Monday, October 19, 2009

Let's Talk About Flu Shots.

There are few discussions that rile me up faster than the current flu vaccination one. So let's have a little Q and A session, shall we?

They haven't tested the H1N1/swine flue vaccine fully.
Wrong. They have. Look it up at any reputable news organization. It was tested exactly like the other flu vaccines.

They manufactured the vaccine in a different way.
They did not. You are wrong.

I don't want to vaccinate against SWINE FLU! That's nuts!
Every single flu strain, every year, has a mix of DNA bits from chickens, pigs and humans. EVERY YEAR. This is not news.

Yeah but it's a separate vaccine, that is sketchy.
No. It isn't sketchy. The flu appeared in April. Usually vaccines are made then, so there was not time to safeguard against this year's strain of Influenza A AND H1N1. So there's two. That's it. Do you think the flu shot is the same every year? Are you an idiot? It's a new shot each year, tailored to the strain that is starting with flu season in other parts of the world. We make a vaccine, and use it for when our flu season starts. It's new. So this year, it's just two versions.

But the flu vaccine will make a superbug, an ultravirus that will kill us all!
That is antibiotics. Did you know there is a difference between antibiotics and vaccines? Look it up! It's amazing!

There was an unpublished Canadian study about how getting the regular flu shot makes people more susceptible to H1N1. Take THAT, Pig of Success!
So... great novels that are unpublished are still great. But do you know why scientific and medical studies are unpublished? Because the results have not been replicated anywhere else. Because the testing methods have not been determined to follow proper guidelines. Because the sample size is sometimes like four people. It's unpublished because it might be nothing. THINK ABOUT IT. (It's not unpublished because it's a secret. Scientists don't work that way. You're not sneakily discovering something "THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW." Pfft.)

What about thimerosal, the mercury derivative, in vaccines?
If you'd rather get medical advice from Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy, then I hope Darwin's theories do their work. If you think it causes autism, then you're on the fringe of society. Which is fine, go for it. But do you think we got rid of polio by being strong people? And smallpox? Someone said to me recently, "I just think our bodies need to be strong enough to fight these things off."


Then you should probably expose yourself to AIDS and see if you're strong enough to fight it off. Influenza is, EVERY YEAR, in the top ten causes of death for Americans. TOP TEN. Is thimerasol related illness in the top ten? It hasn't even be proven to exist.

The whole conspiracy theory attitude, combined with the superior and selfish "my kid is perfect and shouldn't risk unnatural vaccines" attitude, combined with its-awesome-to-be-a-rebel in this day and age attitude has come together to make people think the flu ain't no thang, and the vaccine is out to hurt them. I suppose you can think of your government that way. You could also think that billions of dollars are spent on OTC products and lost days at work during flu season, and vaccinating might prevent some of that.

When in doubt, remember: post hoc, ergo propter hoc. That means: after it, therefore because of it. People get a flu shot, get sick two days later, and they tell 537 Facebook friends that the vaccine made them sick. Actually, they were already sick - for days, probably. It takes days of incubation and so the two things appeared to be related but weren't. Like when you eat something and blame your upset belly on it, but we know - it was the meal 2 or 3 before that. But no no: post hoc, ergo propter hoc. It's easier to blame the thing that came just before the problem. But it is WRONG.

I don't care if you don't get a shot. It's too expensive, you don't have time, you're between 20 and 45 and healthy. Fine. But jumping on the anti-vaccine bandwagon is selfish, stupid and like the people at the Tea Party Rally who were shouting, "What are these czars?! What do they do?! We don't even know! What powers do they have?!"

Your ignorance isn't someone else's fault. Look up what czars do in our federal government. Every night at dinner say, "What did I learn today?" And if you didn't learn anything, go look something up. Don't spout off, "I heard that they haven't even tested that swine flu vaccine," until you do some damn research and find out if it's true.

The great thing about the world is that any one of us doesn't hold all the knowledge. Someone else usually knows the answer to a question you might have. How novel!


  1. I am with you. As a parent, I feel that people who choose not to vaccinate their children are only ABLE to do that and still live in safety because the rest of us DO vaccinate our children and thus those horrible diseases just aren't floating around out there making many people sick like they used to.

    Generally, I don't get a flu shot, though. I had my kids get them when they were under two and more in the danger zone for complications. Other years, I haven't. For healthy people, the flu is not usually life-threatening, and I hate getting shots myself, and I hate making my kids get them. So I haven't felt like it was that necessary.

    BUT. Last year we learned my oldest has asthma, and a particular type of asthma that is very aggravated by any respiratory infection. My pediatrician told us everyone in the family has to get both kinds of flu shot. Yuck. So we're going to. For me, that made the decision that much easier. Doctor's orders, we have to get it because one daughter is at particular risk. If it weren't for that...I don't know.

    However, for vaccines in general I am all for them, and I really, really hate the misinformation that is being spread so widely this year.

    You left out the objections about H1N1 shots causing Guillen-Barre Syndrome (as MAY possibly have happened with a swine flu vaccine in the 70s) and about H1N1 containing "nanoparticles" that are dangerous. Those are two objections friends of mind have raised.

  2. I may need to do a tad more research... but my understanding is that the generally accepted risk rate for G-B Syndrome is one in a million vaccines. Not to stay that's zero, but getting out of life alive is impossible, as they say.

    So that's 300 people at risk, if all 300 million Americans got vaccinated. And 36,000 Americans alone die from flu and flu-related complications.

    As for "nanoparticles" I have heard this one too... but since the term actually encapsulates the definition of most molecules on the planet, and Google turned up three pages of sites like "" and "" when I tried, I figured I would leave it out! I don't know enough about what people mean about why they're dangerous... the research I saw said that they usually bond into larger formations, that place them outside the potential risks of moving through cell membranes and interacting with other parts of our biology/biological processes.

    But I ain't a scientist! Anyone out there a scientist? Let us know the latest in nanotechnology news...

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  4. Small pox wasn't ended by a vaccine. I read that small pox was everywhere, and then they passed out all these special blankets that covered the pox and the pox couldn't breathe through the blankets and they got snuffed out. Or something like that.

    And then FDR ended polio by running over it in his wheelchair.