Skeptical Raptor's Blog hunting pseudoscience in the internet jungle

Dumb Asses who don’t get the flu vaccine

flu-shot-mythsEvery flu season, I resurrect this hysterical and snarky by Infectious Disease specialist Dr. Mark Crislip which was originally published in A Budget of Dumb Asses, which accurately states that healthcare workers who refuse to get a flu vaccine are Dumb Asses. Yes, complete and utter Dumb Asses. Even though this broadside against vaccine deniers is about the flu vaccine, it’s all right to search and replace flu with say meningitis, pertussis, measles or anything. And just because it’s about healthcare workers, it’s all right to replace that with your neighbor, co-worker, or some other anti-scientific antivaccination Dumb Ass.

The upcoming 2014-2015 flu season is just starting, and many physicians and clinics (along with many pharmacies, government flu clinics, and other places) have this season’s flu vaccine. One of the best ways, if not the only real way, to prevent contracting this year’s flu is by immunization with the seasonal flu vaccine.

And it’s time for intelligent, reasonable, and rational people to get their flu shots. We’ve dispensed with many of the myths that are cherished by vaccine refusers, and many reseachers have shown that getting the flu vaccine can improve health outcomes.

Warning: this is funny (unless you’re a vaccine denier, in which case you have no sense of humor, irony or sarcasm, something probably gained by getting vaccinated). So, if you’re reading this list while sipping on coffee, I take no responsibility for damage to your computer, smart phone, or tablet if you snort out your drink. Them’s the rules. 

flu-vaccine-facts-myths

Crislip starts out his snarky list with a quick preamble about those who refuse to get a flu shot:

I wonder if you are one of those Dumb Asses who do not get the flu shot each year? Yes. Dumb Ass. Big D, big A. You may be allergic to the vaccine (most are not when tested), you may have had Guillain-Barre, in which case I will cut you some slack. But if you don’t have those conditions and you work in healthcare and you don’t get a vaccine for one of the following reasons, you are a Dumb Ass.

And here are Crislip’s 14 types of anti-flu shot dumb asses. Warning: don’t drink anything while reading this. Seriously, you’ve been warned.

  1. The vaccine gives me the flu. Dumb Ass. It is a killed vaccine. It cannot give you the influenza. It is impossible to get flu from the influenza vaccine.
  2. I never get the flu, so I don’t need the vaccine. Irresponsible Dumb Ass. I have never had a head on collision, but I wear my seat belt. And you probably don’t use a condom either. So far you have been lucky, and you are a potential winner of a Darwin Award, although since you don’t use a condom, you are unfortunately still in the gene pool.
  3. Only old people get the flu. Selfish Dumb Ass. Influenza can infect anyone, and the groups who are more likely to die of influenza are the very young, the pregnant, and the elderly. Often those most at risk for dying from influenza are those least able, due to age or underlying diseases, to respond to the vaccine. You can help prevent your old, sickly Grandmother or your newborn daughter from getting influenza by getting the vaccine, so you do not get flu and pass it one to her. Flu, by the way, is highly contagious, with 20% to 50% of contacts with an index case getting the flu. However, Granny may be sitting on a fortune that will come to you, and killing her off with the flu is a great way to get her out of the way and never be caught. That would make a good episode of CSI.
  4. I can prevent influenza or treat it by taking echinacea, vitamin C, oscillococcinum or Airborne. Gullible Dumb Ass cubed then squared. None of these concoctions has any efficacy what so ever against influenza. And if you think oscillococcinum has any efficacy, I would like you to invest in a perpetual motion machine I have invented. None of the above either prevent or treat influenza. And you can’t “boost” your immune system either. Anyone who suggests otherwise wants you money, not to improve your health.
  5. Flu isn’t all that bad of a disease. Underestimating Dumb Ass. Part of the problem with the term flu is that it is used both as a generic term for damn near any viral illness with a fever and is also used for a severe viral pneumonia. Medical people are just as inaccurate about using the term as the general public. The influenza virus directly and indirectly kills 20,000 people (depending on the circulating strain and year) and leads to the hospitalization of 200,000 in the US each year. Influenza is a nasty lung illness. And what is stomach ‘flu’? No such thing.
  6. I am not at risk for flu. Denying Dumb Ass. If you breathe, you are risk for influenza. Here are the groups of people who should not get the flu vaccine (outside of people with severe adverse reactions to the vaccine): Former President Clinton, who evidently doesn’t inhale. Michele Bachmann. Wait, that’s the HPV vaccine.  And people who want to be safe from zombies. If you don’t get the vaccine you do not have to worry about the zombie apocalypse, because zombies eat brains.
  7. The vaccine is worse than the disease. Dumb Ass AND a wimp. What a combination. Your mother must be proud. Unless you think a sore deltoid for a day is too high a price to pay to prevent two weeks of high fevers, severe muscles aches, and intractable cough.
  8. I had the vaccine last year, so I do not need it this year. Uneducated Dumb Ass. Each year new strains of influenza circulate across the world. Last year’s vaccine at best provides only partial protection. Every year you need a new shot.
  9. The vaccine costs too much. Cheap Dumb Ass. The vaccine costs less than a funeral, less than Tamiflu, and less than a week in the hospital.
  10. I received the vaccine and I got the flu anyway. Inexact Dumb Ass. The vaccine is not perfect and you may have indeed had the flu. More likely you called one of the many respiratory viruses (viri?) people get each year the flu. Remember there are hundreds of potential causes of a respiratory infection circulating, the vaccine only covers influenza, the virus most likely to kill you and yours.
  11. I don’t believe in the flu vaccine. Superstitious, premodern, magical thinking Dumb Ass. What is there to believe in? Belief is what you do when there is no data. Probably don’t believe in gravity or germ theory either. Everyone, I suppose, has to believe in something, and I believe I will have a beer.
  12. I will wait until I have symptoms and stay homeDangerous Dumb Ass. Despite often coming to work ill, especially second year residents, about 1 in 5 cases of influenza are subclinical, hospitalized patients are more susceptible to acquiring influenza from HCW’s than the general population,  and 27% of nosocomial acquired H1N1 died. And you wil never realize that you were the one responsible for killing that patient by passing on the flu.
  13. The flu vaccine is not safe and has not been evaluated for safety. Computer illiterate Dumb Ass. There are 1342 references on the PubMeds on safety of the flu vaccine, and the vaccine causes only short term, mild reactions. All health care requires weighing the risks of an intervention against the benefits. For the flu vaccine all the data suggests huge benefit for negligible risk. And as a HCW, it could be argued that we have a moral responsibility to maximize the safety of our patients.
  14. The government puts tracking nanobots in the vaccine as well as RFID chips as part of the mark of the beast, and the vaccine doesn’t work since it is part of a big government sponsored conspiracy to keep Americans ill, fill hospital beds, line the pockets of big pharma and inject the American sheeple with exotic new infections in an attempt to control population growth and help usher in a New World Order. Well, that excuse is at least reasonable. Paranoid Dumb Ass.
And here’s Mark Crislip’s sage advice:

