I was at the midwife’s yesterday (down 2 more lbs.!) and they have a TV looping CNN Health features. It is nice to have some entertainment in the waiting room but yesterday there was a huge segment about the Flu Vaccine. A few months ago this wouldn’t have phased me. I had never had a flu shot but *shrug* to each his own was my feeling. Now that I KNOW better I was shocked at how full of lies this promotion was.
First off, the nasal spray vaccine, FluMist, is a live virus. You are very likely to get flu-like symptoms from this AND you can shed live virus and infect others. ‘Nuff said about that one.
The Flu vaccine shot is completely useless and sold very aggressively through lies and smoke and mirrors by modern snake oil vendors. Commercials, posters, radio announcements. We are being played. We don’t believe everything we see on the “ab roller” infomercial but these commercials seem official enough to make us blindly believe it must be important and real. It is not. We are being played. Check out this presentation by the CDC Director of Communications. This basically amounts to a marketing plan for getting people hooked on the flu vaccine.
These are direct quotes from their “Recipe” that Fosters Influenza Vaccine Interest and Demand (emphasis mine) :
- “Medical experts and public health authorities publicly (e.g., via media) state concern and alarm (and predict dire outcomes)–and urge influenza vaccination.”
- “Framing of the flu season in terms that motivate behavior (e.g., as “very severe,” “more severe than last or past years,” “deadly”)”
- “References to, and discussions, of pandemic influenza–along with continued reference to the importance of vaccination.”
- “Vaccination demand, particularly among people who don’t routinely receive an annual influenza vaccination, is related toheightened concern, anxiety, and worry. For example:
- A perception or sense that many people are falling ill;
- A perception or sense that many people are experiencing bad illness;
- A perception or sense of vulnerability to contracting and experiencing bad illness.”
- “Some component of success (i.e., higher demand for influenza vaccine) stems from media stories and information that create motivating (i.e., high) levels of concern and anxiety about influenza.”
So this is classical and premeditated fearmongering! They are trying to make you feel “heightened concern, anxiety, and worry.” How horrible is that? AND they know it doesn’t work based on their “lessons learned”;
- “It’s hard to create motivating levels of concern and anxiety about influenza–and thus interest in influenza vaccination–when:
- disease severity and impact are in line with people’s/media expectations
- Perceived or actual vaccine effectiveness doesn’t meet the expectations or standards of those for whom vaccination is recommended (fortunately, evidence of effectiveness helps)”
I love that word, “create.” So they know that they have a hard time creating this panic because the disease is not as bad as they imply and the vaccine is not effective.
The Disease is Not as Bad as They Imply: Flu kills 36,000 a year in the US
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Web site, uses a common strategy to highlight — really exaggerate — risk.” This quote is from a Washington Post article about the misleading numbers used to sell the flu vaccine. The article points out the context of this number:
- It includes flu-related deaths. Thus if someone with a severe illness gets the flu and dies it is called a flu death even if there was a confounding illness.
- It doesn’t inlcude the context. 36,000 out of what? The actual numbers show that on average there is a .01% chance of flu related death and if you are under 65 the number is more accurately 1 in 100,000.
- 90% of flu-related deaths occur in people over 65 who probably have a confounding illness.
They also supply this graph on the right. Hmmmm, doesn’t look the the vaccination rate make much of a difference does it? As the article states; “Despite a dramatic increase in vaccination among the elderly, deaths from the flu and pneumonia have hardly budged.”
The Vaccine is not Effective:
Many studies have shown that the flu vaccine is ineffective. It is only targeted to attack 3 strains of the flu that scientists predict, months in advance, will be them most virulent. The 2008 vaccine was reported to have a 44% success rate. All studies show that it is minimally effective: “In 2 seasons with suboptimal antigenic match between vaccines and circulating strains, we could not demonstrate VE [vaccine effectiveness] in preventing influenza-related inpatient/ED [emergency room visits] or outpatient visits in children younger than 5 years. Further study is needed during years with good vaccine match (Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008 Oct;162(10):943-51).” It also shows little effectiveness in its target audience, the elderly.
“Of the 1,000 people who got the vaccine before November 1, 149 went on to develop influenza-like illness (14.9 percent). Of the 402 people who did not get the vaccine, 68 got an influenza-like illness (16.9 percent), the study said.” Reported CNN in 2004.
If you are still thinking of this shot for yourself or you 6 month old infant as recommended by the CDC don’t forget there are side effects to this ineffective vaccine for a non-threatening illness:
“The most common reactions to inactivated flu vaccine are fever, fatigue, painful joints, and headache. The most frequently reported serious reaction, which usually occurs within two weeks of vaccination, is Guillain-Barré syndrome, an immune mediated nerve disorder characterized by muscle weakness, numbness, pain and paralysis that can lead to death.”
And I don’t just post this to save our children from damage. My father has been told to get flu shots because he has heart disease and is thus in a risk group. So, for him, despite that fact that (1) it doesn’t work, and (2) influenza is not something to fear, (3) it is linked to Alzheimer’s. “Hugh Fudenberg, MD, an immunogeneticist and biologist with nearly 850 papers published in peer review journals, has reported that if an individual had five consecutive flu shots between 1970 and 1980 (the years studied), his/her chances of getting Alzheimer’s Disease is ten times higher than if they had zero, one, or two shots (Dr. Fudenberg’s speech at the NVIC International Vaccine Conference, Arlington, VA September, 1997).”
Maybe we are all just being silly residents of the Town of Allopath.