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Thread: Do You Really Need a Flu Shot? Don’t Ask NPR!

  1. #1

    Do You Really Need a Flu Shot? Don’t Ask NPR!

    While purporting to debunk “myths” keeping people from getting the influenza vaccine, NPR propagates misinformation to persuade people to get the flu shot.

    On December 20, 2019, NPR published an article by Tara Haelle purporting to provide information to help people decide whether they should get the influenza vaccine annually. Instead of empowering readers with the knowledge they need to meaningfully exercise their right to informed consent, however, the article presents misleading and outright false information intended to persuade people to comply with the flu shot recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    The NPR article was originally titled “Do You Really Need A Flu Shot? Here’s How To Decide” and has since been updated to read “Here’s Why You Really Need A Flu Shot”. Its central message is that everyone should comply with the CDC’s recommendation, which is that everyone aged six months and up, including pregnant women, should get a flu shot every year.

    The goal of advocating public vaccine policy, however, is incompatible with the alternative goal of objectively providing people with the knowledge they need to make their own informed choice. The transparent purpose of this NPR article is not to educate but to advocate, including by demonstrably misinforming readers about what science tells us about the safety and effectiveness of influenza vaccines.

    In short, as is typical for mainstream media reporting on anything related to vaccines, this NPR article is not journalism but propaganda.

    Misrepresenting the Science on the Flu Shot’s Effectiveness
    The first core message that Haelle delivers to her readers is that getting a flu shot guarantees a benefit. She tells her readers that it’s “never too late to benefit from a flu shot, even into December and January”.

    She cites effectiveness estimates that aren’t particularly impressive. Last flu season, it “hovered around 44 percent overall; it was about 59 percent effective for young children and just 16 in adults over 65.” She then adds, “But even that low number for older adults elides how much death and disability the vaccine prevented.” In older adults, she states, “the flu shot prevents the loss of quality of life that can result from influenza complications”.

    She goes on to explain how the influenza virus is “a master of adaptation” and so is “frequently a few steps ahead of scientists”, including those at the World Health Organization (WHO) who make an educated guess each year about which strains of the virus are most likely to be circulating. Each season’s flu shot is different. This year’s quadrivalent vaccine contains “two influenza A strains (an H1N1 strain and an H3N2) and two B strains. The two B strains are the same as last year’s formulation, but this year’s H1N1 and H3N2 vaccine strains are different from last year, based on recommendations from the World Health Organization.”

    Tacitly acknowledging that the effectiveness estimates she cites are unimpressive, Haelle asserts that “any protection is better than none”.

    However, it is simply not true that getting a flu shot guarantees that you’ll receive a protective benefit, and it is not true that without vaccination your immune system can offer no defense against influenza.

    In fact, last season’s flu shot provides a useful illustration of a lack of benefit. As Mike Stobbe reported for the Associated Press (AP) on June 27, 2019, the vaccine was ineffective against the strain of influenza that was circulating most widely toward the end of the flu season. As the AP article’s lead paragraph states, “The flu vaccine turned out to be a big disappointment again.” The “again” is because the flu shot is often highly ineffective due in large part to a mismatch between the strains included in the vaccine and those that are circulating among the population.

    The estimate at that time was that the vaccine’s overall effectiveness was down to just 29 percent because the strain of H3N2 circulating was a mismatch to the strain included in the vaccine. As Stobbe reported, the shot “was virtually worthless during a second wave driven by a tougher strain, at just 9%.” The CDC acknowledged that the vaccine offered “no significant protection” against that strain.

    In fact, the CDC’s own preliminary estimates indicated that people who’d gotten the flu shot may have actually had an increased risk of infection with the circulating strain of H3N2. The 9 percent effectiveness cited by the AP referred to the estimate for all H3N2 strains from one of the networks the CDC uses for this purpose. Results from a second network showed an effectiveness of 13 percent. Results from a third network, however, showed a vaccine effectiveness against H3N2 strains of negative 43 percent.

    The CDC’s interpretation of these conflicting results was that the three networks combined “identified no vaccine protection against predominant H3N2 virus this season”. There was “No significant protection against H3N2 illnesses likely due to emergence of antigenically different A(H3N2) clade 3C.3a”.

    continued..https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com...-dont-ask-npr/
    "The Patriarch"



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  3. #2
    If the flu vaccine is 100% effective (against the strains of the flu it was designed to protect people against), there will still be the flu because the vaccine only covers about a half dozen of the literally hundreds of possible ones out there. The fact that people still get the flu does not mean the vaccine was not effective. Now if the dominant strain of flu in a season is one of the ones the vaccine was supposed to protect against, then you can say the vaccine was not effective. There isn't a vaccine against hundreds of varieties of flu.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    If the flu vaccine is 100% effective (against the strains of the flu it was designed to protect people against), there will still be the flu because the vaccine only covers about a half dozen of the literally hundreds of possible ones out there. The fact that people still get the flu does not mean the vaccine was not effective. Now if the dominant strain of flu in a season is one of the ones the vaccine was supposed to protect against, then you can say the vaccine was not effective. There isn't a vaccine against hundreds of varieties of flu.
    Is this a argument for getting the flu shot?
    "The Patriarch"

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Origanalist View Post
    Is this a argument for getting the flu shot?
    Not really. I don't get one (and haven't had the flu in years) but for people at risk it may not be a bad idea.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    Not really. I don't get one (and haven't had the flu in years) but for people at risk it may not be a bad idea.
    Yeah that makes sense... give it to people with compromised immune systems.

    Wait...they have a universal flu vaccine coming down the pike that will "theoretically" cover every flu strain. Kind of like playing Russian Roulette with your immune system.

    There’s a mismatch in the flu shot — and it’s not good news for children
    https://fox2now.com/2020/01/14/there...-for-children/
    My website: https://www.theherbsofthefield.com/

    "No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” ~ Charles Dickens

  7. #6
    I go in once a month for a shot, just to be safe.
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  8. #7
    Flu shot is not effective enough to warrant anyone getting it is the best I can tell after reading years of this . If Danke gets one , that alone should be warning enough for ordinary humans .
    Do something Danke . Zippy approves this message .

  9. #8
    I can't remember the last time I ever got a flu shot. I typically don't get sick that often.
    "Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration is minding my own business."

    Calvin Coolidge



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