So get the vaccine. And pass this essay on to someone else. The life you may save may be your own. Or be a Dumb Ass.

The flu vaccine is available now throughout the USA, Canada and other countries in the northern hemisphere. Go get them. They’re not going to hurt you, and they will save lives, maybe your own, maybe your child’s, maybe your parents.

Go. Now. You’ve read this, and now you know people who don’t get flu shots are Dumb Asses, so says one of the top infectious disease specialists on the planet. Go get your flu shot. You’re still here? I’m sure your insurance will cover it, so no more delays. GO.

 

Use the Science-based Vaccine Search Engine.

 

Comments (211)
  • Pingback: Did you get your flu vaccination?–2014 version()

  • Cathy McMahan

    go get them then, I will not take them

    • http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php Skeptical Raptor

      Ignorance can be deadly.

    • kellymbray

      Cool. Darwin in action.

  • Simhamuka

    I’ll get vaccinated on everything. But I won’t get the flu shot.
    I had a conversation back in the late 90’s with the head researcher of a biotech firm in Seattle. (I think the flu shot had just been developed; anyways, she was rolling her eyes over the hoopla.) She explained that vaccines and the various drugs they create, while they do the best they can with the research, no amount of research is perfect (not even human trials). They almost always have to adjust the vaccine for how it performed “live.” The vaccine that comes out two years later is much better. So it’s best to wait a year or two if you can, if your life doesn’t depend on it.

    She said that these adjustments can’t happen with the flu shot, it can’t be improved, because it’s different every year. So every year, if you get the flu shot, you’re a “beta tester,” she said.

    She explained that the flu shot could have been created long before it actually came out. It wasn’t that difficult, in her opinion. It’s just that since the flu viruses were different every year, they had very little time to do proper research before it had to be produced and on the shelves. You had less than a year to slam it out. Ethical researchers refused to do that. It’s bad science.

    But, due to slow FDA approval times (the cancer drug she’d developed was likely going to take eight years to get approved unless they had political connections that could grease the wheels — she said there were a lot of politics involved with FDA approvals) — biotech firms caved. There was a lot of money in flu shots. And no threat from generics, because every year it was new.

    She didn’t judge the researchers who were involved in producing the flu shot. She understood the pressures they were under. It is very hard to stand up to management when your research department’s the primary expense, and your research’s gone down a lot of rabbit holes and dead ends. That’s the nature of research, but try telling that to the people who funded you. She had decades of experience and even she had to pick her battles.

    Unless there’s some pressing reason, like my immune system’s compromised somehow, she didn’t recommend it.

    • JanetTotten

      If that is what she told you, she was more likely the janitor at that company. Flu vaccines are only good for the year they are given. The virus mutates each year. I have a PhD and worked in immunology and virology labs for the last 24 years.

      • Guest

        She was the head researcher at Immunex.
        And that’s what she said. Flu shots are only good that year.

        That’s also what I just said. They’re only good that year.
        That’s *why* the flu shot never gets refined and improved. That’s why the research behind it is too fast to be reliable.

        She’s highly qualified and ethical. Her reasoning is sound. You don’t have to listen (though I would appreciate if you read my whole comment before you replied). This is simply why I don’t do the flu shot. It’s not good science. You shouldn’t rush the research and testing — and yet with the flu shot, you have to.

      • Simhamuka

        She was the head researcher at Immunex.
        And that’s what she said. Flu shots are only good that year.
        That’s also what I just said. They’re only good that year.
        That’s *why* the flu shot never gets refined and improved. That’s why the research behind it is too fast to be reliable.

        She’s highly qualified and ethical. Her reasoning is sound. You don’t have to listen (though I would appreciate if you read my whole comment before you replied). This is simply why I don’t do the flu shot. It’s not good science. You shouldn’t rush the research and testing — and yet with the flu shot, you have to.

      • Guest

        She was the head researcher at Immunex.
        And that’s what she said. Flu shots are only good that year.
        That’s also what I just said. They’re only good that year.
        That’s *why* the flu shot never gets refined and improved. That’s why the research behind it is too fast to be reliable.

        She’s highly qualified and ethical. Her reasoning is sound. You don’t have to listen (though I would appreciate if you read my whole comment before you replied). This is simply why I don’t do the flu shot. It’s not good science. You shouldn’t rush the research and testing — and yet with the flu shot, you have to.

        • JanetTotten

          “The vaccine that comes out two years later is much better.”

          That is what you said. The vaccine that comes out two years later is specific for that year. The vaccines are made based on best estimates (educated guesses). Some years the match to very good, and other years, that is not the case. That does not means the vaccine is not without merit. Even 40-60% efficacy is significant. Of course, the vaccines that will be made in 10 years will probably be better. That is just due to knowing more and improving methods. However, the vaccines we have today have very few side effects and are quite effective.

