The Flu Vaccine... A Shot in the Dark?
18th February, 2009
If we truly knew about flu, and the lack of effectiveness of the vaccine being offered as protection, would we really be so obedient about getting the jab?
It’s ﬂu season again. The posters are up in the clinics, your GP has a stack of NHS information leaﬂets and advertisements and articles are appearing in the media carrying the health authority message that it’s time to get vaccinated.
Stirring up fear and apprehension through association is not a new tactic, but among the more troubling aspects of this message is the way that promoting a vaccine for ﬂu places inﬂuenza on a par with more devastating diseases such as smallpox and diphtheria. Nevertheless the scare tactics have worked. Flu vaccine uptake among the over 65s, for example, has risen for each of the last three years from 65, to 68 and now 69 per cent against the government target of 70 per cent set three years ago.
The catch phrase on this year’s NHS information leaﬂet is: ‘If you knew about the ﬂu you’d get the jab’. But if people truly knew about ﬂu, and the lack of effectiveness of the vaccine being offered as protection, would they really be so obedient about getting the jab?
How deadly is the ﬂu?
According to the UK Department of Health (DOH), 3,000 to 4,000 excess...
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