Someday someone at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will just come right out and admit that every autumn they basically turn into a marketing firm.
Their flagship product, of course, is the seasonal flu shot.
But you will NOT believe what they’re trying to sell us this season. I’m serious. If you think you’ve heard it all before, prepare to be flabbergasted.
In past years, CDC officials recommended the flu shot to the sick and infirm, the very young, and–most especially–-the elderly.
But this year they’ve gone “all in.”
This year the CDC recommends flu shots for everyone over the age of six months. But given the scant evidence that the flu shot actually prevents flu, this isn’t disease control or disease prevention, it’s vaccine sales–pure and simple.
So EVERYONE should get a shot now, according to the CDC. And yes, that’s insanely over the top. But hold on–it gets worse…
This past spring, Minnesota Public Radio reported that–completely contrary to what we’ve always been told–the flu shot does NOT reduce deaths due to flu among people over 65.
And here’s the paragraph of the report that is simply stupefying: “The revelation has been so unsettling that public health officials have not shared the information widely with the public–even though some of the early findings have been a part of the scientific literature for several years now.”
Here’s my favorite word in that paragraph: unsettling. Yeah, unsettling in the board rooms of drug companies! Because you can be sure that if millions of dollars weren’t at stake there would be no reason for the CDC to withhold this inconvenient information from the public.
But wait…it gets worse.
MPR also reports on new research that shows no difference in the totals of pneumonia deaths between people who get a flu shot and those who don’t.
So for all these years the CDC has sold the flu shot to seniors by instilling fear of death by flu and pneumonia. And now it appears that few if any of them received any benefit at all from their vaccines.
Try on the XXXXL
So how does the CDC react to all this bad news? Well it’s almost too obvious. Brace yourself for Fluzone High-Dose.
That’s right. Just for seniors–a special flu shot with FOUR TIMES the potency of a normal flu shot.
On a Q&A page about Fluzone High-Dose, the CDC poses this question: “Why is a higher dose vaccine available for adults 65 and older?”
Their answer: “A higher dose of antigen in the vaccine is supposed to give older people a better immune response and therefore better protection against flu.”
“Supposed to”? It’s laughably obvious they have no idea what this vaccine will actually do. So all they can say is what it’s “supposed” to do.
In another Q&A they actually admit: “Whether or not the improved immune response leads to greater protection against influenza disease after vaccination is not yet known.”
So basically they’re saying, “We have no idea if it works, but we recommend it to every senior anyway.”
And finally: “Is Fluzone High-Dose safe?”
They answer that the “safety profile” is similar to that of regular flu vaccines, although in a clinical trial, adverse effects were reported more frequently.
In other words, yes, it’s just as safe as the flu shot, except that it’s not (oh…and the flu shot isn’t necessarily that safe to begin with.).
I wonder if the CDC will win a trip to Hawaii if it sells more than its quota.
“Research suggests flu vaccine doesn’t prevent deaths among the elderly” Lorna Benson, Minnesota Public Radio, 4/27/10, minnesota.publicradio.org
“Fluzone High–Dose Seasonal Influenza Vaccine” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cdc.gov