          • Simhamuka

            Ah. I was talking generally first about normal vaccines that don’t have to be created new every year. She explained to me that those are refined gradually over time — in that case, the vaccine two years later has improved. The result is as safe as you can make it.

            Then I compared this typical vaccine to the flu shot, which is a new vaccine every year and rushed to the market.

            She also said that with any drug or vaccine, if it’s new and one can afford to wait (if your life’s not on the line), then it’s better to give it a couple of years. No research, not even human trials, is perfect.

            I separate the flu shot from other vaccines. Those are properly researched. The flu shot can’t be.

            Of course, she prefaced this whole conversation with “don’t quote me, but–” and here I am quoting her. Well, sort of. That’s why I’m not giving her name. ::shrugs::

            Besides, I’m sure she wouldn’t want to feed the anti-vaccine movement.

            I’m a rational person. I weigh all the factors for myself … the fact that I have a 1% chance of getting the flu (most mistake the common cold for the flu) … the fact that the flu’s unpleasant, but for me not likely to be dangerous … the problems with the match, yes, the producers guess at the seven most likely strains and sometimes make the wrong call … and the fact that by necessity the flu shot’s poorly researched … all that together tips me into the “nope” category.

        • Sullivan ThePoop

          She is make believe. you are lying

          • Simhamuka

            If you don’t want to believe me, that’s fine. But she is real.

      • Simhamuka

        Sorry about the multiple comments. API was going through some kind of maintenance while I was posting.

        • JanetTotten

          No worries. Adorable cat!

      • http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php Skeptical Raptor

        You saved me the trouble for actually replying the comment. I reject anecdotes from people who say “a friend of a friend of a cousin’s wife’s daughter’s mother” said blah or blah.

        The statement above is filled with anecdotes, strawman arguments, and ignorant logical fallacies.

        Cancer drugs can be fast-tracked but no one likes that except desperate patients. Most cancer drugs simply don’t work, and up to 90% fail to get through Phase 1, 2 or 3 trials. Why fast track something that could be dangerous and do nothing? Evidence based medicine requires clinical trials. It’s amusing that people are always bitching that the FDA is bought off by someone, unless it’s their favorite drug. Then it’s some other conspiracy.

        Yes, flu vaccines are a challenge, because the virus mutates. But based on Simhamuka’s comments, the appeal to perfection is important because if the vaccine isn’t perfect then throw it in the trash. Evidence shows how effective it is. So, it’s lie to say otherwise.

        • Simhamuka

          “It’s amusing that people are always bitching that the FDA is bought off by someone, unless it’s their favorite drug. Then it’s some other conspiracy.”

          She was the head researcher at Immunex. I worked there in late summer, 1998.

          But I’m not giving her name because, for one thing, as I mentioned below, she wouldn’t want her comments pounced on by the anti-immunization movement. She also felt that her comments would be viewed as sour grapes, but honestly, they weren’t. The conversation was really about the financial pressure to push drugs out the door.

          She was a bit cynical that her main breakthrough had been stalled in the FDA until we hired someone with the right DC connections. His title wasn’t “lobbyist” but that was his real job. The conversation started because the company, now that they had a “hit” (it hadn’t cleared the FDA yet when I was there, but it was going to) had celebrated, and then wanted another hit, instantly. Frustrating to her, because they didn’t seem to get that the last one took years of research — most of her career in fact, since she’d actually started her work long before she was at Immunex. She called that drug once in a lifetime, that they might create something smaller, less splashy, probably in some related line of research. She had some avenues to pursue. But for her, she was mostly starting over. And here the company was looking at her like she was the goose that had laid the golden egg, and she was expected to lay another one any minute now. She was shaking her head. They did not understand what it took.

          So that’s how the conversation started about the flu shot and shaky research and the financial pressures that led to the flu shot.

        • Simhamuka

          I looked up how she was doing. Interestingly, she always shared the credit for the research with the whole team, but when I was at Immunex, everyone on the team gave the credit to her. The work was really hers. She said that some of the lines of research that proved fruitful had actually started when she was a grad student.

          She explained to me in clear, layman’s terms why she considered the flu shot a bad idea (not all vaccines, just the flu shot; most vaccines are as safe as houses). Seattle’s a high-tech area, so she compared taking the flu shot to beta testing new software.

          So according to her advice, I weigh my risk factors every year before I consider taking the flu shot. It’s a personal decision.

          I just get annoyed at employers who try to shove it down my throat.

          Only 1% of the population ever gets the flu. The only reason “the flu” costs companies so much sick time is that people *lie* about having the flu — in reality, they have hangovers, or their kids have in-service days and they couldn’t get sitters, or they’re suffering from depression, or there’s a project they didn’t get done and they’re avoiding their bosses until they leave tomorrow on business trips — or they just have colds and don’t know the difference.

    • Sullivan ThePoop

      No researcher would tell you lies like that. All the new flu vaccines need is different antigens. They do not need to be retested and have been around since 1938. Nice try but no one is going to believe this fantasy.

  • Greg Rozelle

    What do you think of reports from these people

    Johns Hopkins Scientist Slams Flu Vaccine
    Shot Never Worth Taking: The Flu Vaccine ~ by Kelly Brogan, MD

    • http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php Skeptical Raptor

      Peter Doshi is a paid shill for the anti-vaccine industry, and has no credibility in vaccines, lacking education and research in epidemiology, virology, microbiology, immunology, public health, infectious diseases, etc. etc.

      Kelly Brogan is an anti-science believer in homeopathy and other crap, and is also a paid shill of the antivaccination industry.

      But that isn’t how science works. Why do you cherry pick a couple of dumbasses, but ignore the tens of thousands of researchers who have shown vaccines to be safe and effective? We don’t roll that way here.

