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Oct 05 2011

Flu poll

I saw the movie Contagion last night — it’s good, but chilling. You are at the mercy of viruses that are evolving far faster than we are, and our lives depend on the luck of our genetics, the random permutations of recombination in pathogens, a bit on our efforts in hygiene and social practices, and a great deal on science supplementing our immune systems. We’re one strong pandemic away from a breakdown of the social order, and we rely on science and vaccinations to help protect this tasty giant petri dish of human meat we call planet Earth.

So I’m not too sympathetic when the Edmonton Sun asks a stupid question.

Do you trust flu shots?

Yes 43%
No 56%

Asking for “trust” is silly, too. I don’t trust anything absolutely, but I provisionally trust the science behind vaccines. I think they’re just trying to encourage doubt with the phrasing.

(Also on Sb)

138 comments

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  1. 1
    New England Bob

    Already obtained my Flu shot. Fifth year in a row.

  2. 2
    Glen Davidson

    Why didn’t they just ask if you like flu shots?

    Dumb. Do you trust them to do what? Enable you to fly, to boost resistance, to cause disabling paralysis?

    They don’t guarantee that you don’t get the flu, after all, not even that you won’t get one of the strains you’re being immunized against. But they reduce the severity of any of the flu strains for which it is designed, even if you do get it.

    Next question, do you trust gravity? Because sometimes it’s downright nasty, you know.

    Glen Davidson

  3. 3
    Randomfactor

    I trust ‘em, but I don’t get ‘em anymore.

  4. 4
    rob

    i was surprised that they used Minneapolis as one of the cities for the action in the movie. i am glad i am in Saint Paul! the Mississippi protects us from the rascals over the water.

  5. 5
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Got mine last month. Helps us old farts avoid the flu.

  6. 6
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    The “Sunshine Girl” photo personals on the front page is an interesting choice.

    Though I’ll admit to not having a clue about what sort of publication this is.

  7. 7
    Sour Tomato Sand

    I trust them, but found it rather annoying in the Army that I was required by law to get one. It was especially annoying since they used the nasal mist– that stuff is disgusting, and the flu-like symptoms that are typical of flu vaccination last much longer with it than with the shot.

    I do understand the logic behind it, though, given the close proximity in which we lived.

  8. 8
    Thomas

    Do I trust flu shots? Yes –enough to get one every year without being concerned that it will do more harm than good. I’ve been getting my flu shot for the last six or seven years (with one year off because of the shortage).

  9. 9
    Joshua Fisher

    Why would I trust flu shots? They are always trying to steal my money and sleep with my wife.

  10. 10
    larianlequella

    As always, I direct people to http://factsnotfantasy.com/vaccines.php to debunk the lies and missconceptions spread by the anti-vax pro-disease lobby. Please share it around.

  11. 11
    Alverant

    I don’t take flu shots. I’d rather someone else who’s vulnerable take the boost. I’m still strong enough to face it on my own. Plus I don’t interact too much with others so my chances to infect and be infected are small.

  12. 12
    JJ

    Serious question:

    I haven’t got a flu Vaccine in ages, for no reason other than being busy (SEE: Laziness). The thing is, I swear I’ve only actually had the flu a few times in my life, when I was young.

    So my question: Would it be better for me to get or not get a flu shot? Just because I don’t ever show symptoms of a flu, I assume I could still easily be a vector. Would it be better to just not get the shot and leave my dose for someone who needs it more, or get the shot and decrease the likelihood that I unknowingly pass the virus onto others?

  13. 13
    Snowshoe the Canuck

    What did you expect? The most facts in the Edmonton Sun can be found on the sports score pages and the most intellectual writing is on the comics page.

  14. 14
    CycleNinja

    Flu shots are a personal source of embarrassment for me. My father died when I was a teenager of complications of pneumonia. For the longest time, I blamed a flu shot he’d received prior to his illness for weakening his immune system. Now I realize that correlation causation, and that this was a classic case my personal belief interfering with the facts. And I try to keep that example firmly in mind to this day.

    Oh, and my mother is in a nursing home, so yeah–I get the shots to avoid spreading it to more vulnerable individuals.

  15. 15
    neuroturtle

    I trust them, I’m just terrified of needles. I’m one of those asthmatics that would rather not take my chances with the whole dying-of-influenza thing. I did skip the swine flu vaccine, though. I got the disease before the vaccine came out, and figured someone else needed the shot more than I did at that point.

    *Contagion spoiler*

    I loved Contagion because it is a movie about everything happening the way it is supposed to. Sickness happens, research happens, vaccine happens, the homeopath gets smacked down, and the scientists win. Yay science!

  16. 16
    cycleninja

    My post should read “correlation does not equal causation.” Sorry for the missing text.

  17. 17
    Kevin nyc

    SPOLIER ALERT!!

    I told my girlfriend that I was disappointed in the movie. esp the way it ends. If there were really xx million deaths we should have had bodies piled in the streets and the national guard fighting the Army in the streets for control of the vacine.

    The guy who gave his shot to someone else should have got infectd and then spread the germ INSIDE the restricted zones.

    The movie needed some explosions and zombies!

    my firm gives out free shots under our insurance plan. get one every year for seven years.

  18. 18
    Tabby Lavalamp

    The Edmonton Sun is not a real newspaper. It’s a right-wing propaganda tabloid, and unapologetically so (Sun Media even recently started their own “news” channel in hopes of imitating Fox “News” success up here, both as a cable channel and as a means of controlling political debate).
    There have been too many murders in Edmonton this year, so one recent front page had Joe Arpaio advising us the way to curb that is for Canada to re-institute capital punishment. That’s right, they went to Joe Arpaio for advice, which should tell you exactly what kind of paper the Edmonton Sun is.

  19. 19
    itzac

    What Tabby said.

    The Sun is the Canadian equivalent of the Daily Mail. Even my moderately conservative parents think it’s trashy.

  20. 20
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    The Edmonton Sun — as with the ‘Sun’ papers in all the other major Canadian cities that aren’t Vancouver — is owned by Quebecor Media, which also runs Sun News Network aka Fox News North.

    Take from that what you will.

  21. 21
    Cuttlefish

    Got mine today. My left shoulder hurts. It’s a conspiracy.

  22. 22
    NitricAcid

    Ah, the Edmonton Stunned- one of the things I do not miss about Edmonchuck. I miss the Folk Fest, I miss Whyte Ave, and I even miss the winters occasionally, but I do not miss the daily tabloid. (Or Rahim Jaffanapes, or the foul stench of Ralph Klein and his cronies…)

  23. 23
    Terry in Maryland

    I enjoyed the movie Contagion, too, a few quibbles but for the most part I was willing to go with it. One point bothered me, though. Elliot Gould played a scientist trying to identify then grow the virus. There’s a scene where he’s sitting in a bar and seems just to be noticing all the instances around him in which a virus could be passed. Coughing, handing things to other people, and so forth. You’d have to imagine that someone in that career would have thought about such things fairly early on.

    As for flu shots, I get mine every year. The flu can be a nasty business and, since I’m not allergic to eggs, the chance of a reaction is very low.

