H1N1 Flu Shot Myths Infuriate Me (or Why Your Ignorance Makes Me Feel Superior To You)

H1N1If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know I come out yearly and encourage you all to get your flu shots. Here's the 2003 plea and here's my 2004 plea. I get the flu shot every year, as does my entire family, including my two young children.

This year, with the H1N1 influenza virus creating the need for an H1N1 vaccination, there's been more chatter than usual. Everybody, it seems, has an opinion on the H1N1 vaccine. Old myths reserved for the regular ol' flu shot have been resurrected and are flying around the office at full steam. One lady is convinced the H1N1 vaccine will give her "the swine flu", another thinks it's a pharmaceutical industry conspiracy and another has found a quote from a retired quack American doctor who advises against the shot. Of all the great and respected doctors on this continent, that quack doctor got her to send an email to all of her contacts urging us to say no to the H1N1 vaccine.

I am not a doctor. It's highly likely that you're not a doctor either. When it comes to decisions for me and my family regarding vaccinations, I speak to medical doctors I trust. Every single one I've spoken to or heard from say, without hesitation, that we should all get immunized as soon as possible. The scientific evidence is overwhelming. As a responsible parent, I'll ensure my kids receive the H1N1 vaccine as soon as possible. As a responsible member of society, I'll ensure I get the H1N1 vaccine as soon as possible.

That's right. I think those who reject science and prefer to buy into silly conspiracy theories and urban legends and reject the free H1N1 flu shot are selfish. They're selfish because getting immunized means a person does not spread the illness to others. That's one less carrier walking around, shaking hands, touching public door knobs and TTC poles and spreading the virus.

I'm going to close with what I wrote back in 2003.

If you could avoid getting the flu, wouldn't you? Getting a flu vaccination makes good sense, right? You'd be surprised at the conspiracy theories I heard when talking with coworkers. Some think it's a cash-grab for the pharmaceutical industry. Others think it will leave them defenseless when the "super flu" arrives. Some even think the contents of the vaccination aren't to be trusted and that it could cause the flu or even worse. Someone even claimed their friend told her it contained radiator coolant. I've heard it all.

If you believe in such conspiracies, then you believe that every single medical doctor in the country is in on the deal. I challenge you to find one doctor who will tell you the flu vaccination is a bad idea. You won't because it isn't.

Get a damn flu shot. This isn't The X Files.

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Comments (56 - click here to join in!)

Hector

Forget the conspiracies....The fact that they rushed the approval along doesn't mean anything to you??

October 29, 2009 @ 10:28 AM

Marnie

Thank you MIKE!!! Now if we could only get the officials to use some common sense with the actual distribution of said vaccine we'd be gold.

Two clinics for all of Mississauga/Brampton? One of which is located at the oh so convenient Convention Center at the airport.

Sadly, we have already contracted the lovely flu bug in our house. Little man has been sporting close to 105 fever for two days, and the cough started this morning. Treating the fever, keeping close eye on the cough.

Why is it smaller communities like Sudbury/Sault St. Marie and communities in the north got this two weeks ago and have more clinics set up than the GTA?

I'm having surgery in three weeks, last thing I need right now is the flu...even if it means lining up unnecessarily when this could have been distributed to walk in clinics/doctors' offices, and nurses to schools. This is the most disorganized distribution method I have ever seen.

October 29, 2009 @ 10:44 AM

Ajax Mike

Speaking as someone who cannot get the flu shot due to allergies, thank you Mike. Maybe I've just been lucky, maybe my immune system is just that good, but I've never had the flu. I'd like to keep it that way. So the more of all you who get the shot, the better chance I'll have. So thanks. :)

October 29, 2009 @ 11:04 AM

Argie

Mike - Do you have shares in Glaxo???

I mean, its a personal decision that can effect one's health and perhaps life. Another reason is that i don't line up for anything that takes more than 20 minutes.

I agree with Hector, the drug hasn't been tested nearly enough. It actually hasn't been tested in Canada at all.

October 29, 2009 @ 11:33 AM

Pete

Mike,

I tend to agree with you a lot, we seem pretty much in parallel, however, I am still on the fence about the flu shot in general and the H1N1 specifically.

As you mentioned, I am not a doctor, but I am reaonably confident that simply getting a flu/H1N1 shot does not "immunize" you and prevent you from gettng it in the future or from spreading it to others. I would not argue with anyone that says otherwise, after all, I am not a doctor.

If I recall, the shot being distributed in Canada this year isn't even the most effective against the variety of flu currently making the rounds. The process of determining the right mix is an educated guess and it is often wrong, kind of like weather prediction. It's close, but not the best.