      • Greg Rozelle

        I never said I wasn’t going to get the flu slot. I also never said I believe them either. I am not totally against homeopathy. I use to be until we did some research by reading stuff. No, we don’t believe every thing we read. The holistic doctors in the U.S. are required to go through the same training as medical doctors. U.S. Medicare no longer refuses holistic doctors. We have a lot of respect for Johns Hopkins hospital. It is one of the top hospitals. John Hopkins research has saved a lot of lives this also has been verified by other sources.

        • kellymbray

          “research by reading stuff”

          Says it all………..

    • Sullivan ThePoop

      Kelly Brogan is a quack and the person who wrote the first article is not a scientist.

  • Pingback: Almost Filovirus-Free (That is, Ebola-Free) ID Link-o-Rama | HIV and ID Observations()

  • David

    Everyone has an agenda, whether it is with good intentions or malicious ones and I don’t claim that anyone in the medical community has ill will directed towards the public but, at the end of the day, most will try and advance their ideas as being best suited for our community. In regards to vaccines, there is good and bad evidence to stoke the fires of both sides of the argument. However, one can never argue with FACTS. That is why I used cancer as a glaring example of the medical community not being sure about treatment and why we know data can, sometimes, be skewed to push an agenda. 4-5% is and always has been the true statistic on cancer patients treated with chemotherapy. Adjusting time frames from start to finish does not change this FACT. Early detection is used as a tool, not for “cure” but to skew “survival rates”. If you die of cancer within 5 years of discovery you have succumbed to the disease. If you live 5 years and 1 day, you are considered a survivor. So let’s say you discover the disease 3-5 years into its progression and die in 2 years. You are a victim. If you discover the condition 3 to 5 years earlier and “last” 5 to 7 years you are a survivor. Parlor tricks by the medical community to make you feel like they are actually doing something worthwhile to earn the ridiculous amounts they charge for treatments and that those treatments are actually working. If, as some of you on here post, you are affiliated with any of the treatments or research then you are either blinded by ambition or being completely dishonest about the actual results and studies.

    In regards to “thalidomide”, I suggest you do a little more reading and research before you just throw some chemical name out there hoping to confuse or force a retreat. It is the same treatment as everything else available (if we seal you in a plastic bag, place you in the hot sun and starve the cancer from breathing we will cure you). Just as you can show “scientific papers” that show chemo saves lives, I can show you countless more where it doesn’t. Why do you think we are still
    spending billions of dollars on the search for the “cure”. If what you are claiming were actually true, you should tell EVERYONE about thalidomide so we can stop wasting time and money and get this cancer thing wrapped up.

    As for Christopher Columbus, I only used him as a simple example to explain irrational beliefs indoctrinated into the majority to “laugh off” the truth and ridicule opposing viewpoints. I’m sure Columbus googled all of the Polynesian and Viking history on his I-Pad before he set coordinates on his GPS and set sail knowing full well that he would reach land. For this class, I should have probably used
    Radium, lobotomies, tapeworms, LSD and heroin as cases where the medical
    community got it wrong. (Note: Sociopath is a strong accusation to hurl at a
    brave explorer who may not have realized the harm he might have introduced to
    our Native Americans just by setting foot on their soil. It is that whole “google” thing again. They might not have had updated searches on the Americas before he arrived.)

    As for vaccines, I don’t believe they are all bad. Some have been proven to work and some are still just trial and error. All I ever meant to imply was that we all, as individuals, should take the information that is available to us and make an informed and educated decision. To some, the wiser thing would be to get vaccinated and others may feel the risk, no matter how low, is not worth it. You seem to get a rise out of absolutely blasting anyone who thinks differently than you do. I’ve never seen such aggressive, educated and well-versed closed mindedness. Sometimes the more we know, the more we think we know it all.

    Here are a few factual links on the negative effects of
    vaccines and remember kids… “a little mercury never killed nobody!”:
    http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/Recalls/default.htm

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/31/flu-vaccination-epa-safety-limit-for-mercury.aspx

    http://vactruth.com/2013/02/01/8-damn-good-reasons/

    • squirrelelite

      Would you provide a link to published cancer survival statistics showing that 4-5% survival number, please?
      There are many different types of cancer, so I’d like to see what they are talking about.
      For the links you included,
      1. I’m glad the manufacturers and the FDA have a recall program for when they discover problems with safety.
      2. Mercola’s site mentions that ethyl mercury is close to 50% mercury by volume. Considering that only one of the eight atoms in each molecule is mercury, I think that is unlikely (although hydrogen atoms are very small). More likely, they are referring to the fraction of the molecular mass. But, in either case, what really counts is the biochemistry of the molecule. Ethyl mercury has significantly different biochemistry from methyl mercury (which the Minamata victims were exposed to) and is much more quickly eliminated from your system.
      3. Vactruth exists to play up the (small) risks of the vaccines and downplay or ignore the dangers of the disease itself that vaccination protects against.
      You can get a thimerosal-free version of the flu vaccine. Studies have shown that the flu vaccine, which is a killed virus vaccine, is safe to give to pregnant women. It protects them from harm to the baby which can occur if they get influenza while they are pregnant. It also protects the baby for up to six months after birth. Anyone can file a VAERS report. It’s a system for looking for possible problems, not verified data to measure actual problems. It takes a few weeks after vaccination for immunity to build up. Piers Morgan was just unlucky. etc., etc., etc.

  • Lynnea Shrief

    Wow, I’ve never read such intelligible babble and hate words in all my life, actually, I stopped reading after a few minutes, it got boring. Sounds to me like you worship vaccines like some kind of religious freak. I wonder how humans made it this far without the flu jab? Must have been magic.

    • http://beginingsinwriting.wordpress.com/ R.w. Foster

      Nope. Pure dumb luck. However, consider this: There were millions less people on this planet before the advent of vaccines, and they lived far shorter time periods…

      • Reuben Schwartzschild

        That was probably for the better.

