“Experts” pass the buck on another bungled flu shot

I grew up in a time when adults were expected — and children were taught — to take responsibility for their actions, whether they were good or bad.

So needless to say, the deflection of blame that’s so prevalent in today’s society saddens me. Especially when I see it coming from parties that should really know better…

The latest example: Some experts are saying that the anti-vaccine lobby hijacked this year’s flu vaccine messaging. And, they claim, these vocal skeptics are the reason we were hit with one of the worst flu seasons on record.

I couldn’t come up with a more absurd excuse if I tried. But in the interest of exposing some real “fake news,” let’s hear these people out — starting with some of the CDC’s most recent flu data.

According to their numbers, this year registered the flu-related deaths of an additional 22 children, with mortality rates hovering close to 10 percent. (Which puts this season’s flu outbreak well into epidemic territory.) Efficacy data also reported that just over a quarter of flu-related pediatric deaths were in kids who had received the vaccine.

Let me repeat: Roughly 25 percent of all the children who died in this latest flu epidemic were indeed vaccinated.

And yet, there are doctors out there who want to say that health officials didn’t do enough to get ahead of anti-vaccine activists. And that the resulting lack of visibility undermined this year’s campaign to publicize the importance of annual flu vaccines.

Talk about passing the buck. What more, pray tell, could the pro-vaccine people have done? In New York City, you could practically get the flu vaccine on every street corner. I don’t know about your town, but that’s all anyone was talking about here…

Yet, some “expert” from Houston says people died because they didn’t get the message… and we’re actually supposed to believe that?!

I know it’s a shot in the dark, but… how about the fact that this year’s flu vaccine just plain didn’t work?! In fact, it was a mere ten to 25 percent effective against the most deadly flu strain that was going around.

At best, that’s half as effective as the vaccine usually is against flu infection. (Which, frankly, doesn’t say much for the flu shot on a good year, either.) How, exactly, are the anti-vaccine crusaders responsible for this major screw up?

I’ll tell you: They aren’t. 

Vaccine developers bet on the wrong strain for this year’s shot. It’s as simple as that. And it happens all the time — which is one of the main reasons I’m opposed to the flu shot in the first place.

This year, the consequences were particularly devastating, with infection approaching numbers we haven’t seen since the 2009 pandemic. But it’s certainly not my community’s fault.

Please remember that getting the flu shot does not mean you won’t get the flu. It’s a helping hand, at best, that can lessen the duration of the time in which you experience symptoms. Each year’s flu shot is dependent upon the strain of flu that happens to be prevalent, and more specifically, whether the vaccine covers that strain.

So no flu vaccine is ever going to be 100 percent effective. On a really good year, it might be 65 percent effective—but that’s about it. And this year’s vaccine?

Well, here are some numbers, broken down by age: The shot was 59 percent effective in patients eight years old and younger. It was 33 percent effective in adults aged 18 to 49. And it was not significantly effective at all in patients aged 9 to 17 years, or in patients aged 50 years and older.

This isn’t anti-vaccine propaganda. It’s just the plain truth. As always, you are free to draw your own conclusions.