NVIC Vaccine News

Expert Says Influenza Vaccine Marketing Misrepresents Facts

By Patrice LaVigne
Published June 25, 2013 in Industry & Business

Let’s be honest. Today’s alarming headlines about infectious diseases are enough to convince anyone to voluntarily live in a bubble. A few scary headline examples: “2 new diseases – H7N9 and coronavirus – could both spark global outbreaks,”1 “Pandemic fears after swine flu virus is found in seals for the first time,”2 “Officials Prepare For Another Flu Pandemic – Just In Case.”3

It is no wonder people are getting fed up with the scare tactics. One expert recently got so tired of the aggressive promotion of influenza vaccines that he called out U.S. public health agencies for engaging in disease mongering and misleading marketing.

Peter Doshi, a postdoctoral fellow in comparative effectiveness research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, published an article in British Medical Journal on May 16, 2013 about hyping exaggerated risks of influenza, the disease, to market influenza vaccines.

Doshi notes that the message from public health officials is that “influenza is a serious disease, we are all at risk of complications from influenza, the flu shot is virtually risk free, and vaccination saves lives.” Doshi points out that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in their campaign for universal influenza vaccination, the “influenza vaccine can only do good; there is no need to weigh risks against benefits.”

Doshi’s point is that there are proven risks with influenza vaccines and the studies surrounding influenza and its vaccine are “of low quality” and do not match what officials claim. The main studies the CDC uses to substantiate its influenza vaccine recommendations are observational and are a “product of the ‘healthy-user effect,’” meaning healthy people are more likely to receive an influenza vaccine and less likely to experience death or illness because they are healthy.

“For those that bother to read the CDC’s national guidelines – a 68 page document of 33,360 words and 522 references – one finds that the evidence cited is these observational studies that the agency itself acknowledges may be undermined by bias,” said Doshi while noting that reliable studies, especially randomized trials, are either unpublished or inaccessible.

Another fact that Doshi brings up is that most “flu-like illness” is not type A or B influenza. In fact, he said “only one in six ‘flus’ might be influenza,” so marketing the influenza vaccine as the flu shot is misrepresented.4 5

His main message—and this is true for all vaccines—do your homework. Be your own detective and make your own well informed vaccine decisions.


4. Doshi P. Influenza: marketing vaccine by marketing diseaseBritish Medical Journal. 2013;346.
5. Expert questions US public health agency advice on influenza vaccinesBritish Medical Journal press release. May 16, 2013. 