    • kellymbray

      The 75 million people who died in the 1918 pandemic didn’t make it very far at all.

    • Sullivan ThePoop

      More deaths than births. Didn’t you learn that in elementary school like the rest of us?

  • David

    I think the answer to whether or not vaccines are necessary or work is somewhere in the middle. Some have been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be effective against certain illnesses and some are still on trial. We can extract from an endless supply of quotes by medical experts and “conspiracy theorists” to bolster our arguments but will always end up with the same results as to what we choose to believe. Also, if you use available data as a strict guideline, you will find medical evidence to support both beliefs. Use chemotherapy as an example: most of the medical community involved in administering treatment will swear to you that it is the best method for battling cancer but many involved on the research side realize (through the use of data available) that it is futile at best. A 4-5% real survival rate would indicate as much and bolster “conspiracy theorist’s” arguments against its use and if it is the only method of treatment “officially available” then you could see where it would push someone to question any and every treatment, vaccine or medication made available by our medical society. By simply calling someone a “dumbass” for not believing as you do creates an even further divide when it should be noted by both sides of the argument that just because an organization, such as the FDA, considers vitamin C good for you but in the same breath claims that a small amount of “anti-freeze” is not bad for you either is not necessarily for or against you. They are only supplying you with their best opinions based on data currently available. Medical data should not be sought out as an attempt to prove or disprove anyone (the great “Aha, I told you so!”) but should be used to make wiser decisions to make our population stronger. Many vaccines have been removed from the market that by vaccine zealots’ accounts should have been gobbled up immediately upon their release. My sincere opinion on all of this is that, as individuals, we take what information is available to us in our time/generation and decide for ourselves. As I pointed out earlier, you can find an ample supply of evidence for both sides of the argument so ultimately it relies on what you believe. Remember, it takes just as much faith to believe in a scientific theory as it does a religious one but nobody can argue facts. Fortunately (or unfortunately) there are enough facts for all of us to make an educated decision that may be contrary to others. The Earth was once flat and that was a fact known by all except for a “Dumb Ass” named Christopher Columbus and we all know how the story turned out for that Idiot.

    • http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php Skeptical Raptor

      Apparently, you flunked history. Most of the scientific world thought the world was a sphere. Ignorant, uneducated people and some in the church thought it was flat. Japanese and Chinese cultures knew the world was a sphere. What a fool, you are.

      Chemotherapy saves lives. I can show it with scientific papers. And on what planet is there a 4-5% survival rate from cancers. Sure there are from aggressive and rare ones, but we now use thalidomide, which some people claim as a mistake of science, to treat multiple myelomas which used to kill within a few months, now 75% of patients survive beyond 5 years.

      What vaccines have been removed from the market? You foolishly think that science is dogmatic, when it is not. If we find a better vaccine, it replaces the old one. Every year we have a new vaccine.

      And Christopher Columbus was a sociopath. Because of him, millions of native Americans died. But you don’t understand, because you’re an ignorant, sick man.

      • Guest

        Nice touch! Disable my ability to post again?

      • http://beginingsinwriting.wordpress.com/ R.w. Foster

        Technically, Columbus wasn’t that bad. Anthropologists recently (? Within the last 5 years, I think) came up with the theory that a flu-like epidemic blew through the Americas between 50-100 years before Columbus arrived, and that’s why there were so few locals. Also, trading blankets which were used on smallpox patients helped kill thousands.

        Rather unfair to blame Columbus for all that….

    • lilady R.N.

      Blah, blah, blah. There are so many errors in your comments, I scarcely know where to begin.

      How many vaccines have been removed from the marketplace, after they have been licensed?

      Could you possibly stay on topic and tell us why you believe the seasonal influenza vaccine is a new vaccine and why you believe in its experimental/trial stages?

      There are not two sides of “the argument” for seasonal influenza vaccine…or any other vaccine which is contained on the Recommended Childhood Vaccine Schedule and/or the Recommended Adult Vaccine Schedule. There is the side of science and then there is the unscientific “belief”.

    • Mike Stevens

      “Use chemotherapy as an example: most of the medical community involved
      in administering treatment will swear to you that it is the best method
      for battling cancer but many involved on the research side realize
      (through the use of data available) that it is futile at best.”

      Actually, those in the medical community administering treatment are the same people who are involved in clinical research trials*. I know, I help with such trials, and have patients of mine on treatment and chemotherapy. Still, it probably suits your fallacious argument to claim there is a wide dichotomy with this.

      And what is “futile, at best”?
      Futile means zero benefit. How can you have less than that? I think you need to update yourself on cancer survival rates too, they are nothing like “4 or 5%”, but much better for most cancers. And please be precise – in medicine we do not talk about “x% survival”, we qualify it with “X% 5 year survival” or similar time estimated periods. Why? Well eventual survival is always 0%, for everyone of course.

      *Exceptions exist, such as Stan Burzynski, who tries to do treatment and fails to do any research.

    • squirrelelite

      A couple points.
      All the vaccines on the current schedule are considered necessary to control and, possibly, help eliminate diseases that are actively circulating in the U.S. or haven’t been sufficiently eliminated worldwide.
      Most of these will reduce your chance of being infected if you are exposed to the disease by 90% or better. Even the less effective flu vaccine at 45-50% is still far better than nothing and saves many people from hospitalization every year.
      Some, such as an HIV vaccine, are still under trial because we haven’t done enough development work and testing to ensure they are safe enough to use on otherwise healthy individuals and effective enough to be useful in controlling the diseases.
      Science is a collective process where many people do tests, gather evidence, compare results, discuss and dispute them and come to a consensus agreement on the meaning and significance of the results. And the overwhelming bulk of the evidence shows that vaccines are much safer than the diseases they protect against.
      The studies commonly cited against them have multiple problems such as a small number of test subjects, testing animals for an effect like autism than can only be diagnosed in humans, checking lots of different results and picking the one or two that are unusual in that particular study, etc., etc.
      The dose makes the poison is a centuries old principle of medicine. It far predates the FDA.
      I’m not sure what chemical you refer to as “anti-freeze”, but formaldehyde for instance is made naturally by your body in far greater quantities than are in any vaccine.
      And, scientists do, in fact, argue quite a bit about “facts”. Some experimental results can’t be repeated and turn out to be wrong.