  24. 24
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Tabby #18:

    (Sun Media even recently started their own “news” channel in hopes of imitating Fox “News” success up here, both as a cable channel and as a means of controlling political debate)

    Didn’t need to, the existing media outlets are already insanely friendly towards the Conservatives…

  25. 25
    Alukonis, metal ninja

    Like others, I don’t get the shot because I figure other people can use it more, plus I’m lazy. My schedule is flexible so taking time off for illness is not a problem for me. I got swine flu before they had a vaccine (SUPER FUN BTW), but otherwise I rarely get the flu.

    However I am going in for a booster on my other vaccinations, like for tetanus, which I’m not looking forward to because tetanus shots fuckin’ hurt, yo.

  26. 26
    ike

    I read the Edmonton Sun a few times some 15 years ago. It’s good to know the paper is as shitty now as it was back then.
    As to flu shots, I’ve never taken one, mostly due to laziness. I’d like my kids to take shots, but due to the sad stuff involving narcolepsy with the pig flu vaccine in these parts of Europe, I’m a bit hesitant.

  27. 27
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    NitricAcid #22:

    (Or Rahim Jaffanapes, or the foul stench of Ralph Klein and his cronies…)

    Klein’s been out for years, but apparently even the Progressive Conservatives are too liberal now.

  28. 28
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    @Cuttlefish:

    My right shoulder hurts. I smell a conspiracy :O

  29. 29
    carolynjayne

    We used to get the Sun and the Journal brought to our class in grade five. Even the dumbest kid in the class thought the Sun was stupid.

    The H1N1 shot was the only one I’d had in years though (and then only to stubbornly prove to several friends that it wasn’t going to cripple me). It’s a matter of convenience/slight aversion to needles, though, not quackery.

  30. 30
    robro

    Update on the poll score (I just voted): Yes — 70%, No — 30%. That’ll learn’em.

    This morning, my wife sited some news report about flu shots resulting in some kind of tragedy for someone. Ipso facto…she’s not getting the shot. Any excuse to avoid it, I think. Of course, there are no news stories about the millions of people getting shots without any side effect.

    BTW…my right shoulder is sore. I haven’t had a flu shot. The power of the conspiracy grows.

  31. 31
    =8)-DX

    I trust flu shots. Of course. When I’ve had one I trust it to have a high chance of imunusing me from certain strains of flu virus.

    I don’t trust flu shots to do something they’re not supposed to and can’t – i.e. protect me from any and every strain of flu virus out there, or any future strains.

  32. 32
    fairlyoldguy

    It is now 2:55PM here in NYC-the poll is now showing 72% “Yes”.

  33. 33
    Algernon

    How funny. I happened to get one today. I had my physical and the Dr asked if I’d like to get one. I figure I might as well.

  34. 34
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    I’m getting my first flu shot tomorrow. It’s not so much about me as my toddler. It helps that my employer makes it really easy by setting up a booth in a convenient location.

  35. 35
    etcetera

    As an Edmontonian, I apologise. The Edmonton Sun is equivalent to the Daily Fail Mail. At least we managed to steeple-jack the Conservative party and have them elect a relatively liberal leader this year, so that’s a good thing, right?

  36. 36
    Robin Raianiemi

    I got my flu shot on Monday. Now I’m autistic.

    Oh, wait a minute. I forgot that I’m not delusional.

  37. 37
    marymallone

    Oh, the fucking Edmonton Sun. Thanks for making us look bad! Ugh, the paper is trashy, sexist, and sensationalist. How unfortunate that they’ve done this! The results are horrifying. Perhaps I should move, if this many people in the surrounding area do not want to immunize themselves against infectious diseases.

  38. 38
    IndyM, pikčiurna

    I would be interested in the answers to the questions posed by JJ in #12. I’m 47 and have never gotten a flu shot ever. I’m lazy, busy, and a bit phobic about needles (those are my main excuses)–and I also never really get sick. (My friends tease me and say that I’m a space alien, but I’m actually just Lithuanian.) I also heal very quickly. Would a flu shot be unnecessary for someone like me (that is, someone who is quite sturdy healthwise), or would it be a good idea to start getting them?

  39. 39
    Gregory

    Excellent movie, and the last minute or so left me chilled: it would be so easy for something like that to start.

    As for “trusting” the flu shot…. I have multiple health conditions that put me at the front of the line even in years where the shot is being rationed. My continued existence depends on me not getting influenza. I “trust” the vaccine as much as I trust all of the other meds I take; this one, at least, I don’t have to get every day.

  40. 40
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I’ve never gotten a flu shot due to one very specific reason

    I never think about it long enough to act on it, even with all the PSAs and advertisements.

    I have no reason to fear or doubt them, I just almost never get the flu and the rare couple of time I have it’s been pretty mild. So it never makes it to the “will actually act on it” level of my day to day priority list.

    Irresponsible? Probably. Irrational? I’d actually have to consciously decide not to get one for reason to play a large role here. Convenient? Most definitely.

    This admission of course means I’m doomed this season.

  41. 41
    Ewan R

    I used to trust the flu shot, but it stole my ID and spent my savings on meth.

    That’ll learn me.

  42. 42
    dartigen

    I don’t fully trust my flu shot. I know that the sheer speed with which influenza mutates and changes is way too far ahead of anyone’s ability to make a vaccine. And there’s so many strains (I’d estimate that there’s easily more strains of influenza than there are humans on this planet) that it’d be impossible to ever vaccinate for them all.
    But.
    If it saves me a week of being sick and miserable, if it saves me from assholes who won’t wash their hands and cover their mouths when they cough & sneeze (or better yet just fucking stay home when you’re sick), if it saves me from buildings whose air conditioning ducts haven’t had their filters replaced since before I was born, then I’ll get it. I’ll suffer that few seconds of pain and few hours of misery to save myself from worse suffering from an actual flu.
    Because I’m not in an at-risk group, I have to pay for my flu shots ($35, but it’s once a year) but I feel it’s worth it. I’ve gone from having 4-5 bouts of flu a year (in the years before flu vaccines were available to the general public) to having perhaps 1 at the most. While it’s not completely eliminated the flu from my life, going from 8-10 weeks sick per year to 1 week sick at the most is pretty damn good. (And I’m a student, so I can’t afford to take time off – and nor can I really afford to go to class anyway, because people there work and I’d feel responsible if they got sick because I couldn’t suck it up and stay home. That’s why I feel these ‘cold and flu’ tablets should be prescription-only and only for such serious cases of the flu that they’re impairing your ability to take care of yourself – as they are, they just encourage people to go out and spread the damn virus around. Nobody wants your flu. Keep it to yourself.)

    I’m lucky in that I don’t actually *need* a flu shot, I just get it because I don’t like having the flu, and partial protection is better than nothing at all. The people who need it most – those who could be hospitalized or die from influenza – should get it first though, especially if there’s a shortage (which there was during the whole swine flu panic). Those who are healthy don’t really need it. It’s a convenience thing.
    But I keep up to date on tetanus and pertussis, and if I ever went overseas you can bet I’d get every vaccine I could.