As for you coworker, tell her she's right, if you get the flu shot, H1N1 or other, she will in fact get the flu as that is what's in the needle.

--Pete

Who stays home if he's sick and makes employees do the same...

October 29, 2009 @ 12:00 PM

Phil Evans

Polio.
Smallpox.
Measles.
Mumps.
Rubella.

All gone.
Immunization.

'Nuff said.

October 29, 2009 @ 12:34 PM

Steve

I'm not one to reject science, but that said, I never get flu shots and I won't be getting one for the extra flu this year. I've had one flu shot in my life, resulting in the second worst flu I've ever had. I don't trust shooting myself up with somebody's educated guess for no reason, and I'm not overly concerned about this swine flu business. If I get sick, I'll do all I can to stay out of people's way, it's that simple. I'm not going to get stuck in the arm with something that really wasn't trialed at all just because the news tells me I should.

October 29, 2009 @ 12:37 PM

Marnie

I want to make a note to everyone just for informational purposes. The vaccine does NOT contain a live virus.

The fact that my mom, who never gets a flu shot is getting one, and is getting the Canadian one over the US one speaks volumes to me. She is a nurse(retired). Heading to the US tomorrow for the winter. She has a choice between the Cdn vaccine and the US one. She has chosen the Cdn one as there is an adjevunct in it to help boost immune system. (according to her).

I do know for a fact there is no live virus in it.

If my freaky world's most "natural medicine" mother and anti drug/vaccine naturopathic brother are getting it....you can bet I'm getting it. Believe me if there was a big safety concern my brother would be all over me not to go.

October 29, 2009 @ 12:38 PM

Jessie

Well said :)

October 29, 2009 @ 1:06 PM

McNulty

But Jenny McCarthy says it will give my kids autism.

And Argie says it is bad. How can I trust hundreds of doctors and professionals when some people with the anominity of the internet tell me it is bad.

I heard they are putting anti-conservative drugs in the vaccine to make people vote Liberal.
I also heard that all the doctors aren't getting one. Isn't that odd?
Beware of people trying to keep the country healthy, they have an agenda.

October 29, 2009 @ 2:12 PM

Hector

You're right McNulty....doctors who spend a total of maybe 2 hours on nutritional supplements and natural therapies are experts. They are bound by what they are taught or brainwashed.

October 29, 2009 @ 2:26 PM

Mike from Lowville

Hector? Will you be my doctor? I want a doctor that is NOT bound by what they are taught. I want a doctor who is a free thinker, the hell with education. I want you as my doctor.............NOT!

Got to love all these armchair doctors coming out of the woodwork. Stupid truly is as stupid does.

October 29, 2009 @ 2:59 PM

Ray

'Not tested enough'? It's not a couple of guys mixing this stuff up in a garbage can in their backyard! It's a well established drug company that has year of experience making vaccines.

And yes, it's your choice, but unofortunately it's a choice that directly affects me (sort of like smoking in public places). For instance, when the thousands of like minded boneheads who choose not to get immunized all get sick and die, then the economy will go in the toilet again and there goes my RRSP savings!

October 29, 2009 @ 3:19 PM

Ray

And, I like how we'll take 4 out of 5 doctor's opinions when choosing our gum, but when almost 100% of doctors are telling us to get the shot we suddenly don't trust them. For a country who likes to boast to others how great our free health care system is, we suddenly don't have much faith in the system

October 29, 2009 @ 3:23 PM

Chris in EY

I heard that most of the flu vaccines were mixed in trailors that may or may not have been used for crystal meth.

To me this is like believing in Santa Claus or God. They're probably not real, but why take the chance?

October 29, 2009 @ 3:24 PM

McNulty

Tell me Hector, if you don't trust the doctors, who do you see when you are sick?

If you knew someone with cancer should they not go to the oncologis or should they see Rick from Utah that posts about the best way to cure it on ChicagoMatt.com?

October 29, 2009 @ 3:32 PM

McNulty

Damn it! I wish we had the ability to edit posts.

I forgot the damn "t".

October 29, 2009 @ 3:34 PM

Pete

@Ray Canadian health care is far from free. And no, I do not trust a Mega-Global-Pharma Co that has *not* done full testing.

If I had a doctor, I'd ask, but I can't find one that is accepting patients, that lives in the same Province as I.

Yes, I've tried.

I go to the walk in clinic if I have a real need and last week I went to the emergency at St. Joe's in T.O. In and out in 1.5 hours. Neither WIC nor Emerg like to discuss "should I get the flu shot?" type questions.