  • matt
    • http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php Skeptical Raptor

      Not science. Good luck trolling this place with the worst website for actual science on the planet.

  • breed7

    Here’s the thing — I got a flu vaccine every year from 2001-2010. I got the flu seven out of those ten years. Not a cold, not a stomach bug, but actual influenza. Since 2010, I haven’t bothered getting a flu vaccine. Guess what? I haven’t gotten the flu.

    Now, I don’t believe the vaccine causes the flu or weakens your immune system, but I am at a total loss as to how to explain why I haven’t gotten the flu once since stopping the vaccinations. I’m not getting the vaccine again until I start getting the flu again.

    • http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php Skeptical Raptor

      Anecdotes have no value whatsoever. Were you tested for the flu? Because that’s the only confirming diagnosis for flu. And there are relatively simple tests.

      People seem to also forget that randomness happens. Who knows what went wrong. Maybe you were just unlucky, but well within the parameters of random chance. Not 100% of the unvaccinated population gets the flu. I forget the actual figures, but it’s around 50%, though it can be much higher in pandemics. A LOT higher.

      And if you were vaccinated, depending on how good of a guess scientists make as to what strains will be epidemic, the vaccine may only be 60-70% effective. So if you did have the flu (and again, the only way it can be accepted scientifically is a diagnostic laboratory test, which few doctors give), you could have had random bad luck.

      So, it’s possible when you had the vaccine you had bad luck. And when you didn’t random chance worked for you. But you’re an n=1 data point, so anything could have happened.

    • Sullivan ThePoop

      So there is something obviously wrong with your immune system if that is the case. Even without the shot you shouldn’t be getting the flu that often

  • rstsummers

    I’ve have often gotten the flu vaccine, but this was so offensive, I think I will NOT get one again, and I have deleted my subscriptions to the sites that carried this horrendously insulting drivel.

    • http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php Skeptical Raptor

      I’m sure he’s saddened and in tears. And if you want to be a dumbass because you’re “insulted” well, here, take this tissue and go cry in a corner.

    • Lawrence McNamara

      Making medical decisions based on being “butt-hurt” by an Internet posting? Darwin may have an award in your future…..

  • mstaken

    I’m not here to argue, though being called a “Dumb Ass” if someone chooses to not get a flu vaccine might not be the best way to encourage them.

    This year there is a nasal vaccine and no, it’s not dead.

    Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine
    http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/nasalspray.htm

    So if you have a child under 2 or you are over 50 and are faced with the choices this year, do not choose the nasal spray, per the CDC.

    • Lawrence McNamara

      FluMist has been used for years now, so no, it isn’t new & yes, we are all very well aware of the age limitations of certain vaccines – and so do doctors.

    • http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php Skeptical Raptor

      Well, if you actually read the article, you’d note that Dr. Mark Crislip, who happens to be one of the most well-respected infectious disease specialists around, wrote it for his fellow medical professionals.

      But seriously, what the fuck is wrong with the word “dumbass?” Grow the fuck up.

  • Loni Hull

    I spoke recently about this with a microbiologist and vaccine developer, Dr. Glen Armstrong PhD., who notes that antibody production among those 35+ is so poor that the flu vaccine is one a healthy person might well decline.

    The Cochrane Collaboration has made clear that available data supports only a 6% reduction in incidence among flu vaccinees, so I’ll go with the experts, make up my own mind, and tell you to go fly a kite – http://focusonline.ca/?q=node/447

    This blog isn’t very skeptical. I think I’ll look elsewhere for critical thinking skills. Goodbye.

    • lilady R.N.

      Feel free to “look elsewhere for critical thinking skills”

      Before you go, I think you should read this science blogger’s post about Dr. Tom Jefferson’s recent activities:

      http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/01/25/cochranes-tom-jefferson-on-gary-null-show/

      • Loni Hull

        I only respond to vaccine safety and efficacy data. Dismissing a scientist or epidemiologist because of how he spends his time and to whom he speaks is not relevant to my need for data. There is far too much propaganda within the vaccine debate , and it is of no use to me.

        • lilady R.N.

          I’ve already busted you for telling porkies about Dr. Glen
          Armstrong, PhD.

          I’ve got science to back up my statements and you have crank anti-vaccine bloggers to back up your pseudoscience.

          • Loni Hull

            Are you sane? Methinks not.

          • http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php Skeptical Raptor

            So that’s how you roll? Making comments about individual’s sanity? Excellent ad hominem dumbass.

          • Loni Hull

            When she uses the “you have crank anti-vaccine bloggers to back up your pseudoscience” strawman to pigeonhole me, damn straight.

            And you have no sense of irony or you’d see why your comment is uproariously funny, so there’s that.

            This is not a productive discussion, so why don’t you close by calling me more names while I ignore you for the rest of my life? Ready…go.

          • lilady R.N.

            You could always produce that recorded telephone conversation which you claim you had with Glen Armstrong PhD, where you claim that Dr. Armstrong dissuaded you from getting the seasonal influenza vaccine. …so that Skeptical Raport or I could listen to exactly what Dr. Armstrong said.

            You would have to provide us with your real name, not your nym…and you would have to provide us with the original telephone recording…not a transcript.

            I’d also like to know if Dr. Armstrong was aware of the recording…and if you transcibed that recording, did you to submit the transcript of the recording to verify that it is a true transcript of the telephone recording.