    While I know some people need to be careful with flu shots (like my Dad – he has a compromised immune system, so he has his in two doses three weeks apart) it’s a matter of telling your doctor or whoever’s giving you the shot that you’ve got blahblahblah allergy or blahblahblah condition. I know many school nurses will refuse to give vaccinations to children if they’ve even been recently ill for that reason – if the kid gets sick, parents blame the school, when really it’s either their fault for not sending a letter with the kid to explain that they have had blahblah so please be careful, or with teens them not answering truthfully when the nurse asks ‘do you have any allergies or medical conditions, have you recently recovered form an illness, are you taking any medications’. They don’t ask the question for shits and giggles, they ask it for a reason.
    But so far I’ve never reacted to a flu shot; then again, I took the pamphlet’s advice and took some Panadol half an hour beforehand in case of headache or fever. I know Dad has had a couple of bad reactions (serious flu-like symptoms) and my mum had a bit of a dizzy spell after one (but she has a serious problem with getting injections and can’t even talk about it without feeling ill, so I think it was just her) but I’ve never heard of anyone having any really, really bad reactions. And yet, my mum won’t get a flu shot ever again now. (Then again, it’s a phobia, what are you going to do?)

  43. 43
    Left Handed Atheist

    Never had a flu shot. Last time I had the flu was in 1974, so I think maybe I’m doing okay. Have to admit the 1976 swine flu vaccination debacle kinda turned me off.

  44. 44
    'Tis Himself

    The movie needed some explosions and zombies!

    Every movie is improved by having exploding zombies.

  45. 45
    Inaji

    Rev. BDC:

    I’ve never gotten a flu shot due to one very specific reason

    I’ve never gotten a flu shot. I’ve only had the flu once in my life and I live very rural and I’m not around people much. I figure there are a lot of people who need a flu shot a whole lot more than I do.

  46. 46
    denisepatterson-monroe

    Get my flu shot, make sure my kids get theirs. Nag my hubby to get his because he gets too busy/lazy (bazy? lusy? we need a new portmanteau word here) to get his.

    UNTIL two years ago, when three weeks after the kids and I got ours, he got the flu. He was a MISERY for two weeks – the kids and I were utterly unaffected.

    This year *HE* was the first of us to go and get the shot :D

  47. 47
    RdeG

    I fail to understand the testing procedures for influenza vaccines. Every other vaccine out there needs to go through a multi-year testing procedure to ensure that it’s safe and effective, but flu vaccines seem to get a pass on this. Pharmaceutical companies cobble something together and push it to the market all within a couple months. Is there some reason why flu vaccines don’t need testing? If not, then /why/ should I trust them?

  48. 48
    Rey Fox

    We’re one strong pandemic away from a breakdown of the social order

    Did the Spanish flu pandemic result in any major breakdowns of social order? Or had the previous world war toughened everyone up?

    Every movie is improved by having exploding zombies.

    And if you get exploded zombie on you, then you become an exploded zombie, and BRRRRKKKKKSSSSHHHHHH

  49. 49
    bananacat

    I don’t take flu shots. I’d rather someone else who’s vulnerable take the boost.

    This would makes sense ONLY in the years when there is a limited supply of vaccine, which is pretty rare. During years where there is no shortage, you’ll do better by getting the shot yourself. Some people who are vulnerable to the flu are also too vulnerable to get the shot, or they’ll end up not getting for some other reason and your refusal to get it won’t make them get it. So if you get the flu and then pass it to a vulnerable person who didn’t or couldn’t get the shot, you’ve made them worse off. And you don’t even have to have direct contact with vulnerable people. If fewer people get the flu, it has less chance of reaching vulnerable people down the line. If you don’t get it, you can’t pass it to someone who will pass it on 20 steps down the line to a vulnerable person. There’s plenty of vaccines to go around this year, so go save a baby by getting your shot.

  50. 50
    Jalyth

    I trust the vaccines to keep me from getting the flu, via the path of nobody else getting the flu and me not needing the shot. Yes, I know. I feel that to be an interesting person one should have at least one completely irrational belief, and mine is that I would get the flu from the shot. I would probably overcome this idiocy if I spent any time around children or old people or anyone else, in large numbers. I never get the flu, though.

  51. 51
    Vicki, duly vaccinated tool of the feminist conspiracy

    Jalyth–

    That’s not irrational, it’s selfish, and it only works if other people aren’t being selfish that way. There are people who have to rely on herd immunity, because they can’t safely get the shot, because they have allergies or compromised immune systems. And you aren’t going to know, walking down the street, that the guy over there has a donor kidney.

    [I'm getting my shot through work in a few weeks; if they weren't offering it, I'd stop in at a drugstore on my way home.]

  52. 52
    Gregory

    I fail to understand the testing procedures for influenza vaccines. Every other vaccine out there needs to go through a multi-year testing procedure to ensure that it’s safe and effective, but flu vaccines seem to get a pass on this.

    The reason is simple: the flu vaccine has already been developed, it has already been proven safe and effective, and there is a well established protocol for taking the emerging strains of annual influenza and producing the vaccines.

    Influenza pandemics happen every year, roughly in three year cycles: the dominant strain this year will burn out, go into hiding, mutate, then reemerge as something distinct enough to need a new vaccine. This process is very well understood, and can be prepared for with some reliability, at least in the US (most flu pandemics begin in Asia in early spring, giving us about six months to isolate the dominant strain and develop a store of effective vaccines.)

    The exception comes when there is a novel strain such as H1N1 (swine flu.) The reason there was a shortage of the vaccine in 2009/10 was because they had to go through the process of developing and testing, something that they normally do not need to do. By the time the vaccine was tested, there was not enough time to build sufficient stocks for the season.

  53. 53
    sayamika

    This thread is full of fail.

    There’s no shortage of flu vaccine. Getting your shot protects others. You know this stuff.

    Just because you haven’t gotten flu in the past doesn’t mean you won’t. I never got HIV, doesn’t mean I’m gonna go start having unprotected sex with strangers (again).

    The flu vaccine is a wee bit different from other vaccines requiring a multi year testing process insofar as it’s precisely the same process they use each year with only a change in the epitope they use from the flu virus. So it’s basically the same vaccine. Which is why for example when they wanted to introduce the intranasal vaccine, THAT had to undergo rigorous multi-year testing, but now they can produce that one for any flu virus. Think of it as a Ford Focus, but they’re varying the colours. It’s not as though you need to crash test the black one to see if it’s as safe as the blue one.

    The flu virus doesn’t mutate that quickly. Viral mutation comes in two forms for the flu virus: drift and shift. Drift is what we think of as mutation- relatively slow, some effect on vaccine efficacy but overall last year’s H3N2 is pretty similar to the one the year before.

    Shift is a different beast. The flu virus has what amounts to “chromosomes” and these come in different flavours for the various subspecies. When these get reassorted eg by coinfection of a pig by human and pig flu, what you get is a whole new virus. Thus, swine flu. This, if it hasn’t happened with that particular pig virus, means that the whole human population has no immunity to that new virus (ie, the 2010 season) and all hell could potentially break loose.

