To the editor:
All health care providers are expected to be exposed to germs on a daily basis. MRSA, TB, C.difficile, gastro/ intestinal viruses and many more. While many health care providers have said no to the controversial influenza vaccine, we are disciplined with having to wear a mask under the disguise it will keep the elderly population from receiving the flu virus from you.
That’s a lie.
Dr. Tom Jefferson works for Cochrane reviewa. The reviews are comprehensive studies summing up what is known about the effectiveness and harms of an intervention—it is never funded by industry and the whole process is publicly open for anyone to see and comment on.
Jefferson was involved for the past two decades in periodic updating of Cochrane reviews on influenza vaccines I. Children, healthy adults, the elderly and health care workers who care for sick people. He carried out a review on 270 influenza vaccine studies on all types of populations published from the 1940s up to 2007 and found near universal poor methodological quality. He also found that pharma-funded studies were more likely to be published in the top journals and more often quoted than their non-pharma counterparts.
In a letter dated Nov. 2, 2012 (The Vancouver Sun), Jefferson states: “Dr. Perry Kendall, the provincial health officer for B.C., misquotes our work suggesting that our Cochrane review in healthcare workers, reports that vaccinating healthcare workers protects patients from influenza, pneumonia (a complication from influenza), doctor’s visits, hospitalizations and even death.”
Jefferson states: “our 2010 review concludes no such thing.” He reports that no effect of the influenza vaccine was detectable on influenza and its complications such as death. In the elderly and frail death occurs for a variety of causes completely unrelated to influenza.
Jefferson says: “it is not my place to judge the policies currently underway in British Columbia, but coercion and forcing public ridicule on human beings (for example by forcing them to wear distinctive badges or clothing) is usually the practice of tyrants.
Because I and many co-workers will not have the flu shot, we are being forced to wear a distinctive mask.
Children cannot volunteer in care facilities without the flu vaccine or wearing a mask.
This is not freedom.
As the vaccine program expands there is no big decline in viruses. I have been working in a care facility for almost eight years, in all that time no one has ever gotten the flu. In my 54 years I have never gotten the flu, many people I know have never gotten the flu.
Influenza is respiratory, it is not vomiting and diarrhea. There are also many viruses that are called influenza-like, meaning you might feel like you have the flu but without a blood test no one will know.
Take vitamin D, wash your hands frequently, eat a low sugar diet, get fresh air and exercise—you probably won’t get the flu.
Michele Mader, Kelowna