Sunday, October 17, 2010

Big Brother and the Flu Vaccine

Last week, I saw a patient, Nancy, who works at a local hospital. Nancy was told if she did not receive the flu vaccination, she would have to wear a mask for three months. Furthermore, Nancy would have a red sticker placed on her name badge telling all that she did not receive the flu vaccine. Has society gone mad? Being forced to wear a red sticker and a mask for choosing not to have a flu vaccination is utter madness. This is more Big Brother hogwash.

The flu vaccine is recommended for nearly everybody over the age of six months. The U.S. Government claims the flu vaccine will save 36,000 lives per year. However, there are no statistics to back up this claim. In fact, there are no statistics to show the flu shot is effective at preventing the flu.

The Cochrane Group (an independent medical research group designed to help physicians put evidence into practice) published a study which tried to answer the question, “Does seasonal influenza immunization of health care personnel reduce the incidence of influenza and its complications in older residents of long-term facilities?” The authors examined four randomized controlled trials and one cohort study. They found that vaccination of personnel had no effect on the incidence of laboratory-proven influenza, pneumonia, admissions to the hospital, and death from pneumonia. The authors concluded, “There is insufficient evidence to support the vaccination of health care workers as a measure to protect older patients from influenza.” (Am. Fam. Phy. Oct 1, 2010. Vol. 82, No. 7. Pg. 763-4)

It is ridiculous to mandate anyone getting a flu vaccine. In fact, I think it is ridiculous for anyone to get the flu vaccine since the flu vaccine has never been shown to prevent the flu or decrease mortality from the flu. Finally, most flu vaccines contain toxic contaminants such as mercury. The best advice I can give you is to do your research and then make your own decision on whether the flu shot is right for you.


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