If you took some time out from Christmas shopping and decorating gingerbread houses to scroll through Facebook at all this weekend, you may have seen posts from the anti-vaxxer in your life rejoicing about the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issuing an apology for this year’s flu vaccination. Sorry not sorry to those who believe herd immunity will save them but Christmas has not come early. The CDC did not apologize for this year’s flu vaccination, it merely issued a advisory about this year’s flu strains and the importance of getting vaccinated. The flu shot is still the smart move this year, and if you still haven’t gotten one, you should.
Here’s the video from Next News Network.com, in case you need to stretch your eyeroll muscles this morning:
For those of you who can’t handle or don’t want to start your week off watching a video full of nonsense, the claim is that the CDC health advisory warning of December 3 was really an apology for this year’s flu vaccination. From the video:
For the first time we can remember, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are going on the record, saying the flu vaccine won’t work this year. The warning comes just before the busiest part of flu season, in January and February. Unfortunately, there won’t be any refund for any of the patients or insurance companies who spent money on flu shots earlier this fall.
But don’t worry. Just when you thought perhaps the CDC could boost their credibility, they found a way to put a sales pitch on the end of their warning. The CDC says if you do come down with the flu, there’s a cure. It’s just going to cost more money. Money that will end up profiting pharmaceutical giants, GlaxoSmithKline and Roche. CDC officials are urging doctors to prescribe two specific antiviral medications for any patients who come in with flu symptoms.
Just last week, the CDC issued a warning, prompting Americans to take the flu vaccine if they haven’t already. Health officials said they had 160 million flu shots on the shelves and ready to go. But just earlier this week, Italy launched an official investigation after about a dozen people died within 48 hours of getting the flu shot. Their national health agency issued an immediate warning, saying DON’T take the vaccine. Here in America, the CDC isn’t going that far. In fact, they found a way of turning this failed vaccine into a promotion for yet another big pharma drug.
Refund, sales pitch, death, warning, big pharma- if this video was an anti-vaxxer drinking game, I’d be done for. While it’s a lovely tale that perhaps should be submitted to a fiction writing contest (sci-fi division), the claim that the flu vaccination doesn’t work this year simply isn’t true.
It’s not a secret that when scientists formulate each year’s flu shot, they do research to try and pinpoint which strains of the flu will be the most plentiful that year and target those. Some years, like this year, strains of the flu going around are different that the exact ones targeted in the vaccine, meaning the shot may be less effective than some other years when the flu strains and the vaccine are a total match.
This isn’t shocking news, nor does it mean that the flu shot is ineffective. This year about half of the flu strains going around are the same as the ones in the vaccine, and about half are different. If you come in contact with flu this season, you have about a 50% chance of complete protection from the flu shot. Even if the strand you are infected with is different than the ones the vaccine was designed for, being vaccinated can still help you fight off the virus more easily than you could have without it.
The point of the CDC’s mundane advisory was to let doctors know that if they do have patients who contract the flu this year, there are certain medications that should be prescribed to try and fight the virus. That’s really it. There’s no mea culpa to be had, the director of the CDC isn’t about to commit harakiri, no one’s going to lose their job over this.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a fan of needles. And while my children and husband got their flu shots last month, I may be the holdout in the Zander household. But as much as the scared six-year-old inside me who doesn’t like ouchies would love to grab onto to this CDC announcement like a beloved teddy bear and never let go, it’s not really news. The CDC didn’t apologize for this year’s flu shot and you should still get the vaccination to avoid getting the flu or to minimize the illness in the event you do contract it. So I’ll go to the clinic today to get my flu shot. Hopefully they give out lollipops to adults.