaths that include secondary respiratory or cardiac complications following influenza, it admits that only 2.1 percent of these deaths are related to influenza.
  6. Risk of adverse events. In addition, a growing body of evidence shows not only are flu shots ineffective, there are also possible dangers of the flu vaccine. In my opinion, the risk of adverse events from the flu vaccine far outweigh the risk associated with contracting the flu virus for most people. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), since the flu vaccine’s inclusion in the National Vaccine Injury and Compensation Program (NVICP), up until 2015, there were more than 3,400 petitions claiming injury or death resulting from flu vaccines. While this may not seem like a large number, it’s important to remember that most people do not report adverse events. And yet flu vaccine petitions represented 37.71 percent of all petitions. Of those flu vaccine–related injury and death claims, nearly 60 percent of petitioners received compensation.
  7. Increases your risk of COVID-19 infection. A Department of Defense study showed that, while the flu vaccine studied demonstrated varied benefit in flu prevention, it raised the risk of coronavirus infection by 36 percent. This is most likely due to vaccine virus interference. A 2018 study supported by the CDC showed an increased risk in non-flu acute respiratory illnesses (ARI) in children under the age of 18 who received the flu vaccine compared to unvaccinated children. Other studies also show that flu vaccines greatly increase the risk of non-flu viral infections and also greatly increase risk of flu infections. You can find more information on the Children’s Health Defense website.

Anything that appears to increase my risk and also has a risk of serious adverse events is not something I want to put in my body. If you are considering getting a flu vaccine, the National Vaccine Information Center has a number of resources to help you become fully informed about the risks and complications of diseases and vaccines.

Remember, getting the flu or any illness is not inevitable. You have the tools you need to stay healthy every day, even during “flu season.” 

Additional Resources:

The Flu Vaccine is Bad Medicine: The science against the flu vaccines and Tamiflu: why they are ineffective, unnecessary, and bad medicine. Forward by Jim Meehan, MD

Increased Risk of Noninfluenza Respiratory Virus Infections Associated With Receipt of Inactivated Influenza Vaccine. Benjamin J. Cowling, Vicky J. Fang, […], and J. S. Malik Peiris

Last Updated: October 6, 2020

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.


Add comment
  1. Lauren
    2 weeks ago

    Thank you for a great article on the CONS that are missing from the general knowledge. I’m for medical freedom; if you want the flu shot take it, if you don’t, don’t. My big concern right now is mandatory vaccines. My sister works in the operating room as a nurse in a big county hospital in Calif. She has always refused the flu shot that is pushed on the employees. They made her wear a mask because of her refusal. Now, they just told her that she has to have the flu shot or she is fired. She has until Oct. 31st. This is INSANE! This goes against everything about a FREE country and human sovereignty. She doesn’t know where to turn to.

  2. Janis Howard
    2 weeks ago

    I, just recently received a short video on messenger with Dr. Northrup being interviewed about the vaccine that is coming out. The question I have for Dr. Northrup: is this the vaccine that Is promised to be ready by late Nov. that will change the DNA….non human dna?

  3. Ali D
    2 weeks ago

    I’d be interested to know your thoughts for people like me with chronic lung issues like Cystic Fibrosis? Especially in today’s world with COVID-19. I have a flu vaccine every year. I’ve had flu once and pneumonia 3 times. I do get recurring chest infections due to pseudomonas aeruginosa growing in my lungs.

  4. Chris bell
    2 weeks ago

    My elderly father got a flu shot and immediately after suffered from six months of sciatica. He was convinced it was connected to the shot. I have no experience as I would never get a flu shot and I alarmist never get flu or colds. I wondered if any other people had that experience

  5. Tracy A Off
    3 weeks ago

    I would love to pass this article on the flu vaccine to my facebook friends. Is there a way to do it?

    1. Coulson Duerksen
      2 weeks ago

      There is a Facebook share icon at the bottom of the article below the 3 images of other blogs.

  6. Amy Murphy
    3 weeks ago

    I wish I had read this last week- I just got my flu shot this past Thursday. I would have denied it! Other than staying healthy, is there anything I can do to counteract it’s effects?

    1. Coulson Duerksen
      2 weeks ago

      Dr. Northrup’s Blog “Do You Need a Detox?” has a section on how to detox from vaccines.

  7. Dianna Lott
    3 weeks ago

    Thank you for posting this information and explaining it so well. It’s amazing how much this vaccine and others are pushed on perfectly healthy people.

  8. Laura Relethford
    3 weeks ago

    I am surprised your in-depth information is still available as it seems in the media presently opinions contrary to the upcoming flu vaccine for Covid 19 has been shut down . Thank you for this !
    I pressured into getting flu shot from co workers one year & I really felt sicky for months after .