    What happens when public health fails? Pandemics.

    What happens when public health works? Nothing.

  54. 54
    Frank Gurliacci

    I personally don’t get flu shots. when i was younger i had a bad reaction. my arm started aching, i started trembling and vomiting and barely managed to get to a bed before i passed out. i do however support people getting them, i’m relying on herd immunity since i am(in my opinion, rationally) abstaining. flu shots may be free but i’d rather not be monitored for an adverse reaction that might cost me a ton of money, being uninsured.

  55. 55
    nemothederv

    Contagion is to evolution
    what
    The Happening was to intelligent design.

    I think M. Knight Shyamalan and Mel Gibson may have gone crazy at the same time.

    What do they mean by trust? I don’t trust the flu shot to always work but I do trust it to be safe. Potential pay offs outweigh potential risks by a couple orders of magnitude

  56. 56
    myeck waters

    I don’t go out of my way to get flu shots, but every year my doctor offers me one and it doesn’t even increase my copay, so hurrah for that.

    I tried leaving a snarky comment at the poll but something kept failing.

  57. 57
    'Tis Himself

    My company offers free flu shots every year. As the company economist, I track the effectiveness of the shots. Those who get the shots have 2 to 6 fewer sick days than those who don’t.

  58. 58
    Zinc Avenger

    Pharyngulation successful. 81% Yes, 19% No.

  59. 59
    Aquaria

    I had to get flu shots in the military. They all made me sicker than any flu I caught normally.

    It turns out I did get H1N1 at the height of that scare, mostly because there were shortages in San Antonio even for the elderly and other at-risk people. I was young and healthy, so I decided to wait until people who needed it more got their shot.

    BAD MOVE.

    H1N1 nearly killed me, and I’ve had long-term health complications from it, enough that I’m the at-risk person who has to get the shot now. I’m not using the excuse of shortages anymore. If I need it, I get it as soon as I can.

    Lucky me, my husband’s work gives flu shots for free to employees and their spouses, employees first, spouses once the employees are done. I’m waiting for word I can get mine.

  60. 60
    Alverant

    bananacat #49
    I was thinking about time as well as shortages. Since I work, I have a limited amount of time to get the shot and the places I pass by offering shots are often busy, when they’re not busy they’ve run out until the next day (I’ve seen it happen). Myself getting the shot delays other people from getting one. Plus the more people who get the vaccine the greater the chances of a superbug evolving that’s immune to normal treatments.

  61. 61
    sean

    When you have something like emphysema, flu shots (and a pneumonia shot) are all that may stand between you and being intubated and placed on a ventilator in intensive care, fighting for your life with influenza.

    All because someone unprotected coughed near you at the shops, or at work.

    Any small risk is vastly outweighed by the benefits, especially for people in at-risk groups.

  62. 62
    Ichthyic

    I think M. Knight Shyamalan

    …is a complete and utter hack.

    he had two films that didn’t want to make me leave the theater screaming, and of those, only one could debatably be considered an actual good film.

    just had to toss that out there.

    What a twist!

  63. 63
    Tonya

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned the project MIT is developing known as DRACO. They found a way to cause apoptosis in cells with RNA transcription helices of the type and size viruses use, essentially killing only mammalian cells infected with a virus while leaving healthy cells untouched.

    They’ve tested it so far with over 15 viruses and found it highly effective on every single one, including H1N1, Rhinovirus, several hemorrhagic fevers, and dengue. There’s no reason it shouldn’t work on any other virus, HIV, hepatitis, included.

    This may just well be the ultimate shield against a global contagion, and the societal catastrophe that such an event would cause.

  64. 64
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    I don’t trust them. And I have good evidence – my blood tests showed that the last one didn’t take. No antibodies.

    I’ll still get one next time. It’ll be a different strain, so it might work. I figure it’s worth a try.

  65. 65
    Anthony K

    I get them through my job. Hey, I’m not gonna say no to a free perk. I’d probably get the flu if they offered it to me. Flex time and the flu.

    And frankly, I’m surprised the Edmonton Sun had such a well-worded poll. Usually they just slap up a sensationalist photo and measure the fear hormones their ‘readers’ excrete.

    So, to recap: in the last month, we’ve had a radio station offering a ‘Win a Russian Bride’ contest, a bar with urinals shaped like women’s lips, and The Sun polling yokels on whether or not they trust vaccines like they trust their TruckNutz™ dealers.

    Stay classy, Edmonton.

  66. 66
    Mattand

    @ everyone who doesn’t get the flu shot because they never got the flu:

    I missed getting the recent H1N1 shot mainly due to laziness. However, I’ve been getting a flu shot since 2009 after going literally went 33 years without, the last one being the ’76 swine flu vax.

    Like many people on this thread, I figured I wasn’t getting the flu so why bother. Why have I started again? Many reasons:

    • I started following the skeptical movement and was introduced to the wacky world of alt med and anti-vax conspiracies.

    • Even if I didn’t get the flu, I didn’t want to infect my elderly dad and my siblings’ young kids

    • Herd immunity and science rocks

    • I ain’t as young as I used to be

    If you have the time and can afford it, get the shot. There’s an upsetting amount of people helping reintroduce controllable diseases by working to prevent vaccinations. Hopefully, I can help fight that a bit by getting the shot.

  67. 67
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    As the company economist, I track the effectiveness of the shots. Those who get the shots have 2 to 6 fewer sick days than those who don’t.

    Well, anecdotal, but similar to other results I’ve heard. That is why my company offers flu shots to its workers. I think I’ve only had the flu once in the last ten years since I started getting the shot, and that was from a family member who was at a Xmas dinner, and kept forgetting the rule that she was always to be served by someone else, and shouldn’t touch anything or serve herself (something the Mythies confirmed).

  68. 68
    Ichthyic

    They found a way to cause apoptosis in cells with RNA transcription helices of the type and size viruses use, essentially killing only mammalian cells infected with a virus while leaving healthy cells untouched.

    that sounded interesting, so I looked:

    http://intimmabs.oxfordjournals.org/content/22/Suppl_1_Pt_3/iii72.short

    yeah it looks workable in practice (at least in vitro), and not just for viral rna targeting.

    I saw some papers using similar work to target cancer cells too.

    might kill MANY birds with one stone here.

    could be very very cool indeed.

    I couldn’t find anything to suggest when any actual drugs might be produced, or when any trials might be started though.

    If it indeed pans out, looks like it still might be a ways away?

    not my field of expertise; Orac or Abbey might know more.

  69. 69
    sayamika

    @Alveran #60 bzzzt! Wrong!

    Vaccination does nothing to increase the chances of a “superbug” emerging. If anything, a decrease in the population of people passing around influenza actually should decrease these chances, because again, with influenza, the danger is shift. Shift requires that someone- anyone, even a pig or a bird- be infected simultaneously with two strains of flu to get that reassortment. It’s like sex, only messier. If you decrease any one flu virus’s circulation, you decrease its chance of becoming part of that mess.

