By Anne Dachel
The National Vaccine Information Center has an educational video about staying well and preventing the flu that is being shown as part of in-flight programming called "LifeStyle 365" aboard Delta Air Lines during the month of November.
The video is about 3 minutes long and it's full of common sense suggestions for staying healthy and avoiding the flu this year. Those suggestions include washing hands, covering your sneeze and cough, drinking water, getting enough exercise and rest, lowering stress and eating a nutritious diet.
Barbara Loe Fisher points out that when people have flu-like symptoms, "about eighty percent of the time you don't have type A or type B influenza."
The video promotes proven, natural methods for staying well and "keeping your immune system strong." It also mentions that there is a flu vaccine available. We're told that if we choose to get a a flu shot, we should "research the different types of flu vaccines your doctor may recommend."
"Don't hesitate to ask questions" when you go to your doctor. There is a manufacturer's information sheet for each vaccine which lists the ingredients and tells "who should and who should not get the vaccine."
During the educational video, no one says "Don't get a flu shot." No one says that flu vaccine is linked to autism or anything else. It's a simple common sense message about staying healthy. There is no way anyone can label this "anti-vaccine"--but some people are trying to do just that.
LeftBrain/RightBrain has come out in strong opposition to the Delta video.
Recently, NVIC has placed advertisements in the in-flight entertainment for Delta Air Lines for the holiday season. By NVIC standards, their ad is rather mild. The vaccine fear angle is not prominent, with the focus more on downplaying the need for the flu vaccine.
While LBRB attacked the NVIC for "downplaying the need for the flu vaccine," there is no mention of recent reports from US News and MSNBC that cast doubt on the effectiveness of the flu vaccine for young and old alike.
Oct 6, 2011, US News: Kids' Flu Shot Largely Ineffective Over Past Few Years
Over the past two flu seasons, vaccinating children five and younger did not reduce the number of child hospitalizations or doctor's visits linked to influenza, according to results of a new study.
Oct 26, 2011, MSNBC Study: Flu Shots Ineffective? The Older You Get, The Less Effective Flue Shots Are, Study Says
"Researchers checked out more than 40 years worth of information, and here's what they found. For adults, the study said vaccinations only work a little more than half the time."
LBRB also published a copy of a letter they say was written by someone from the American Academy of Pediatrics to Delta Airlines stating the AAP's objections to NVIC's educational video. In the letter, the "AAP" calls on Delta to remove the video. Forbes also reported on the AAP letter saying, “The AAP’s 60,000 member pediatricians urge you to remove these harmful messages, which fail to inform the public about the safety and efficacy of influenza vaccine.” I’m left to wonder if the AAP also sent a similar letter to MSNBC and to US News for the doubts they raised about how well the flu shot works.
Dave Winchester, MD is a cardiologist and a blogger with a website called "Dr. Dave.”
Winchester wrote about the Delta ad too: "The ad does have some good advice about cold season (ie: wash your hands) and some elements of truth (ie: most colds are not caused by influenza) and some reasonable advice (ie: be informed about your medical decisions). Unfortunately, however, their idea about being informed is spreading fear about 'toxins' in the vaccines as well as drawing a correlation between vaccine use and diabetes, autism, asthma, and learning disabilities."
Winchester gave his readers incorrect information about NVIC's educational video on Delta. What he told them is simply not true. There is no mention of 'toxins' in vaccines in the video and there is no mention of autism, asthma, or learning problems being linked to the flu vaccine. Anyone watching or listening to the video can attest to that.
On several websites, people are even asked to sign a petition that calls on Delta to remove NVIC's video about ways to stay healthy during the flu season:
What's most disturbing is the angry outcry by doctors and medical organizations when anyone suggests we should be aware and informed about our options for staying healthy, which includes asking questions before we get vaccinated. Why shouldn't the public be fully informed about vaccines just like we need to be fully informed about prescription drugs or any medical product that doctors are telling us to buy and use? Why should we believe that somehow, when it comes to vaccine safety and effectiveness, we should just trust blindly? Why is the principle of informed consent to vaccination a threat to public health?
If you’d like to show your support for the NVIC educational video now being shown on Delta flights, please hit “like” on the Your Tube site..