Interior Health challenged on flu vaccine comments

Weekly, I am asked by patients whether flu vaccines and other vaccines recommended by public health officials are effective and safe.

To the editor:

I read with interest comments by Dr. Rob Parker, with Interior Health, from an interview reported in the Capital News on Oct. 17, regarding flu vaccinations.

Weekly, I am asked by patients whether flu vaccines and other vaccines recommended by public health officials are effective and safe.

These patients wish to read the peer reviewed double blind studies done on these various vaccines to see how the study was done, the results found as well as the relationship between the authors of the study and who funded the study.

To date, I have been unsuccessful in directing them to any such credible study. I have only directed them to the National Vaccine Information Centre (www.909shot.com) as a starting point in collecting information upon which to help make a truly informed decision.

Parker is quoted in the article as saying, “There are many myths and misconceptions about the flu shot so it’s important for people to get accurate information.”

I agree completely with him. Parker is also quoted saying, “Flu vaccinations are a proven, safe and effective way to reduce your chances of getting the flu,” and also, “The flu shot is anywhere from 60 to 90 per cent effective in preventing influenza…”

I would appreciate Mr. Parker writing a reply to my letter listing the studies supporting these comments so that the interested readership can read these studies and I can have a resource reference for my patients.

Dr. Dale Forsythe, Kelowna

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