By J.B. Handley
“The belief that you can inform and warn people, and get them to take appropriate actions or precautions with respect to a health threat or risk without actually making them anxious or concerned. This is not possible…This is like breaking up with your boyfriend without hurting his feelings. It can’t be done.”
- Glen Nowak, Director of Communications, Centers for Disease Control, Presentation at the 2004 Vaccine Summit
Man, did I get played by the CDC. It was the winter of 2003. You couldn’t turn on the T.V. without reading about another child dying from the flu: it’s a particularly bad strain, children are at high risk, flu shot supply is strained, get your child vaccinated while you still can!
And, we were listening closely. For my oldest son, turning 4 and healthy, we weren’t too worried. But for my younger son, our baby Jamison, at 15 months old, we were very concerned. He was sick all the time. This could be a real problem for him. They are talking about death here, and Jamison seems to qualify as high risk.
Vaccine supplies were really, really tight. I spent a whole day at work just trying to find shots, called every doctor friend I knew. We finally pulled some strings, found a doctor with just a handful of extra shots. We made the simple decision: I wouldn’t get a shot, my wife and older son would get one shot each, but we’d give Jamison the shot and the booster. He was, after all, at risk.
The first shot was in December. Our Christmas videos that year show a very-NT Jamison -- excited about Santa’s arrival and closely tied to his older brother. The booster was in January.
By March, Jamison was gone.
Mr. Nowak’s presentation offers a “recipe” for generating demand for both flu vaccine and all vaccines, a 7-step process he encourages health authorities to go through. He notes:
“Vaccination demand, particularly among people who don’t routinely receive an annual influenza vaccination, is related to heightened concern, anxiety, and worry.”
Mr. Nowak even counts the number of mentions of things like “Flu kills 36,000 per year.” (He notes it was mentioned 200 times between Sep 21-27, 2003.) Pictures of children who have died can be particularly motivating, he notes.
Our own press seems to play along, simply regurgitating what our health authorities tell them. Where’s the skepticism? Interestingly, the British Medical Journal was very critical of these scare tactics employed by CDC. In THIS article, they noted:
“US data on influenza deaths are a mess. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledges a difference between flu death and flu associated death yet uses the terms interchangeably. Additionally, there are significant statistical incompatibilities between official estimates and national vital statistics data. Compounding these problems is a marketing of fear - a CDC communications strategy in which medical experts "predict dire outcomes" during flu seasons.”
A separate British Medical Journal article questioned whether or not the flu vaccine even works:
"Evidence from systematic reviews shows that inactivated vaccines [flu vaccines] have little or no effect on the effects measured. Little comparative evidence exists on the safety of these vaccines. Reasons for the current gap between policy and evidence are unclear, but given the huge resources involved, a re-evaluation should be urgently undertaken... The optimistic and confident tone of some predictions of viral circulation and of the impact of inactivated vaccines, which are at odds with the evidence, is striking."
I’ll pull one snippet out of that excerpt that I’m particularly struck by: “Little comparative evidence exists on the safety of these vaccines.”
Safety? Comparative evidence?
Ask Glen Nowak – those are NOT part of the Playbook.
JB Handley is Co-founder of Generation Rescue.