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Posts Tagged ‘influenza’

Got My Flu Shot!

December 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Army recruit receiving vaccine. Via Wikimedia Commons

Yup, in a couple weeks I will be immune to 3 forms of the flu virus, including H1N1. Jealous?

My work set up an in-house vaccination clinic today. I had a nice chat with the Nurse (Helen) about how much snow there is back in Ontario where I went to school (close to 1 meter, about 40 inches!).

She also told me that quite a few people in my office have made appointments to get the shot, which made me happy, since if you read this blog at all you know that vaccines have gotten a bad rap lately.

But in Canada, the flu sends over 20,000 people to the hospital every year, and between 2000 and 8000 people die of the flu every year.

Since I am a healthy 26 year old, even if I got the flu I should be fine within a week. But if I were to give the flu to a child or elderly person, or someone who could develop complications due to the flu, I would be putting their life at risk.

So I could be saving myself a few days of feeling like crap, or I could be saving someone’s life. And it only took a few minutes of my time.

Score One For the Good Guys!

November 25, 2010 1 comment

Every so often, a victory comes along that reminds me why we do this.

Blogging about science and skepticism can be tough. You wonder “are we really making a difference?”

Yes, we are.

The anti-vax group SafeMinds.org tried to purchase ad time to show a “PSA” trying to convince people not to receive the flu shot containing any mercury-based preservatives.

Let’s not kid ourselves. This group is anti-vax, and trying to sneak their message in under the guise of being “pro-safe vaccines” as opposed to “anti-vaccines”.

There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that vaccines containing mercury are associated with health problems. Further, there is no evidence that links any adverse health effects to the fetus by administering the flu vaccine to pregnant women, as the SafeMinds ad contends.

Yet the fear mongering continues. If this ad had run, vaccination rates would have dropped. This is a large health risk and puts young children and the elderly in particular danger.

However, a glimmer of hope. AMC refused to show the ad in their theatres, as was announced by SafeMinds.org

SafeMinds was notified late yesterday afternoon that AMC Theaters has decided to block the SafeMinds Public Service Announcement (PSA) on influenza vaccines with mercury. The PSA alerts parents and pregnant women of the presence of mercury in most influenza vaccines and the ample availability of mercury-free alternatives. The CDC has declined to give a preference for the mercury-free versions, so it is important that the public is aware of its options. AMC’s advertising representative had reviewed and approved the PSA to run in AMC cinemas over the Thanksgiving weekend. A small group of vocal vaccine proponents dismissive of mercury concerns learned of the PSA and bombarded the AMC website, leading to the company’s decision to prevent its release. SafeMinds thanks its supporters who viewed the PSA and contributed to its efforts to educate the public to avoid unnecessary mercury exposure. Mercury in all forms is dangerous, especially to the developing fetus and infants, as referenced on the PSA website www.safemindsflu.org. SafeMinds will continue its mission to educate the public on this important healthcare topic.

More info on the whole situation can be found on SkepChick and Science-Based Medicine.

This is a big win for the good guys. Fear of vaccinations is a major threat to public health, particularly children. So we will continue to fight, and hopefully we will see more wins like this one.