            I can guarantee that I will not reveal your real name and I’m sure that Skeptical Raptor will protect your real name if you are using a ‘nym.

            In the Meantime, IMO, if you had contact with Dr. Armstrong, then you added your own preconceived biases or simply change the meaning of Dr, Armstrong’s statments. I make that statement because I, like Dr. Armstrong, have the science, the research and the statisitics behind us, which causes me and him to make forceful supportive statements about flu vaccines…including the verbatim statement I provided by Dr. Armstrong seen upthread in my post.

          • Mike Stevens

            Not if it is true that you “have crank anti-vaccine bloggers to back up your pseudoscience”, which you plainly do have.

    • lilady R.N.

      How about a link to Glen Armstrong PhD’s statement “that antibody production among those 35+ is so poor that the flu vaccine is one a health person might well decline.” ?

      Imagine that…attributing that dumb statement to Dr. Armstrong:

      http://snyder.ucalgary.ca/news/nov-2-2011/flu-vaccinations-protection-one-world-one-health

      “….The Snyder Institute’s Dr. Glen Armstrong, PhD, advocates for
      educating on the benefits of flu vaccinations as a matter of social
      responsibility and to prevent a public health issue. He points out that
      it has the combined advantage of protecting yourself and others around you.

      “Getting vaccinated gives your immune system a fighting chance,” says Armstrong, Professor and Head, University of Calgary’s Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases. “It also increases herd immunity and protects immuno-compromised people, such as the elderly, who may still be susceptible to getting the virus even with a flu vaccination.”

      Designed of bits and pieces of dead virus particles, the flu vaccine
      educates your immune system to create antibodies against recognized flu strains. These antibodies then stop the live virus from growing if it gets into your body. And, although Armstrong doesn’t hide the fact that there are potential adverse side-effects with vaccinations, he does think there is a better chance at winning the lottery jackpot then having a serious adverse reaction from the flu vaccine.

      “The rate of serious adverse reactions is extremely low because we
      now have extremely safe vaccines,” he explains and adds, “There is maybe one adverse reaction in a couple of million doses. The number of lives saved every year by flu vaccines far exceeds the number of serious adverse reactions.”

      “Vaccination is the same principle as cutting your finger and getting
      some dirt in the cut. Your immune system automatically reacts to the
      foreign dirt antigens through inflammation and the redness and soreness that happen during inflammation are indications of your immune system at work.”

      Armstrong also suggests there are now other methods for getting
      vaccinated against the flu, such as the new inhaled FluMist vaccine now available in Canada. It sprays up your nose and triggers your immune system to make antibodies that fight against the flu strains. However, FluMist comes with a cost from pharmacies or from your family doctor versus injections which are free. Armstrong also indicates that there are other ways to avoid getting the flu this aeason, such as washing your hands frequently or before eating, staying well hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, and staying home if you happen to get sick.

      And, of course, the best way to avoid getting the flu this season is get your vaccination shot as soon as clinics open.”

      • Loni Hull

        I have him on voice recording during an interview I conducted with him this spring, so I don’t really care what you dug up in a Google search.

        I’m starting to suspect that you don’t enjoy intelligent questioning of your enthusiasm for every new jab on the market. I might offer a transcript of Dr. Armstrong’s precise wording, but you annoy me when you call my comment dumb simply because you refuse to believe it was uttered. I’ll invite you to go fly a kite with S.R. instead.

        • http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php Skeptical Raptor

          Anecdotes. Not worth anything.

        • Mike Stevens

          I am sure you could generate a link to the actual recording. Put it on YouTube, and we’ll have a listen.

        • notation

          Ooooh. THAT was truly convincing. To someone gullible enough to believe you have any such thing.

    • Mike Stevens

      The Cochrane collaboration notes that influenza vaccine can only prevent influenza, but not diseases caused by other viruses or bacteria that often get classified as “flu like illnesses”.
      That is hardly surprising that the vaccine’s efficacy for all flu-like illnesses is limited.
      .
      Would you expect a rabies vaccine to prevent multiple sclerosis?

    • notation

      I am so glad you didn’t let the door hit you in the ass.

  • Pingback: Improved high dose flu vaccine for seniors()

  • Maggie Howell

    Thank you, SR, for rerunning Dr. Crislip’s hilarious and accurate list.

    • http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php Skeptical Raptor

      It’s my favorite time of the year. :)

  • lw4371

    How rude, whoever wrote this is a dumb ass! Dont bash peoples beliefs. If you enjoy getting a flu shot get one! Dont bash other people for not getting one. We do what we gotta do to get through.

    • http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php Skeptical Raptor

      The safety and effectiveness of vaccines is based on evidence, not “beliefs”. If you believe otherwise, then you have an ignorant and idiotic belief, so yeah, we get to bash your stupidity. Cause that’s we do here.

      By the way, the author of that extremely funny discussion about the dumbasses who don’t vaccinate is one of the world’s leading authorities on infectious diseases. And you are what? An elementary school graduate? Flunked out of nursery school? Home schooled by an incompetent uneducated parent?

      • matt

        http://www.naturalnews.com/033998_influenza_vaccines_effectiveness.html

        Evidence, huh? Evidence is skewed. I am astounded by the stupidity in your blog.

        • http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php Skeptical Raptor

          Natural News is NOT a source except for pseudo sincere, He clearly has no intellectual capacity to understand that data, which shows effectiveness of around 60%. And yes, some years between high vaccination and low virility of the flu, not many people get it. Easy peasy.

    • kellymbray

      Gotta love a whiny tone troller

    • kellymbray
      • http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php Skeptical Raptor

        People think their lame anecdotes support their ignorant beliefs. He probably didn’t have the flu. Whatever.

    • kellymbray

      The flu is a virus not a bacteria.