    It’s not like with antibiotics. With an antibiotic, you have in a given person an infection with an evolving population of bacteria. With bacterial growth rates, any one infection, particularly a protracted one caused, say, by someone going ‘oooh my throat isn’t sore anymore (even though the infection is ongoing) so I’ll hang onto these for next time’ and then retreating themselves with the same antibiotic, creates a resistant subspecies quite rapidly (particularly with say fluoroquinolones ((anything ending with -floxacin)) which can pass to another person which is how you get resistance.

    With a vaccine, what you’re doing is preventing infection. Exposure leads to immune activation leads to no infection. No infection means no replication. No replication means no evolution in that person. No evolution in a given person is a subspecies not given a chance to form.

    Virology is cool. IMHO.

  70. 70
    J Dubb

    SHUT
    DOWN
    EVERYTHING

  71. 71
    Greg Limes

    I think the use of the word trust loads the whole thing, because it invites any individual who got sick despite being vaccinated to treat it as a betrayal of trust, leading to an emotional response dismissing the concept in the future.

    The important question is whether or not vaccinating more people in town will mean less people getting sick, or people getting less sick (however you want to word it). I think we have pretty well established the answer to that one is yes.

  72. 72
    tushcloots

    @etcetera: I thought the same with Stelmach. But I do have higher hopes for Alison Redford. I think she’s even against two tiered health care.

    Rev. BigDumbChimp says:


    5 October 2011 at 5:43 pm

    The “Sunshine Girl” photo personals on the front page is an interesting choice.
    Though I’ll admit to not having a clue about what sort of publication this is.

    Answered above re:type of toilet news paper. Murdoch – game, set, match.
    You never want to read the op eds. They are a bunch of wanna be Ann Coulters.

    The worst newspaper front page I remember was the Edmonton Journal a few years ago. They had a huge picture of some forlorn looking woman strolling some hills outside of the city proper. She was concerned with UFO’s or ghosts, FFS, and the interview presented verbatim as a typical interview with an expert(scientist, doctor, etc)!!

    Fuck, are there a lot of stunned redneck neo-fundicons around here, but it still pales in comparison to Washington :(

  73. 73
    John Morales

    83% Yes 3320 votes

    17% No 676 votes

  74. 74
    Algernon

    Ooh… yeah I never got the flu. I never got the flu shot. Then one year I got the flu (actually I got it just before the H1N1 thing broke and I didn’t go to the doctor because I was uninsured until I was on death’s door).

    Anyway, long story short I ended up with viral pneumonia and every year since I’ve had seasonal respiratory problems. It’s been getting better the last couple years, but now I get the flu shot just in case because now that I had my first case of flu I don’t want to do that again! Can I rest assured that I will not get the flu? No, and I know that. But hey, it’s more likely that getting the shot will spare me a bad flu infection than it is that I will not get infected without it. And it’s more likely that the vaccine will reduce my symptoms if I do catch it than it is I will not have lung problems if I do catch it.

    Looking at it that way, it’s clearly in my personal best interests to go ahead and get the vaccine, not to mention that if I don’t get it the people around me are less likely to get it too!

    Win win, that.

  75. 75
    Therrin

    SHUT
    DOWN
    EVERYTHING

    Message received. Alt-F4ing the world.

  76. 76
    Chris Booth

    There is a word for shards of exploded zombie: bacon.

    Mmmmmm…zombie….

  77. 77
    Ben Johnston

    As others have noted, the Edmonton Sun is trash. Their sports section is pretty good; the rest of the paper is a poorly-written extreme right-wing propaganda machine, and should be discarded like the useless husk that it is. Fortunately, the other daily paper (the Edmonton Journal) is generally pretty decent, and has significantly better circulation figures.

  78. 78
    ckitching

    I used to think that the Sun tabloids tried to keep up an appearance of impartiality, until I started seeing their 2011 Manitoba election coverage. One day I read an op-ed that declared that Manitoba’s streets would run red with the blood of innocents if the NDP won over the conservatives because the NDP have no plans for dealing with violent crime. The very next day I saw an op-ed that declared that the NDP were vision-less and that their plans for dealing with crime were no different from the conservative party’s. To top it all off, the headline on the paper after the election was “Fear wins” after the NDP won.

    The upshot is that it make bias a lot easier to see when its so obvious.

  79. 79
    eyespy

    Allow me to propose a little experiment:

    Ask someone in their 80s how many people they knew who died as children from infectious disease. I’ll bet they knew at least a few, perhaps even double digits.

    Then ask someone in their 60s how many people they knew who died as children from infectious disease. I’ll bet that number goes down considerably, probably only one or two.

    Then ask someone in their 40s how many people they knew who died as children from infectious disease. It will be a rare person who does, and the disease that did the killing is probably exotic and not ordinarily encountered.

    The idea that humanity will ever suffer another killer global epidemic is a fraudulent scenario used by the mass media to sell ad space and movie tickets. People are far more likely to consume mass media in the event of a crisis, and what more frightening crisis is there than the spectre of a supervirus that will kill us all, friend or enemy?

    People don’t get sick and die anymore. This is due to the sheer abundance of food energy available due to modern agriculture. Energy, not nutrition, is the key word here.

    The construction of the human immune system is an incredibly complex and energy-intensive process. It is also last in line during child development and is the first process to grind to a halt in the absence of energy as the body triages energy to more immediately necessary processes.

    Food security ensures that the modern human emerges from childhood with an ass-kicking immune system. If even a few meals are missed per month, this system does not develop properly and the under-energized person will be more susceptible to infectious disease.

    Even in most poor countries there is sufficient food energy available so that fewer and fewer people lack the appropriate food security to properly develop an immune system (this trend is reversing thanks to market speculation driving up food prices, but that’s not having a major effect yet).

    Take the latest pandemic canard, the bird flu. Even in Vietnam, one of the poorest countries in Asia, people only died in their hundreds, and most of them were either very young or very old. This in a country of more than 70 million people.

    Fear sells, and nothing instills fear quite like the idea of an invisible bug killing you from the inside out.

    Vaccination is also a key component here, but vaccination rates in developing countries do not approach necessary levels and even then we are not seeing mass plagues of infectious diseases in these countries.

    The massive increase in global travel has also contributed to immune success; the last time you went to JFK or Heathrow you were exposed to multiple exotic infectious diseases before you boarded the plane. It is the exact opposite of the 1, 2, 4, 16, 256, etc. scenario played out in Contagion; the more you are exposed the stronger you become.

    The “engineered supervirus” idea is just laughable. Do you really think that we are better at honing the killing power of viruses and bacteria than billions of years of evolution? Not to mention the fact that if “weaponization” resulted in effective biological weapons they would have been used in conflict, Geneva Conventions be damned. They didn’t stop us using napalm in Vietnam or white phosphorus in Fallujah. Military commanders know that bioweapons are completely useless and their non-use speaks volumes to that fact.

