Thursday, Oct 29th, 2009
The American government may have left itself exposed to revealing just how strongly the public opposes its flu vaccination campaign. For the first time Americans can count how many of its citizens opted for or against flu vaccination, and the numbers are appalling.
After months of drum-beating, that the so-called late-2009 season H1N1 “swine flu” could develop into a more severe pandemic with greater loss of life as the winter flu season approached, Americans have not bought into government-generated flu hysteria.
Americans are hearing just 22.4 million doses of flu vaccine are available, which is posed as a vast shortage. But news sources indicate only about 11 million Americans have been vaccinated to date, an underwhelming public response to the government’s massive crusade to vaccinate up to 70–80% of the population (210–240 million Americans). That goal has been trimmed to 159 million, about half the population, and production delays mean millions of Americans would have to wait till the flu season is almost over to undergo inoculation next spring. Why get vaccinated at all?
What prompted the national emergency?
Did such strong opposition to flu vaccination prompt the President to announce a contrived national emergency, which really had nothing to do with public health or saving lives, but rather whether hospitals were going to be able to collect Medicare and Medicaid payments for flu-related illness.
Will government silence opposition to vaccination?
This flu season Americans are tapping into the internet to read and listen to alternate sources of information about the flu. Sources like the National Vaccine Information Center captained by Barbara Loe Fisher, Infowars.com by Alex Jones, and Radio Liberty by Dr. Stan Monteith, have led the charge.
Then health writers Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer unleashed a scathing online article against flu vaccination in the November issue of Atlantic Magazine, a blow that could have pushed government to announce that it may shut down parts of the internet should a flu pandemic cause Americans to flood the internet
Suddenly the General Accountability Office produces a report which warns that a severe pandemic could result in massive absentee rates at work and school, which in turn, could overload the internet with Americans who decide to spend their sick time at home on the internet. Bandwidth could be limited and the internet could crash, the report alleges. But this could be a veiled attempt to shut down opposition to government’s flu vaccination program.
Hurry up, limited supply
The news media appears to be conducting a “cabbage patch doll” strategy where word of a limited supply of vaccine is being used to create a rush for the available remaining vaccine. Even that strategy doesn’t seem to be working.
Writer Maggie Fox for Reuters says “The US government may end up throwing away unused doses of swine flu vaccine if people cannot get it soon.” But even with supply, public demand appears to be waning, if it ever existed at all.
Surveys show masses of Americans are wary of the vaccine, particularly the mercury (thimerosal) used as a preservative. This prompted Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to say more single-dose vaccine, which contains less mercury, would be ordered. Even then, the FDA said it would eliminate mercury from vaccines altogether. It’s still in there.
This suggests the vaccine is being made as public demand is being gauged. There may be no real shortage, just reluctance to produce billions of dollars of flu vaccine which the public doesn’t want. A delay in the delivery of vaccines could also result in greater flu deaths in what becomes a way to panic the public into vaccination.
In past flu seasons the government and vaccine makers lost money when vaccination rates were low and unused vaccine had to be discarded. About 120 million doses were anticipated by mid-October, but only about 40 million are anticipated for delivery.
The news media is going all out to unravel its propaganda machine in support of the government’s flu agenda, but this time the public isn’t falling for the ruse as they have in past flu seasons when the vaccine didn’t even match the flu strain in circulation and single doses couldn’t even produce sufficient levels of antibodies for many people, particularly those in high-risk groups.
Writer Rebecca Ruiz of Forbes.com fudged her numbers, quoting 3000 flu-related deaths and 29,000 hospitalizations, rather than the prior figures used when the President declared a national emergency (1000 deaths and 20,000 hospitalizations over an 8-month period). Ruiz and Forbes.com claim this is “America’s worst pandemic since the 1918 flu.” But that is also a falsehood.
In fact, the worst flu outbreak since 1918 occurred in 1993 and isn’t even recorded on government timelines of flu outbreaks over the past nine decades. The 1993 flu catastrophe, which set back the life expectancy of Americans for the first time since 1918, was reported by Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports to have primarily stricken elderly nursing home patients late that year. This was the first year Medicare paid for flu shots for nursing home patients. It is obvious something very lethal was in that year’s flu shot that led to the premature demise of thousands of senior Americans.
Writer Claudia Kalb at Newsweek.com attempted to overcome what she called “flu falsehoods,” without a word that most of the misdirection and misinformation is coming from government. Kalb writes: “How do you get the facts out and combat massive misinformation on the web?”
In conjunction with news media, the federal government has unleashed a huge propaganda campaign on behalf of the vaccine makers. Newsweek reports:
“Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in partnership with the White House and other government agencies, have gone viral with online seminars (or “Webinars”), text messages, podcasts, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube. The CDC has partnered with WebMD on a flu blog written in part by a CDC medical epidemiologist. Since April, the CDC has signed up 30,000 fans and friends on Facebook and 1 million followers on Twitter, and it has sent out 244,000 flu updates to H1N1 e-mail subscribers.
HHS used Elmo for a PSA that teaches kids to sneeze into their elbows, and it funded a special episode of Sid the Science Kid, a PBS show for preschoolers, that debuted this week. The plot features Sid and his preschool buddies dancing and singing and getting their flu shots. Lyrics: “It might hurt a little, but it’s going to help a whole lot!”
But these poorly timed efforts to promote vaccination were urging Americans to hurry up with no place to go. News media continue to create the false impression that millions of Americans are waiting in line for flu shots. Nothing is further from the truth.
Not everybody agrees
A fearful and ignorant public is what news media portray. So it is particularly irksome to health authorities when pediatricians in Collier County, Florida sign a letter refusing to promote swine flu because it is “unsafe.” A spokesman for the group of doctors said: “This has been a more of a media marketing blitz than I think it’s a real medical catastrophe.”
Nor does it help sell vaccine when the Associated Press writes that 7 of 10 voters in Michigan are unsure about or opposed to flu vaccination.
Public distrust of government is growing. Just how many Americans object to the war in the Middle East and its falsehoods (“mission accomplished” and “weapons of mass destruction“), or oppose draconian changes for the funding of American healthcare, or dislike financial bailout programs for reckless American bankers, is largely unknown. If opposition to flu vaccination is any barometer, the vast majority of Americans are unwilling participants in many of the federal government’s escapades. Rejection of the flu vaccination program gives politicians a look at what they may face in the next election. It’s a massive repudiation of American government, and politicians had better take note.
Neil Barofsky, special inspector for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) where hundreds of billions of dollars have been used to bail out bankers, says the bigger cost of all this is public distrust. The public, disenchanted and with no perceivable difference between both political parties, may put up unprecedented opposition to any future government agendas, whatever they may be. Many Americans have not fallen for false assurances that flu shots are safe or effective this year as they have in the past. The American public has begun to push back, even if in a passive way to avoid government flu jabs.
This article was posted: Thursday, October 29, 2009 at 4:45 am