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14 Responses to "Expert Says Influenza Vaccine Marketing Misrepresents Facts"
Commenter Name
Posted: 6/25/2013 12:50:31 PM
Living in a bubble is probably the solution. Shut down TV and radio, cancel your papers subscriptions. I've done that and I'm living much better not being exposed to constant marketing crap for anything and everything and wasting time watching the "ask your doctor if these chemicals are right for you", while I know that besides my bicycle no drug is right for me unless I'm about to die otherwise. That includes the preventative drugs that vaccines are of course. I get to pick and chose what I want to learn about and it's so much better.
Commenter Name
Posted: 6/25/2013 1:29:04 PM
I have never had a flu shot and I never get the flu. (I am 68.)
Commenter Name
Posted: 6/25/2013 2:32:17 PM
My son is still suffering from the effects of GBS 2 years after the flu shot. Please take the time to understand how devastating this illness can be and if you are at risk before you are injected.
Commenter Name
Marilyn Bellantoni
Posted: 6/25/2013 7:11:11 PM
Living a healthy lifestyle that supports your immune system is a much better strategy for flu prevention.
Commenter Name
Emanuel Roman
Posted: 6/25/2013 9:27:21 PM
Ive had the Flu twice in my life, at 15 and at 33. My immune system worked wonders then and now at 56. I do not take flu shots under any conditions called for by CDC , FEDS or anyone relayed to pharma or government.
Commenter Name
Emanuel Roman
Posted: 6/25/2013 9:29:18 PM
Ive had the Flu twice in my life, at 15 and at 33. My immune system worked wonders then and now at 56. I do not take flu shots under any conditions called for by CDC , FEDS or anyone related to pharma or government.
Commenter Name
Posted: 6/25/2013 9:52:54 PM
There is one good reason to read all the hype about vaccines and that is to keep up with all the propaganda and know what reasons will be used to try to con you into getting vaccinated and buying numerous pharmaceuticals. If you know the marketing tactics, you can plan how to defend against it. I work in healthcare, with almost zero patient contact and every year I have to defend against the influenza vaccine, and when I change jobs I have to argue with half-trained infectious disease nurses about why I do not need any more "boosters." Rather than terrorizing healthcare workers about how they MIGHT get sick and MIGHT infect a patient (even if they are an accounting clerk working in a city 30 miles away from any patients), the Flu Police should patrol areas where patients are and tell any health care worker with symptoms of communicable diseases to GO HOME NOW. I encounter fully vaccinated nurses several times a year who have reported to work with coughs, fevers, runny noses and other signs of obvious illness, and they actually have physical contact with patients. There is no money in this sort of prevention, but it's effective. Tell a friend. Especially if they should be home in bed instead of coughing all over innocent bystanders.
Commenter Name
Posted: 6/25/2013 10:10:42 PM
There is ZERO trust in information coming from doctors, government, big pharma. It's all about the money and they DO NOT give dam about the health of the general public.
Commenter Name
Dr Fuller
Posted: 6/26/2013 5:40:23 AM
Try boosting your immune system which God gave us. One spinal adjustment boosts immune system and has been proven with regular and consistent care to boost it over 300%. Every person on the planet should be receiving regular adjustments. We should be mandating proven systems that boost the body naturally instead of outside-in pharmakia. By the way the word pharmakia means witchcraft and that is where they get the word pharamaceuticals. No wonder there is a snake on the ambulance!
Commenter Name
Mary Elliot
Posted: 6/26/2013 11:29:33 AM
I am in my 80Th year on planet earth and have never had a flu shot. Plenty of exercise, a wise diet, never smoked, plenty of sunshine & music, grand family & friends helps also.
Commenter Name
Dr. Smith
Posted: 6/27/2013 7:40:11 AM
Louis Pasteur, " In matters of sickness and health the most important factor is the resilience of the host terrain, rather than the invading organism."
Commenter Name
Posted: 10/2/2013 12:27:11 PM
I have Fibromyalgia and have gotten the flu shot once because of where I was working at the time....never again! It kicked up my FM symptoms and I was down and out for 6 weeks. Every year doctors, pharma, & the government warn us that we need the flu shot or else...and all of this hoohaa is driven by the unrelenting media. Are any of these reliable or truthful sources.....not in my book. It's all about control and the almighty dollar!!!!
Commenter Name
Posted: 11/8/2013 3:42:28 PM
i was turned down a job at a good hospital that I needed but I refuse to get all the vaccines they want me to, including the hyped up "flu vaccine" ie money maker for big pharma i saw a vid of a woman where she folded and didn't want to get the shot but gave in anyway for her paycheck. it's precisely these weak willed poeople the gov't preys upon. I'll be homeless and on the street before they tell me what I can or cannot do with my body. I wish others stood up for their beliefs for once and we stood united, instead of divided, another tactic the gov't employs to keep us at odds with each other instead of questioning the source of the real BS
Commenter Name
Posted: 12/19/2013 11:33:44 AM
I am a registered nurse employed at a pubic health clinic in Il. As I am learning/experiencing more regarding vaccines, I am becoming quite concerned for the public whose trust I am endowed with. I have not even been allowed to bring any vaccine issues up at our staff meetings. I have been told that my job is to promote vaccines. I respond that my job as an RN is to be a patient advocate, not a CDC or Big Pharma advocate. When I am asked by a parent whether I would give HPV (for example) to my child I decisively state NO. I may lose my job, but I feel I am needed to possibly open others minds up regarding these vaccines.

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