    The “Spanish flu” epidemic was the result of an extreme set of circumstances. The world was much poorer, people had far less food security and there were millions of men returning from a war in exotic locations having spent most of their time in conditions of poor sanitation that bred all manner of nasty bugs. People in their communities had no natural immunity to these exotic diseases in addition to not having highly developed immune systems, and predictably died in their millions.

    Movies like Contagion and reportage from the mass media prey on the ignorance of a wildly misled public and stoke fear of a scenario that borders on the absurd.

    I should know; the anthrax letters were mailed from my post office. I had to have gotten infected mail for days after they were posted, as did everyone else in my zip code. Yet none of us even got sick, let alone died.

    Stop paying attention to the media frauds when they cook up their next little plague scenario. You’re not going to get sick and die. It’s just that simple.

  80. 80
    eyespy

    That little rant was not an argument against vaccination in general, but once again you have to look at what the fear is selling.

    In this case, millions and millions of flu vaccines that have not proven to be at all necessary in maintaining the public health against what is a normally non-fatal infectious disease.

    In fact, deaths from the flu have been rising over the last 40 years and there is no evidence at all to suggest that vaccination is positively affecting these rates; this 40-year increase happening to begin around the same time as the introduction of widespread flu vaccination:

    http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/estimates/April_October_17.htm

    That’s quite a coincidence, isn’t it?

    Might actively introducing killed virus into the general population have something to do with this rise in flu deaths? Stay tuned…

  81. 81
    John Morales

    eyespy:

    The “engineered supervirus” idea is just laughable. Do you really think that we are better at honing the killing power of viruses and bacteria than billions of years of evolution?

    You forget that killing one’s host is not a great evolutionary trait for a parasite; the better they get at it, the less hosts they will have.

  82. 82
    Inaji

    John:

    You forget that killing one’s host is not a great evolutionary trait for a parasite; the better they get at it, the less hosts they will have.

    Yep. That’s why outbreaks of ebola, while horrific, are short-lived. They kill off their hosts much too quickly.

  83. 83
    Ichthyic

    what is a normally non-fatal infectious disease.

    In fact, deaths from the flu have been rising over the last 40 year

    uh huh.

    you don’t actually read the shit you write, do you?

  84. 84
    Ichthyic

    Stay tuned…

    *yawn*

    conspiracy theories bore the fuck out of me.

    sell it to Fox Media.

  85. 85
    eyespy

    It’s not a conspiracy theory.

    The media simply don’t know any better because trust in good science is at an all-time low in this country.

    “If it bleeds, it leads” is a time honored tradition in the media and this situation is no different.

    Remember SARS? When all the major newsweeklies had a front cover photo of an anonymous person in a surgical mask? How many people died from SARS? Very few.

    Look at the facts:

    People were dying from the flu less often in the 1970s
    People are dying from the flu more often in the 2010s

    Is this forward progress?

    Again, vaccination is one of the most important scientific advances ever. Ever.

    Flu vaccines, however, are unnecessary and are increasingly looking like the problem rather than the solution.

    Read the data cited in the CDC study and tell me I’m wrong.

  86. 86
    eyespy

    @Ichthyic

    Did you read the whole thing or did you just cherry-pick the parts that justify your fear of challenging your previously held status quo?

    Two more questions:

    Do you believe my food security=strong immunity argument to be valid?

    How can you explain rising death rates in the face of a vaccination program against the disease being vaccinated against?

    I look forward to an actual analysis of the facts presented as proposed to an ad hominem attack.

  87. 87
    eyespy

    @John Morales

    An excellent point. Truly deadly disease processes will indeed cancel themselves out as hosts die faster than the virulence can spread.

    Yet we’re not currently dying in significant numbers from any infectious disease.

  88. 88
    eyespy

    @John Morales

    An excellent point. Truly deadly disease processes will indeed cancel themselves out as hosts die faster than the virulence can spread.

    Yet we’re not currently dying in significant numbers from any infectious disease process whatsoever.

  89. 89
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Four posts in a row. Sure sign of either a troll, or a True Believer™ in some false idea.

  90. 90
    eyespy

    @Ichthyic

    That should read “as opposed,” not “as proposed.”

    Not ordinarily a grammar fascist but your refusal to adequately even consider the argument presented, let alone refute it with sourced data leads me to believe that another ad hom attack on my communication skills would be the next strawman you threw up (PUN INTENDED) against my argument.

    Please make a logical counter argument.

    Thrill me with your acumen.

  91. 91
    eyespy

    @Nerd

    Again, read the sourced data and come up with a logical argument based on your own sourced data.

    Ad hom is for weak minds.

  92. 92
    eyespy

    @Nerd

    Please come up with a sourced counter-argument instead of resorting to ad hominem attacks.

    Ad hom is for creatards.

  93. 93
    eyespy

    As an aside, the commenting system on this site sucks.

    Many apologies for the multiple posts.

    I didn’t realize you had to navigate away from the page to see your comment posted.

  94. 94
    John Morales

    eyespy:

    People were dying from the flu less often in the 1970s
    People are dying from the flu more often in the 2010s

    Citation needed.

    (I also note the world population in the 1970s was far lesser than in the 2010s, so the relevant metric would be the rate, not the total)

  95. 95
    John Morales

    [OT]

    eyespy:

    I didn’t realize you had to navigate away from the page to see your comment posted.

    You don’t; the page reloads upon submitting your comment.

    (Check your browser settings, perhaps)

  96. 96
    eyespy

    @John Morales

    This just proves that you didn’t read what I wrote.

    I cited this CDC assessment of H1N1 and influenza in general.

    Please read it, though you should have read it the first time as I assume you are a scientist:

    http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/estimates/April_October_17.htm

    Thank you for at least trying to address the argument presented instead of doing the ad hom thing.

    This a US only study, btw.

  97. 97
    eyespy

    @John Morales

    Browser settings fixed. Many thanks.

  98. 98
    eyespy

    This leads me to a broader argument.

    How the fuck do you dismiss out-of-hand a new hypothesis without checking sources and providing data counter to the argument presented?

    We’re supposed to be scientists.

    We’re supposed to embrace change in the face of the evidence in hand.

    That’s the beauty of science vs. religion, which I thought was the purpose of this website.

    Science changes, adapts, evolves. It’s what makes us all work towards a better common understanding of how the universe works and what exactly is our tiny place in that machine.

    Religion stagnates, looks backward and thwarts our vision of progress at every turn.

    We’re supposed to be the thinkers, the rationalists that deal with the evident data in a worldview unbiased by anything but the evidence before us.

    And, in the face of a new way of thinking supported by evidence, we need to change our thinking because IT IS NOT DOGMA.

    NOT DOGMA.

    IT IS SCIENCE.

    We are in pursuit of knowledge, and the best way we can pursue knowledge is to challenge new beliefs in the face of the evidence before us.

    Take up my hypothesis and TEST IT. Use the data available and try to develop new data if you believe I’m wrong.

    Arguments from incredulity, ignorance and the strawman are exactly what the creatards use against us.

    Can we at least remain respectful of each others’ training and ideas without resorting to the same fucking thing as Ken Ham or William Lane Craig?

