Originally Posted by Deborah
Based on the reviews, and on the fact that he takes very good precautions in terms of not coughing or sneezing on his patients, washes his hands constantly and does not work when ill, he decided to skip the vaccine. He hasn't gotten the influenza and it looks like he hasn't given the influenza to any of the folks he works with.
Dymanic, did I make the wrong choice in giving him Cochrane reviews? Why? What would have been a better source of information on the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine in a healthcare setting? Why?
I don't see how putting information in the hands of an intelligent person can ever be wrong, provided that it is not done in a way that might decieve, and with deliberate intent to do that. I strongly believe that the sort of precautions your SIL takes are at least as important in preventing the spread of flu as any vaccine, and I wish I could feel confident that such diligence was typical among healthcare workers.
We could go back and forth over Cochrane till the cows come home (and have done so before), but I'm not going to have time for that now. Briefly, I'd say that while the numbers quoted in the review you linked don't look that much different from the CDC's, the conclusions reached by the authors appear... a bit subjective. For instance:
"There is not enough evidence to recommend universal vaccination against influenza in healthy adults".
"This review found that vaccinating healthy adults not at risk of complications reduced their chances of developing flu-like illness by only a quarter.
That appears to have been written by a person who does not believe that 25% would have much impact as far as herd immunity is concerned, but I find it hard to agree.
I'll also comment on this:
"There is also high quality evidence that vaccinating healthy adults under 60 (which includes healthcare workers) reduces cases of influenza, especially if the vaccine is well matched to the circulating strains. Both the elderly in institutions and the healthcare workers who care for them could be vaccinated for their own protection, but an incremental benefit of vaccinating healthcare workers for the benefit of the elderly cannot be proven without better studies.
So... for sure, vaccinating under 60's reduces cases of flu, but whether reducing cases of flu in HCW's (the bulk of whom are presumably in the under 60 group) reduces the likelihood of them passing it on to patients "cannot be proven without better studies
". Sick people pass flu to well people; how much proof of that do we need? And, pending such proof, would it be reasonable to base vaccination policy among HCW's on the assumption that if infected with flu, they won't
pass it on to patients?
And I can't resist the temptation to toss in one more quote from that review:
"Vaccination had no reported relevant adverse effects.
Originally Posted by LongIsland
I very clearly implied that they're EXAGGERATING the threat of a H5N1 pandemic.
Now we're getting somewhere. Exaggerating
the threat then. Do you feel that they are exaggerating the likelihood
of the threat, or the projected consequences
(or both)? And (if you don't mind me asking again): why is it that you think they would want to do that?
Originally Posted by mamakay
You know they were talking about seasonal flu (the one we've all had several times) and not the pandemic that might be, right?
From the OP:
"Wondering what your thoughts are on preparing for an influenza pandemic, and about the flu vaccine.
Long Island's response:
"Part of the pandemic flu hype is designed to scare people into vaccinating for seasonal influenza.
further rendered the two inseparable as far as this thread is concerned.
|So how is this analogy in any way appropriate?
When a large body of evidence points to a looming threat, one about which there is some uncertainty, but which has the potential to cause massive suffering on a global scale, it would seem to me that those scientists who become aware of it incur a moral responsibility to bring the matter into public view. (Again in Gore's words: "Scientists have an independent obligation to respect and present the truth as they see it
.") But if it isn't an imminent
threat, getting anybody to pay attention is likely to be a difficult task. This is the challenge of risk communication. You've spoken numerous times of "risk communication" as though you viewed it as morally flawed in principle ("extremely deceptive in function"); but I don't think you really believe that, and offer the global warming analogy as a way of encouraging you to take a closer look at this inconsistency in your arguments.