Flu shots can kill you and "the human body seems to be pretty good at protecting itself from naturally acquired diseases by producing its own antibodies," argues Deirdre Imus in a Daily Beast op-ed that's generating a lot of controversy today. Imus, wife of DJ Don Imus and founder of a website devoted to "environmental health," wants to warn the world that getting a flu shot can do more harm than good. The vaccine consists of a mix of three different dead flu viruses based on a best estimate about which strains will circulate each year. And that's part of the problem. Thus sprach the Imus:
Though the CDC did guess well with most of the strains circulating this year, even CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden acknowledges that the venerable flu shot is only 62 percent effective in reducing symptoms of the disease. In other words, for every 100 people who get the flu shot, 38 of them will get the flu anyway. That’s after they’ve injected themselves with dead viruses and, in most cases, preservatives made from mercury and other toxins that keep the vaccination fresh.
Thimerosal (as it’s commonly listed on the ingredients list) contains approximately 49 percent ethylmercury, and can cause impaired neurological development in children, as well as headaches, respiratory distress, and gastrointestinal damage, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"As hysterics fly," Imus advises warding off the flu by "eating lots of organic fruits and vegetables, washing your hands with nontoxic antibacterial soap, drinking plenty of fluids, exercising, and taking key supplements." We're not sure how credible Imus is, though, because there's nothing in here about beating the flu with shots of tequila, which has been working really well for us so far this year. And Kent Sepkowitz, an infectious-disease specialist, goes further, tackling what he views as the "insistently dim view of the anti-vaccine crowd" in a dueling Daily Beast op-ed headlined "Get Your Damn Flu Shot":
The anti-vaccine crowd—and the related flat-earthers like those who “disagree” with the evidence supporting global warming or who view evolution as nothing but poppycock—have adopted a very strange angle. They stand squarely on the unstable ice of the irrational and unscientific, yet come at their adversaries by accusing them of flabby science. Those who embrace evolution, the claim goes, can’t explain 100 percent of everything, therefore none of it can be true.
And Creationism therefore must be correct. They are using the tools of the rational mind—stepwise systematic review and reconsideration—to make their case while at the same time protecting a total fantasy no more of the current world than the Tooth Fairy or Pecos Bill, a construct that would (and already has) collapsed into dust under the slightest prodding from the same sort of rational inquiry.
You know a debate is getting good when the Tooth Fairy gets dragged into it! Tune in tomorrow for dueling Daily Beast op-eds about the existence of Mr. Snuffleupagus.