    For fuck’s sake, can we allow the professional courtesy of preliminary investigation before we start kicking each other in the gonads?

    We’re all on the same side here, the side of evidence. I feel I have provided evidence for my argument. Feel free to disagree, but show your fucking work.

    Anything less and you are no more than they are.

  99. 99
    Crissa

    I don’t generally get shots – most of my doctors think it’s better that I don’t push it and have a seizure from a stupid phobia than the benefit of a shot.

    On the other hand, my spouse has brought home every really bad flu of late before there was a shot for it Noro, Swine A and B, etc, etc. :P

    But trust? Yes, I trust that it’s been inspected and won’t hurt me any more than any other vaccine or injection. Maybe slightly worse than saline, but not at any level I’ll notice personally.

  100. 100
    Amphiox

    Then ask someone in their 40s how many people they knew who died as children from infectious disease. It will be a rare person who does, and the disease that did the killing is probably exotic and not ordinarily encountered.

    Polio.

    Hypothesis falsified.

    That was easy.

  101. 101
    John Morales

    eyespy, I still can’t find the comparison in mortality due to influenza between the 1970s and the 2010s in your cited link.

    (Your assertion remains unsupported)

  102. 102
    Amphiox

    People don’t get sick and die anymore.

    HIV.

    Hypothesis falsified.

    That was easy.

  103. 103
    Amphiox

    In this case, millions and millions of flu vaccines that have not proven to be at all necessary in maintaining the public health against what is a normally non-fatal infectious disease.

    The primary benefit of flu vaccination is not in lives saved (no flu vaccine studies have actually shown a significant decrease deaths from flu), but actually economic – in less working days lost to illness and greater net economic productivity.

    Also, of course, presumably fewer days of individual suffering, though I’m not sure if anyone has ever tried to measure this.

  104. 104
    Amphiox

    Remember SARS? When all the major newsweeklies had a front cover photo of an anonymous person in a surgical mask? How many people died from SARS? Very few.

    The reason for this is because of advances in ICU care and infection control. The SARS virus was basically a mutated, more infectious relative of the common cold virus, so if you can get the patient over the acute phase of respiratory distress, the virus itself was not inherently that virulent.

    That anonymous person in the surgical mask? That was WHY so few people died from SARS.

  105. 105
    eyespy

    Good. Lord.

    HIV is so exotic as to only be spread through certain pathways in which adults do not ordinarily participate, let alone children, who were my main focus in the original argument.

    And polio? It has been reduced to fewer than 10 cases per year where vaccination is universal, not to mention that polio does not ordinarily kill but disable.

    http://www.whale.to/y/stats/poliodeaths.html

    I didn’t want to do this about influenza, due to the length of the source and the “unreliability” of said source, but here you go:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Influenza

    All the info is right there, cited and sourced.

    Next?

  106. 106
    Amphiox

    In fact, deaths from the flu have been rising over the last 40 years and there is no evidence at all to suggest that vaccination is positively affecting these rates; this 40-year increase happening to begin around the same time as the introduction of widespread flu vaccination:

    http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/estimates/April_October_17.htm

    1. The provided link actually says nothing at all about comparative deaths from flu.

    2. The provided link is about H1N1 flu, which is swine flu, and not seasonal flu, and therefore has nothing whatsoever at all to do with the vaccination program for seasonal flu.

  107. 107
    eyespy

    @amphiox

    You truly take the cake for the worst argument yet.

    No one in the West ever wears surgical masks in public.

    Certainly no one was doing this at the time of the SARS “outbreak.”

    Yet our rate of SARS infection was no greater than in Asian countries where the donning of surgical masks in public is viewed as a common courtesy by the sick to prevent others being sickened.

    http://www.who.int/csr/sars/country/en/

    It’s a tough slog, but if you want to get to the truth you need to click through a few of those monthly totals to understand just how ridiculous your argument is.

  108. 108
    Amphiox

    HIV is so exotic as to only be spread through certain pathways in which adults do not ordinarily participate, let alone children, who were my main focus in the original argument.

    The HIV example is given as a counter to your assertion that “People don’t get sick and die anymore”. People. Not children. Or are adults not people?

    And polio? It has been reduced to fewer than 10 cases per year where vaccination is universal, not to mention that polio does not ordinarily kill but disable.

    Ah, I see. You said people in their 40s. I read 1940s. The last big polio epidemic was in the 1940s and 1950s, before the vaccine. However, it does apply to your previous example, people in their 60s.

    The hypothesis is still falsified, though.

  109. 109
    eyespy

    @amphiox

    That CDC study was not the best, I’ll admit.

    This one is better:

    http://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm

    And I’ll reiterate the wiki entry as being well cited and sourced:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Influenza

    PS–H1N1 is bird flu not, swine flu, genius.

    I’m done. you people are fucking irredeemable dogmatists.

    Answers In Genesis would be proud of your resistance to facts and logic.

  110. 110
    Amphiox

    No one in the West ever wears surgical masks in public.

    And I was referring to the wearing of surgical masks IN HOSPITALS, which WAS done routinely in the west during the SARS outbreak, in places where those masks were NOT routinely worn before.

    And the media photos I refer to were the ones, taken in the west, of hospital staff wearing masks, as a part of hospital based infection-control procedures. That’s because, here in the west, the SARS outbreak was a hospital-based outbreak. Aside from the original seeding infections, almost all the other cases occurred due to in-hospital transmission between inpatients. Thanks to these efforts, SARS never became a community disease here in the west in a big way.

    I was not talking about the wearing of masks in public in Asia.

  111. 111
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    @Amphiox re polio – no, you are wrong by a decade. Possibly you have not realised quite how old you are; I know it takes me by surprise :)

    In the 1960s – which is when people now in their forties were born – polio was pretty much gone by the time they got to kindergarten. To my knowledge, I had exactly zero schoolmates contract polio. We did all have the vax, and it was taken very seriously, because people had been dying and becoming crippled in the previous decade. Our parents knew them, we didn’t.

  112. 112
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    Bugger, shoulda refreshed. Sorry Amphiox.

  113. 113
    Amphiox

    PS–H1N1 is bird flu not, swine flu, genius.

    Avian flu is H5N1. (Or H7N3, H7N7 and H9N2) See http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/gen-info/facts.htm

    Swine flu is H1N1. See http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/flu-guide/swine-flu-faq-1

    Get your facts straight before you snark. You avoid making a fool of yourself that way.

  114. 114
    Amphiox

    The other thing eyespy my friend?

    Bird flu is also not seasonal flu. So my original comment remains valid either way.

  115. 115
    Amphiox

    Yet our rate of SARS infection was no greater than in Asian countries where the donning of surgical masks in public is viewed as a common courtesy by the sick to prevent others being sickened.

    SARS here in the west was primary a hospital based outbreak. It never made it into the community in a big way.

    SARS in Asia was a community based outbreak.

    Apples and oranges. Comparing infection rates between the two is actually irrelevant.

    It’s true actually that SARS turned out to be not as deadly as first feared in retrospect, by the way. As I said, the SARS virus turned out to be a mutated version of a close relative of one of the many common cold viruses, which are not particularly virulent.