    I have your book women’s body , body wisdom & it is so helpful. I really appreciate your health knowledge.

  9. Sara G
    3 weeks ago

    I totally agree with every word.. Because I won’t be vaccinated, I am not allowed to see my grandson. I have only been allowed to see my grandchild on very few occasions, and I have noticed, that family that had the flu vaccine were more tired, over heated, not doing well with stress, were arthritic, way overweight, had sniffles or allergy like symptoms .
    ( I opted out when my son almost went into the emergency room, 32 years ago.) I must also let this site know there is good evidence supporting the fact that garlic, and a few other bitter herbs are excellent at treating viral like mptoms as well as prevention, lemon water, and more.
    IT is also known that people whom are on statins and beta blockers have a harder time to shake the virus and covid as well.

  10. Tracey Charles
    3 weeks ago

    I forgot to add… i have never had flu injection and my son did not het the mmr injection.

    When i was challenged i stated the unethical ingredients used to create this, the dangers and also the fact it would overload baby’s immune system.

    They were silenced, and i never heard from them again.

  11. Tracey Charles
    3 weeks ago

    Thank you for being so brave in coming forwards with this information and on the corona virus vaccine… i saw that and did my best to spread the word. True to your words it was taken down.
    I hope people start to listen , pay attention and take positive actions to your warnings.

    We know bill gates is behind this and is persistant in killing people. He has an evil agenda.

    Thank you again!!!

  12. Grace
    3 weeks ago

    I trust Dr Northrup and I have been following her for years, but this time I have to disagree. Advise against the flu vaccine is misleading and dangerous, especially during a pandemic of a virus that causes similar symptoms.
    Please follow the CDC guidelines and do not put your life and your loved ones at risk.

    1. Danielle
      7 days ago

      My dear,
      Of course you are free to choose. But it looks like you’ve chosen to also ‘drink the Kool Aid.’
      Happy trails to you.

  13. Judy
    3 weeks ago

    I am so glad you feel this way and are getting the information out! People need to be aware of these issues and be proactive. It helps when well respected doctors like yourself make strong statements such as this. Thank you!!!!!

  14. Linda
    3 weeks ago

    The only and only time I got a flu shot, which I was forced to get by my employer, I got the flu. Never again. And my husband got the flu every time her got a flu shot.
    Thanks for the great info.

    1. Nick Swin
      2 weeks ago

      My family and I is getting the flu shot since 1999 and since then we did not had any flu.

  15. Anne Marie Polich
    3 weeks ago

    Thank you so much for giving reasonable advice re: vaccines. We are not getting this information from doctors, medical offices. The flu vaccine is pushed so heavily, especially because I am older (mid 60’s). I really appreciate your recommendation here. I will not be getting the flu vaccine.

  16. Julie Craker
    3 weeks ago

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!! You have condensed many of the dangers from vaccines into a short, very readable piece that will be easier to share with our friends and family who have blind faith in a deeply flawed medical system. For those of us who have followed the science and seen the brave doctors and scientists who have gallantly tried to warn us all of what was happening in our “for profit” medical model, you have given us hope and a tool to try to get others to study the information for themselves. I always say that if anyone receiving vaccines and offering up their innocent children to this medical procedure had a clue as to the manufacturing processes of these potions, they would never consent. This has been a terrifying time for my family as we had changed over to taking full responsibility for our health and are now seeing the possibility of being forced into a medical procedure that we know harms the body. Using excellent quality supplements, naturopathic practitioners, holistic doctors, and bodywork practitioners, we are maintaining a higher quality of health. Thank you again for all you do for all of us!

  17. Pamela Jeanne ND
    3 weeks ago

    You Dr. Northrup are the sane voice we desperately need in a world of dis-information. I so appreciate your willingness to extend your medical expertise to all of us. We need this! I have been in health care for over 50 years fist as an RN and now as a naturopathic physician, and i have seen the twisted and biased medical information over the years. Most of all, It is so refreshing to hear from a female voice of logic. Women have been ignored far too long.
    thank you so much!!

  18. Rae Ann Wright
    3 weeks ago

    Exactly why I do not take the flu shot and haven’t since I was 18yrs old, when I got so sick as a direct result of that shot! I wish you could get this to Pres. Trump! You and Dr. Judy Mikovits are RIGHT ON! Love you Dr. Northrup, I saw you and Dr. Wayne Dyer in person in Long Beach, CA a few years ago!