  • Pingback: Student Nurse Perspective: The Flu Vaccine.()

  • Pingback: Why we vaccinate–the cost of catching the flu()

    • Rita D. Lipshutz

      that’s right and people in your situation are most vulnerable to illness and even death because the dumbasses care even less about protecting you than they do about protecting themselves. babies under six months of age are too young to be vaccinated and they and pregnant women are also at higher risk because of the category Selfish Dumbass. also, cancer chemotherapy patients and a bunch of other folks with conditions that compromise their immune systems. so a healthcare worker who has no valid medical contraindication but refuses flu shots anyway has to be the ultimate Selfish Dumbass (and a person who somehow got through school and got a license but still doesn’t understand germ theory or herd immunity).

      • lilady R.N.

        The last (and only) time I contracted influenza was during the Asian Flu pandemic, (I didn’t get the vaccine).

        http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/1957-asian-flu-pandemic

        I get the seasonal influenza vaccine for my own protection and so that I don’t infect vulnerable populations.

        Yes, you are a dumbass if you don’t get the seasonal influenza vaccine.

    • squirrelelite

      The short reply is that Tom Jefferson takes a very narrow view of evaluating effectiveness and concentrates on the age group (seniors) whose immune systems don’t make a strong response to vaccines in general. (At least that’s how I remember it.)
      It’s difficult to get 90% effective flu vaccine (like we have for measles, polio, etc.) because there are so many different strains of the virus circulating, new ones like the current H1N1 strain pop up from time to time, and you get mutational drift even during a single flu season. But most estimates indicate getting the flu shot will reduce your chance of getting influenza by about 45-55%. Since it’s such a nasty disease (two weeks of total misery with a good chance of winding up in the hospital with pneumonia), even that limited benefit is definitely worth a sore arm for a day.

      For a direct response to Tom Jefferson by Mark Crislip, whose list is cited, I suggest this link http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/one-flu-into-the-cuckoos-nest/

      which I found in the link lilady cited above (also worth reading).

      • http://beginingsinwriting.wordpress.com/ R.w. Foster

        Oh, and there’s a small chance you won’t end up with the sore arm if you don’t tense up when you get the jab.

        • squirrelelite

          Actually over the years, I’ve had pretty good luck with sore arms. Sometimes it gets a little sore for a few hours, but I’ve never had any trouble persist longer than that. I’ve had more trouble getting my arm to stop bleeding sometimes after giving a blood sample.
          I will confess, though, that I was a bit lackadaisical about the flu shot. Even when I was in the military and it was an annual requirement, I wasn’t in a hurry to get it and I think I missed a few years. I think it had something to do with the way they always announced that supplies were limited and they wanted seniors to get it first. So, I figured if they think it’s OK for me to wait, I won’t be in a hurry to get it. And, after I retired, I was often working too many hours to take time to go and get the shot.
          But, when the H1N1 strain hit and I learned about lots of kids getting very sick and hospitalized and even dying and I was working in a school among kids just like them, I realized I should do my part to help protect those kids. It also helped that I could get it easily at a shot clinic the school had.
          And, since then I’ve gotten it every year, sometimes at the doctor’s office, sometimes just at the pharmacy. No problems any time. But, that’s just an anecdote of my experience. The NVIC claims record includes a much huger number of cases to base an estimate of the real risks on.

          • http://beginingsinwriting.wordpress.com/ R.w. Foster

            Glad to hear you’re getting your flu shots regularly now. That’s really awesome. ‘Net high-five.

            Btw, about the bleeding after the blood draw: Are you being instructed to keep pressure on it for at minimum of 60 seconds after, and to keep your arm down, or level? Also, are they making sure you stay seated until the blood has clotted?

          • squirrelelite

            Thanks!
            I think those are the instructions although it’s been several months.
            The bleeding problem hasn’t been as tricky for several years. I think it’s just the way my veins and skin are. I have prominent veins and sometimes it takes a few days before a minor cut will fully heal so that it doesn’t bleed again when I wash it. Also, I’ll sometimes get a minor scrape that I didn’t even notice until I see the blood.
            But, in general my health has been much better recently. Exercise and losing weight have helped.

          • http://beginingsinwriting.wordpress.com/ R.w. Foster

            Even better about your health improving. Glad to hear it. :D

    • kellymbray

      “I’m just a superstitious magical thinking dumbass”

      Well yes, yes you are.

      “Vaccines only increase the strength of the virus/disease strains”

      OK armchair immunologist. Explain how that works. Cite a proper study. Good luck.

    • ChadwicktheJones

      As if getting the disease ‘naturally’ didn’t have the same effect? You’re not thinking clearly here.

    • lilady R.N.

      Got any, um, proof (links to PubMed citations from peer-reviewed medical and science journals), to back up your statements?

      When was the last polio case reported in the Americas or Europe or Australia/New Zealand…or for that matter India. India was declared free of polio January 1, 2011.

      The last case of smallpox was reported in 1977 in Somalia and smallpox was declared eradicated from the face of the earth a few years after that.

      Typhoid (Salmonelli typhi) is occasionally reported in the United States and every one of those cases are “imported cases” (contracted in an area of the world where S. typhi is still endemic).

      Yes, you really are a superstitious dumbass.

    • kellymbray

      How would you understand what you are reading? Does “homologous recombination tiniker” sound right to you?

    • kellymbray

      This.

    • Sandy Perlmutter

      Thanks for the American Loons link. It is a great resource of articles on purveyor of woo, wackos, and other common American infestations.

  • Pingback: Why we vaccinate–debunking flu vaccine myths in 25 easy steps()

    • RetroPastiche

      Yes, yes they do (annoy the Australians).

      My work put the flu vaccine clinic on early this year (March/April IIRC) because of the previous Northern hemisphere’s experience. I was very happy to be in the first group to go. Also, no illness this winter despite previous history of auto-immune problems due to viral infections.

Powered by WordPress 4.0.1
Don't forget to subscribe to this blog through any the services in the right sidebar.