    But SARS was highly infectious. And when a new outbreak appears, there’s no way of telling how deadly it will turn out to be. That’s something we can only find out in hindsight. We were LUCKY with SARS. That is all.

  116. 116
    Therrin

    That was interesting.

  117. 117
    Amphiox

    PS–H1N1 is bird flu not, swine flu, genius.

    Oh, and eyespy? The identification of H5N1 flu as bird flu and H1N1 as swine flu is in the wikipedia citation you yourself gave.

    Another hint for avoiding making a fool of yourself is to actually read the citations you use. I know some of them are very long, and you don’t necessarily read ALL of it. But at least the part that contains the information about which you are trying to talk about should be perused, if only briefly.

    Perhaps you got confused because we think the origin of the H1N1 swine flu was due to a gene swap, while in the pigs, with a bird flue strain that also infects pigs (but not humans). But then, that too would have been in the citation you yourself provided, if you had bothered to read it for comprehension.

  118. 118
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    Wait, what, eyespy linked to whale.to? That’s like a Godwin for health info – it’s every bit as truthful and reliable as Answers in Genesis. That well is so thoroughly poisoned that there’s no point going there. I won’t rule out a stopped clock effect, but anything from there needs an additional source for verification. WHO, CDC & wiki are much better.

    BTW polio only “routinely crippled” rather than killed if you count life in the iron lung wards. If you need a lot of technological help to breathe, then that’s a killer for anyone but the wealthy, anywhere but the well-funded west.

    I’m a bit unclear on the point of the argument though. Is the idea that fluvax hasn’t helped to prevent flu deaths? Or that it causes deaths, or what?

  119. 119
    Amphiox

    Incidentally, there’s still nothing in any of the links that eyespy provided that show any comparisons in death rates from seasonal flu between different decades over the last 40 years.

    But as I have already said, the main purpose of the annual flu vaccination is not to prevent deaths, but to prevent suffering and lost productivity from lost days of work.

    That’s one reason why at present, we don’t have a universal vaccination program for children with the annual flu vaccine, like we do with things like polio, MMR, and the like, and instead just have a voluntary program. The benefit of the flu vaccine, while real, isn’t at the same level as those life-saving childhood vaccinations.

  120. 120
    otrame

    Aquaria, I am sorry it got you so sick. There were a few deaths here in SA, and one of them was a cousin of 2 of my grandkids. She was 2.

    You guys, PLEASE get your shots if you don’t have bad reactions. In the last 30 years or so between 3,500 and 43,000 people die of influenza every year in the US alone (average about 23k but the standard deviation is pretty big because some seasonal strains are more virulent than others).. Even if it doesnt kill you, it will take two weeks out of your life. Like the old joke says, at first you are afraid you are going to die, then you are afraid you won’t. So quit being silly and get the damn shot.

    /your mother

  121. 121
    Rorschach

    eyespy :

    People don’t get sick and die anymore

    Are you stupid ?
    As to your little pet theory about energy and the immune system, care to provide a link to scientific evidence ?

    People were dying from the flu less often in the 1970s
    People are dying from the flu more often in the 2010s

    Colgate total, the toothpaste more dentists use.

  122. 122
    StevoR

    Figures when I voted (D’uh, Yes!) :

    Yes = 86% 4080 votes

    No = 14% 682 votes

    This online Vaccine Song :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1xw0Ob5bqs

    perfectly sums up the whole “to vaccinate (flu or otherwise) or not” issue for me.

  123. 123
    Kagato

    eyespy @ 150:

    Seriously?

    HIV is so exotic as to only be spread through certain pathways in which adults do not ordinarily participate

    You mean like sex?

    let alone children, who were my main focus in the original argument.

    Here’s a reliable way of transmitting HIV to a child: giving birth to one.

    About 2.5 million children under 15 had HIV in 2009, and about 260,000 died from AIDS the same year. (source)

    It’s not up there with cancer and homicide, but it still makes the top 20 even in the US.

  124. 124
    AussieMike

    Another poll smashed! Next Please!

  125. 125
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Again, read the sourced data and come up with a logical argument based on your own sourced data.

    Ad hom is for weak minds.

    Why do I have to argue when I I don’t want to, as it is bed time? I smelled something wrong with your argument, but couldn’t put my finger on it. But your way of trying to force an argument by lots of posts in a row is a form of trolling. And you were later showed to be a True Believer™ in an inane idea by the experts, as I expected. I didn’t do an ad hominen attack on you, or insult you, merely pointed out what you sounded like. If you don’t like what you were sounding like, change your behavior.

  126. 126
    lazybird

    eyespy says:

    …deaths from the flu have been rising over the last 40 years and there is no evidence at all to suggest that vaccination is positively affecting these rates…

    The American Lung Association disagrees with you:

    With clear and striking evidence of the effectiveness of the flu vaccine in reducing hospitalizations and deaths and in producing direct cost savings, providers and patients alike should take steps to ensure that people at high risk receive the flu shot each year.

    link (PDF:)

    http://www.lungusa.org/finding-cures/our-research/trend-reports/pi-trend-report.pdf

  127. 127
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    Do you trust flu shots?

    As far as I can throw them. Luckily they’re pretty small.

  128. 128
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    eyespy:

    I’m done. you people are fucking irredeemable dogmatists.

    Damn our dogmatic insistence on evidence and provable hypotheses! It causes us to not take unsupported assertions seriously.

    I wonder why eyespy considers that a flaw?

  129. 129
    Inaji

    Nigel:

    I wonder why eyespy considers that a flaw?

    Conspiracy theories work better floating on a load of suppositions.

  130. 130
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Caine:

    Conspiracy theories work better floating on a load of suppositions.

    Especially yummy, sugar-coated, energy-laden suppositions.

    I’m going to eat a lot more Kellogg’s Frosted Suppositions, the breakfast cereal that is made entirely of seven different kinds of sugar! That way, I’ll never get sick. It’s far tastier than a flu shot.

  131. 131
    Inaji

    Nigel:

    I’m going to eat a lot more Kellogg’s Frosted Suppositions

    Oh ho, so that’s the secret to Super-Duper You Never Die Immunity! I had best stock up.

  132. 132
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Wait, what, eyespy linked to whale.to? That’s like a Godwin for health info

    While it’s entirely possible that by some clock-is-right metaphysical occurrence whale.to has an article that is based on legitimate science, I’d want to verify that against at least 4 other non woo laden sources.

  133. 133
    Andrew

    If I refuse to get a flu shot (family history of Guillain-Barré after the last shots), but still trust them for others, and vaccinations in general, which do I pick?

  134. 134
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Well Andrew I’d say you trust them to work as they are supposed to as known reactions are known.

  135. 135
    Inaji

    Andrew, this is something to discuss with your doctor.

  136. 136
    eric

    Lance N Keester sent his submission in.

  137. 137
    eric

    D’oh! Wrong thread! @136 was intended for the “American Family Values” poll. I has failed internet.

  138. 138
    Susanna

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