  19. Ann Hampton
    3 weeks ago

    Thank you Dr. Northrup for this information. I am a registered nurse and was pressured to get vaccinated every year. As I started to age, I would get deathly ill with respiratory infection requiring medical intervention the last couple of years before I retired in 2015. Since then I no longer get the flu shot, and guess what, I no longer get deathly ill with
    a respiratory virus flu season. I am not saying that the flu shot gave me a respiratory virus, but I appear to be much better off without one. I did get the flu this past season. I did not get deathly ill nor need medical intervention. Now, I will know how to prevent with Vit D, Zinc, and Vit C.

  20. Sonna Elliott
    3 weeks ago

    Thank you Dr. Northrup. I have Never heard any of this information. I am a very healthy 80 year old, and don’t want to put anything in my body that is potentially harmful. So,THANK YOU!!! Sonna Elliott

  21. Sharon Gallagher
    3 weeks ago

    Thank-you for your Informative And honest opinion.
    I am going to skip the flu vaccination this year and do everything I can to maintain A healthy immune system.
    As an acupuncturist and meditation instructor I believe in treating the cause of the symptoms promoting health and longevity and preventing disease through healthy lifestyle choices. Namaste

  22. Shannon
    3 weeks ago

    Wonderful article. I feel armed with the information I need when asked why I choose not to get vaccines. Additionally, why are we all so afraid of a flu? It’s a natural process by which our bodies, when they reach a fever, fight off nasty lingering cells (like cancer) and bring your body back into homeostasis. It can actually be a very beneficial reset and natural process. Mother Nature is much wiser than we give her credit for.

  23. Jill
    3 weeks ago

    Thank you for this reassurance. I have instinctively avoided having flu vaccine but doubts sometimes deep into my mind, so it’s great to be reminded why I don’t need one.

  24. Marsha Burack
    3 weeks ago

    I love this article thank you so much for writing and I’m sending it on to others. I wonder what you feel about the COVID-19, I wonder of how you feel about protecting yourself with masks and just how you would protect yourself a given that Sweden handled it so differently and what you would feel about a vaccine for this could you write some thing about COVID-19

  25. Sandra MacLean
    3 weeks ago

    Hi, Is there an article about the safety of all the vaccines given to children ?
    I am thinking that Dr Northrup may feel the same about those vaccines as about the flu ones …
    Its very scary for a parent to make the decision to vaccinate or not to vaccinate

    Thank you

  26. Jamie
    3 weeks ago

    I have learned a few times that flu shots and vaccinations feel physiologically wrong for me, personally. When my daughter was in kindergarten, my family encouraged me to “save ourselves” as we were getting very sick and upon re-entering college at 30 I was required a vaccination where my arm swelled and felt like a baseball. I have been so much healthier since putting those ideas to bed and using tips, such as these, toward health. Vitamin C, D, oil of oregano, colloidal silver, elderberry are among some of my favorite allies in the winter. Eucalyptus in the bath. Plus getting sick, as kids and adults, boosts our immunity, just like being around a pet if you have a pet allergy. Vaccinations only worsen these symptoms. I have loved learning to trust my body and intuition on supplements and healing. Thank you, as always, Dr. Northrup, for your sound wisdom, tips, and love for true human health.

  27. Meredith
    3 weeks ago

    Thank you for this. In Massachusetts, the Governor is requiring all children age six months and older to receive a flu vaccine in order to attend school or daycare. It’s horrifying. I don’t quite know what to do, since I’m completely opposed to the vaccine for myself and for my four-year-old, for all the reasons you list above. Ugh. I’m just hoping there will be a legal challenge before the requirement takes effect at the end of the year.

    1. Coulson Duerksen
      2 weeks ago

      Please contact the They challenged a similar law in CA (requiring all college students to get flu vaccine even if not on campus) and are winning.

  28. Barbara Smith
    3 weeks ago

    Thank you for providing all this information and data . I will be sharing it everywhere!

  29. Josie McGovern
    3 weeks ago

    My husband is 83, I am 78 and we have never gotten flu shots. Even tho my husband has beaten cancer & a stroke. The only thing the stroke has done has caused slight dementia.. even with Covid 19 we still have not gotten flu shots. Thank you for this in depth explanation..

  30. Ellen
    3 weeks ago

    Thank you, Dr. Northtrup, for the clear explanation of the risks of the flu vaccine. I did not want to get the vaccine this year, but I did because I am a nurse in a hospital and it is mandatory for us. It does not feel good not to be allowed to make a choice, but I don’t know how I can avoid it short of changing careers.

  31. Linda
    3 weeks ago

    Thank you for this.