--Pete

October 29, 2009 @ 3:57 PM

Marnie

Pete, wouldn't matter if you had a doc or not right now anyway. They haven't been deemed worthy of distributing the shot.

It's far more efficient to have thousands line up instead. (and then shut the line down an hour after opening)

October 29, 2009 @ 4:03 PM

Ray

Your risk of dying from the flu unvaccinated is GREATER than dying from the flu shot. Do the math!

I also agree that the distribution is not going that well, but I'm willing to cut them some slack given that this is mostly an unprecedented endeavour.

October 29, 2009 @ 4:23 PM

Ray

Mike, maybe we can take some solace in the thought that this is the great Culling of the Herd. When all of the simple minded people are gone, struck down by the Great Flu, only the intelligent and vaccinated will be left. We'll then experience the utopia we deserve, free of war and famine, where we all get along and actually take care of each other. Only thing, who will then be left to pump my gas and serve my fries?

October 29, 2009 @ 4:31 PM

Hector

I guess the big pharma companies "forgot" to tell everyone about the Vioxx side-effects.

October 29, 2009 @ 4:37 PM

Horonymous

I have no problem getting the flu/H1N1/Swine/H4N1/SARS/Dipsydoodleitis shot.

Some people will have an adverse reaction to vaccination. But I wonder what the numbers are?

To each his or her own choice.

October 29, 2009 @ 4:45 PM

Chris in EY

I've always loved the Big Pharma conspiracy theories. If only they'd put out those cures for cancer and aids. It makes no sense for Big Pharma to put something out there that kills. It's far more profitable for the meds to keep people alive so that people say, buy more. Fact is a small % will be adversely affected. Some may die. But that’s no different than any other medication out there. And like someone said. The Swine (and regular) flu will kill more people than the vaccine.

October 29, 2009 @ 4:57 PM

Sammi

I'm so confused!!!!

October 29, 2009 @ 5:21 PM

jason | GetYourOJ.com

To each his or her own choice. You have a right to call people selfish that choose not to, but it's just as selfish and ignorant to force your view onto others. It's your view, not everyone's view and I think it's a little hostile to call people selfish just because they don't to stick something controversial into their arm. Their really isn't enough research... and I am not a health care worker... so I'll excersice the right to hedge my bets thank you very much.

October 29, 2009 @ 7:22 PM

jason | GetYourOJ.com

Another thing - Hey Ray... do you drive a car? If you do shut the eff up about the smoking in public areas bullcrap.

October 29, 2009 @ 7:25 PM

Argie

2007 Global Warming
2008 Economic meltdown/depression
2009 Swine flu

All promoted by the main stream media and the first two became much ado abut nothing. I believe the same will be said about swine flue.

Don't worry - get on with your life and start living.

October 29, 2009 @ 10:16 PM

Argie

Ah, that's 'flu' and not 'flue' before some wanker bothers to correct me.

October 29, 2009 @ 10:17 PM

Ray

Oh Jason, I hope that means you're a smoker too. More culling of the herd.

October 29, 2009 @ 11:05 PM

Buffaloboymike

Mike, while I agree somewhat with what you said, as a healthcare professional, I think this H1N1 thing has been blown WAY out of proportion by the media and if you eat right, you exercise and take care of yourself your body can fight off a lot of germs including the flu. I think society as a whole has become a bit too "germophobic"

October 30, 2009 @ 8:02 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I realize it's a personal decision, but your personal decision has implications for the rest of us. By choosing not to be vaccinated, you're increasing the odds you'll contract the virus and that increases the odds of the rest of us getting it. You're opting in to be a potential carrier.

Personally, and I'm not a paranoid germophobe talking here, I think society could become a little more paranoid when it comes to spreading germs during flu season. I love the ads encouraging coughs and sneezes into your sleeve, frequent hand washing and I'd love to take a chapter from our friends in Japan and bow instead of handshake.

Eating right, exercising and taking care of your body is important, but healthy adults seem to be most susceptible to this strain, so I'm not sure that's going to help here.

October 30, 2009 @ 8:07 AM

McNulty

2007 Global Warming
2008 Economic meltdown/depression

Sorry Argie, how was the Economic melt down not a real thing? Please explain this one. Did the markets not crash? Did thousands of people not lose their jobs or homes?

Somtimes you are such an idiot it astounds me.

October 30, 2009 @ 8:37 AM

Hector

I think what Argie meant was how the mainstream media perpetuated the issues and actually made them worse. If you keep telling everyone the sky is going to fall....one day you will actually swear you see it falling.

