Monday, January 5, 2015

The Flu Vaccine Hegemony

The flu vaccine industry hegemony rolls on. In New York City, preschool children are now required to receive the flu vaccine before they are allowed to attend classes. The schools can either exclude the unvaccinated kids from their premises or pay a fine of $200 to $2,000. This follows on the heels of forced vaccinations of healthcare workers like doctors and nurses. In some places, including my hospital, the staff can be fired for refusing to get a flu shot.

Ironically, this year's flu vaccine may be protecting against the wrong strain of viruses. Vaccines are formulated months in advance in anticipation of the most likely type of viruses that may affect a particular season. Therefore it is total guesswork on the part of scientists as to which strains the shots should protect against. This year's guess was particularly bad. The vaccines that are being used in the U.S. have been found to be protective against only 48% of the H3N2 virsuses that are in wide circulation. Therefore it is a coin toss as to whether the flu shot will work at all. Yet the recipient of the vaccine still has to risk all the potentially deadly complications of the injection.

While the government seems to be terrified of the flu virus, it seems to hedge when it comes to the usual vaccinations of childhood diseases like whooping cough and mumps. Though supposedly required before children can attend classes, parents can, and are, raising personal and religious exemptions to giving their kids these shots. This has caused new epidemics of whooping cough and measles to appear in California after decades of quiescence. Sadly the resistance to vaccinations is coming mainly from the rich and so called well educated sectors of society. These parents have googled flu vaccines too many times and become terrified by discredited horror stories of associations with autism, some perpetrated by physicians who should know better.

So let's get this straight. People can get kicked out of school or their jobs because they refuse to receive a vaccine that has a less than fifty percent likelihood of being effective. Yet the government is allowing parents to forgo vaccinations that have, over the last several decades, been proven to be effective and causing a resurgence in epidemics that were thought to be nearly eradicated. Who have the flu vaccine industry been in bed with to receive such priority?

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