    I’ve been grappling with whether or not to get a flu shot since I get the incessant, doomsday alert by family members and friends. Even the medical community seems to be touting the vaccine this year because of Covid. I agree with you, Dr. Northrup, and I’m so grateful for all your wisdom on this subject. I’m planning to forward your blog to the rest of my family.

    Thank you for all you do!

  32. Terri
    3 weeks ago

    Hi Dr Northrup! I am 54 I have never gotten a flu vaccine and plan on never ever getting one!! I also never went and got one for my kids. I LOVE your “Great Awakening” videos. I appreciate all the information u share and am so grateful. I learn so much from you!! I chose to not vaccinate my daughter. She was born in 1996. I had no idea she had received the Hep B shot in the hospital as soon as she was born until I read the papers I signed, while in labour, when I had gotten home from the hospital. My Doula gave me a copy of Mothering magazine which was so helpful and informative about many topics-one of them being the vaccine issue. That magazine helped me “wake up” and make an educated decision not to vaccinate and then also to hire a Midwife to help me deliver my son at home!!! And I feel you help woman “wake up” too!! I do have a question concerning my son. He is a Recruited soccer player and now a sophomore at the United States Air Force Acadamy. He and I both worked on getting information so he wouldn’t have to get the mandatory vaccinations and was not able to find any waiver for the AFA, so we did have a visit with Dr Sherry Tenpenny (we live in Akron and her office is not far from us!!) and she helped us pump his body with immune builders and spaced the vaccines out to one every week. I also had to release the “fear” around the vaccines so my son could also do the same and we surrounded the vaccine with love and called it “love juice” i was sad that he had to get vaccinated, as he never got sick and got the flu a couple times. Oh-both kids do have life immunity to chicken pox-i went to a chicken pox party when they were little!! He did end up getting REALLY sick 6 weeks later after completing basic cadet training ☹️ He couldn’t breathe, had a fever for over a week, terrible headache, sore throat, and lost 17lbs he was told he had bronchitis, but maybe he had COVID? This would of been a year ago in August 2019. Or a reaction to the vaccines? Anyway, I am wondering if you have any information that could help him deny getting the flu vaccine or any further vaccines? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for being you and sharing all you do.!! Many blessings to you . Namaste ☮️

  33. Sinéad
    3 weeks ago

    Hi Christiane,
    In Ireland they’re really pushing this vaccine. Especially at children! It’s a nasal spray and they’re making it out to be super safe and essential so as not to spread flu this season.
    My family & I will not be getting it.
    I love your newsletter and I love your Instagram videos!
    Big warm hugs from Ireland,
    Sinéad x

  34. Tonja Jones
    3 weeks ago

    Thank you for such an in-depth article on flu vaccines. I have not had the flu vaccine since 1979 (military rules), and since that time, I have only gotten the flu a couple of times over the decades. I am constantly pushed by family members, doctors, even my pharmacist, to get vaccinated. I trust my gut, and your article provided the research to back up my gut feeling.

  35. Becky
    3 weeks ago

    You are taking such a risk by asking us to go against the advice of our doctors. I worry about taking this vaccine every year. If I listen to my doctor, I worry about the side effects you mention. If I listen to you, I worry about being unprotected. It is awful!


  36. Sarah deGrood
    3 weeks ago

    Thank you? What is your opinion of pneumonia and shingles vaccine?

  37. Lindsay Ambridge
    3 weeks ago

    Not sure if Dr Northrop will get this message of gratitude, I know she’s super busy.

    I live in the U.K. and have followed Dr Christian Northrop for a while now on various platforms.
    I have shared many of her emails to friends and family who are very impressed with her work and blogs particularly in these times of fear and panic, which in my view has been brought on by mainstream media and governments messages.
    Here in the U.K. there has been absolutely no information given to people on how to keep their immune systems strong, yet the push is to stock up on chocolates, cakes , sweets for the Christmas season…..
    so thank goodness for these vital emails, I do my best to spread the word.
    Kind Regards

  38. Ella Carlton
    3 weeks ago

    Thanks for the information. I have always refused the flu vaccine from the first time I was encouraged to get one. My instincts said no, but it is good to know why.

  39. Roxanne Sylver
    3 weeks ago

    I didn’t realize this about the flu shot. I already got it! What can I do now?

    1. Coulson Duerksen
      2 weeks ago

      Please see Dr. Northrup’s blog “Do You Need a Detox?” for ways you can detox after vaccines.

  40. Leigh Resteiner
    3 weeks ago

    What about flu shot with chronic lung issue like brichiectasid with pseudomonas? Pulmonologist wants me to get flu shot but I’m not keen on I also I’d it needed to have mammogram after age 70?

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