There was a period of at least 6 months last year that I stopped listening to the media all together. It was completely irresponsible in my opinion.

October 30, 2009 @ 9:40 AM

Mike from Lowville

@McNulty I agree...
and the Global average temp IS rising....

October 30, 2009 @ 9:42 AM

Hector

@Mike from Lowville....

Venus is also going dramatic and intense climate changes which scientists attribute to patterns and natural evolvement of the climate. Mars is also starting to go through this. As far as we know....no life exists on those planets.

October 30, 2009 @ 9:47 AM

Argie

McNulty; The TSX declined due to the fact its heavily energy/resource based and thus as the price of oil dropped (never should have traded as $140 a gallon in the first place), the Toronto market slid.

By the spring of 09, most investors realized it really was over blown and we saw the price of oil creeping back up - thus markets rose and now we're paying over a buck per gallon at the pumps.

For about 6 months there was this economic instability but in reality it was caused by the potential that the US banking system was going to collapse. That collapse of course was caused by the crazy mortgage debacle but thank God, Henry Paulsen (appointed by the great George W Bush) took charge and ordered the banks to stay a afloat - with the help of a many billion dollars.

In the end there was very little in the way of a recession, at least in our country. If you can't see that, then frankly you're a moron.

As for global warming - my fingers are getting tired from typing.....

Can't wait for lunch so I can jump in my Range Rover and and drive 5 minutes to the nearest drive thru so that I can create even more carbon emissions and more fictional global warming.

Cheerio!

October 30, 2009 @ 10:01 AM

McNulty

Argie, sometimes you aren't even worth the time to respond to.

You're dead wrong and you never listen to reason or admit your own failings.

I can admit when I am wrong, in this instance I am not.

I could post thousands of points of evidence which you would either ignore or refute with your typical skewed logic.
I have seen your posts here and on Freddiep for a long time and there very rarely contain facts or points with common sense. You claim to be a good Christian but your comments are usually filled with degratory remarks that a true Christian would never use.

I imagine that most of your remarks are meant to inflame because you get a sense of self worth from people responding in anger. It's too bad, you're not a dumb guy, you are just misguided my anger and the inability to accept others and appreciate that they may have different views than yours that should be viewed equally.

No doubt you will come up with some quip or ignore my comment. So be it. I have seen enough of your posts (and some that have been taken down due to their blatant hate) that I know that talking sense or having a true debate is pointless. You don't concede points and never acknowledge the failings of those that you support.

Enjoy yourself, Argie.

October 30, 2009 @ 12:30 PM

Argie

"No doubt you will come up with some quip or ignore my comment."

I guess you wanted to cover all the bases there, huh?

My post was not filled with hate. Actually it was you who initially wrote "Somtimes you are such an idiot it astounds me.."

My post was my synopsis of the recent economic recession scare (I'll admit brief and basic). Obviously I dont own a Range Rover and believe it or not it really bothers me when I see lazy shits who sit in their over sized SUVs waiting 10 minutes for a stinking Tim Horton coffee.

Anyway, you made a lot of good points initially as to why one should be vaccinated but when me or another person disagrees with you, why do you resort to insults???

Ya see, I'm responding to your offensive post with facts, no insults, just facts. Its what I try to do but when someone insults me, I have to defend myself.

FYI, I drive Honda civic - great fuel economy and pretty reliable. As for being hateful, I'm actually a pretty happy, positive guy.

October 30, 2009 @ 12:59 PM

McNulty

Perhaps I should not have used idiot, however, I have read hundreds of your posts and have seen you respond with vile comments (felactio with ones father, accusations of homosexuality and once the wish for a outed politician to die from AIDS).

Those are facts and that is why I won't bother with you anymore.

I actually don't care if you or anyone else gets a shot. It is not too much of my business (since the government cannot give everyone a shot, there has to be some people that don't take it). I doubt they have 35 million shots ready.

Anyway, enjoy your rants. I won't feed you again.

October 30, 2009 @ 1:10 PM

Argie

McNulty: Dont remember the first two but the last one was in reference to a certain liberal MPP who showed complete lack of sensitivity and callousness towards disabled seniors.

And for the record, I didn't wish anything on him - only that it would be ironic if this said MPP wound up with the Hivies wearing a diaper a few years down the road.

Do you have to lie to get your point across?

October 30, 2009 @ 1:31 PM

Ray

It seems like in the last couple of heated exchanges Argie always gets the last word. I'm not going to let that happen this time! (I'm sure it's just because we all just give up banging our heads against the wall, arguing that the sky is blue when he says that it's green.)

