When I was growing up, we were taught four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, winter. Lasting 3 months each, they make up our year. At some point in time, the medical and the advertising industry created a new season. They call it the Flu Season. Starting in October and lasting well into spring, a better term to use for those months of the year is Flu Shot Season.
Even earlier, depending on where you live, this man-made season begins with signage. Never advertising simple tips—like hand washing, avoiding contact with others while feeling under the weather, or covering sneezes—Flu Shot Season advertising goes into full force around the time that school begins. Steadily increasing during the holidays, the advertising becomes more in-your-face. So do the monetary incentives for flu shot consumers.
A quick internet search of “flu shot incentives” and “flu shot freebies” brings listing upon listing of how to cash in on free or reduced products. How this is ethical is beyond me. We’re not usually offered $5 off of groceries for other medical procedures, like for allergy testing or testicular cancer screenings; why, then, just for vaccines?
Flu shot sign images source: Google
No matter when, and no matter how many signs are placed or how many commercial spots are aired, the flu shot has, once again, received failing marks. Straight from the CDC’s mouth, this year’s flu shot has been reported as ineffective.
Even with that news, advertising continues. It’s push, push, push that failed shot one more Flu Shot Season in a row. If any of my children come home with academic scores similar to the yearly efficacy—or better said, the inefficacy—of the flu shot (“Adjusted Overall VE %” column), my eyebrows would be raised. My patience would be worn thin. My head would be spinning, and you know that there will be tons of questions – why is your average so low? Did you miss class that day? Were you goofing off? Did you forget your book? Notes? To study? My children know that they are responsible for their studies and that consequences follow low scores. That doesn’t seem to be the case for the US vaccine program’s watchdogs.
Parents will usually hold their children to high standards. Employers hold their employees to high standards. Why, then, does the public, not hold the CDC to similar standards especially where our health is concerned? Instead of our nation’s “premier public health agency” scrapping that vaccine, and others that seem to be waning in efficacy, we continue to be bombarded with propaganda. Even though the flu shot efficacy is nowhere near 100%—and in fact equivalent to failing grades—the medical and healthcare industry brazenly push their flu-shot agenda. Insurance companies loudly chime in, too.
Image: Envelopes from insurance companies, representing one month’s worth of Ronan’s explanation of benefits
Sometimes the agenda steps over the line and becomes relentless, insolent indoctrination. A recent egregious example comes from a dermatologist whose corporate title is director of health care transformation. His approach easily falls under a “Grab them, stab them” mentality, an approach that completely dismisses a basic element of patient care as well as patient respect. If my child spoke to me like that dermatologist is encouraging his peers to speak to their patients, there would be hell to pay.
But what are patient needs in the face of financial gain? Vaccines most certainly can and do bring in a profit. (image below) When that happens, the patient becomes a cash cow and is therefore no longer a human worth an ounce of the medical establishment’s respect.
We’re in a world where fear tactics and medical bullying have become the norm. I know it’s not the case in every clinic, but as a patient when I read articles like the ones I’ve read recently about the flu shot, no longer are my patients’ rights considered. No longer is my family’s care a top priority. No longer is the provider’s bedside manner positive or supportive. It’s demand, demean, and deny that anything can go wrong or is wrong.
The flu shot is deemed effective in the CDC’s eyes and in the opinion of its myriad supporters, especially those that benefit financially. So expect during this Flu Shot Season to be bombarded with new propaganda, more tempting incentives, and further insults … but don’t hold your breath waiting for those efficacy scores to improve. Fixing a failing vaccine doesn’t seem a priority at all.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.