October 30, 2009 @ 3:13 PM

Rob White

People who are getting h1N1 shots who are not in the priority group are the same type of people who would knock someone down to get out a burning building. Absolutely disgusting!

October 30, 2009 @ 3:38 PM

jason | GetYourOJ.com

Here's what makes me feel superior to YOU Mike.. I knew all along there would NOT be enough shots to go around so the idea that EVERYone should get the shot to protect the Boon family is impossible anyway... so at least part of this debate... isn't really worth having.

I'm not "opting in"... I took the information available and made an adult decision about my body. I know you think there's a harm principle involved... but this is a pseudo fee country... and I'm not really in the priority group... so let those lucky lemming be the guinea pigs...

I SINCERELY hope you and your don't experience any nasty side effects down the road. I mean that.

But if I had to bet...

October 30, 2009 @ 5:38 PM

jason | GetYourOJ.com

one more thing @toronto mike

"By choosing not to be vaccinated, you're increasing the odds"

can you link me to some clear proof of that statement please

October 30, 2009 @ 5:42 PM

jason | GetYourOJ.com

@ray go stand behind your car and breathe in

October 30, 2009 @ 5:44 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Yes, there's a distribution problem.

It's true, the H1N1 vaccine will only be given to Ontarians in priority groups next week due to a temporary shortage of the serum.

I also agree that these clinics are inefficient and inadequate for a city as large as Toronto.

But this is why I say "as soon as possible". I'm not a priority, as a healthy adult who isn't pregnant, so I'm willing to wait. Ideally my kids could get their shots next week, but it doesn't sound like that's going to happen.

Everyone should get the shot, not just to protect my family, but to protect all of us.

October 30, 2009 @ 8:02 PM

jason | GetYourOJ.com

I understand your position but there's no proof that it's that helpful or that there will not be side effects down the road. It's impossible to know their won't be because the shot was literally rushed out.. and I don't think that part is really up for debate. I realize you think opting out is selfish... but that's far from being an unchallenged fact.

October 31, 2009 @ 12:39 PM


Argie

I guess I'm agnostic about the whole thing. If hundreds or thousands start dropping dead within the next few weeks, I'll run down to a clinic. In the meantime, I'll pass.

October 31, 2009 @ 3:47 PM

Freddie P.

Getting sucked in to the H1 N1 hysteria is the height of naivety.

I've never been one to start sticking things in my body because somebody else "thinks" I should.

To be honest, I think "that's" selfish.

October 31, 2009 @ 11:03 PM


Trish

Great work, Mike.

One of the reasons I get a flu shot every year is so that I will not pass it on to someone who might be in poor heath. It will be that way with H1N1 as well.

November 2, 2009 @ 6:46 PM


Taj

DO CONSPIRACY BELIEVERS KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING TO OTHERS?

I was a conspiracy theorist but have begun to notice both how strange they are beginning to sound and how selfish many act.

What changed my mind is that it dawned on me that pharm companies are far too good at making money to develop and distribute a vaccine that doesn't do what it's supposed to. It would effect their company's future. Imagine how it would devastate their future sales...they are too much about their investors and too much about increasing sales; the media would be all over the situ if they made a mistake like a vaccine that backfired. The most important thing to Pharm companies is that they make money (truly...do they care about us, I don't think so, but they do want to make stuff that works so they can make more $). Putting out a wrong/broken/untested product with this much media attention would be too much of a risk.

Sadly, conspiracy thinkers are troubled by their fear. And inaction is actually hurting others. My 8 year old daughter has asthma, her lungs can't take a simple cold, they just can't clear.

Thank-you for your blog, I was at a dinner party last night and my eyes were rolling back so far in my head I fell off the back of my chair, rolled down the hallway and down the stairs.

November 9, 2009 @ 2:11 AM

Impressed

YIKES!!
I started to read this blog because I thought it might be an interesting debate on a touchy subject.... And man was I right!!
You turned against each other visiously each one of you forgetting what your original purpose was!!

People like "Ray" are incredibly arrogant and have way too much time on their hands.

Dear Everyone:
If you feel safer with the shot, hope you got it- and if you did you can stop worrying about those who didn't. You're not going to get sick now anyway, right?

Stop worrying about getting sick and worse- dying....
You're gonna die someday- didn't you hear?

Might as well enjoy the time you have on this earth while you can. Stand up for what you believe in, but there's no need to step on others as you go.

February 1, 2010 @ 3:02 PM

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