‘We were scared’: How the media’s focus on ‘vaccine crisis’ is misleading and dangerous
TORONTO – The media’s fixation on the “virus pandemic” has put them in the position of asking “what are the possible side effects of our vaccination programs?”, a CBC News/Radio-Canada article from November 21, 2017, says.
“We were frightened that we might see a pandemic,” says Dr. Andrew Hickey, director of the University of Toronto’s Centre for Health Systems Research.
“But we don’t see a spike in influenza, we don.
We see a drop in cases.”
It’s an observation made by Dr. John Laidler, an infectious disease specialist at the University Of Ottawa, who says the media is often overly focused on the potential side effects.
“It’s all about the numbers, the numbers that are out there, but not the people who are experiencing the adverse effects,” he says.
Laidlers research on the pandemic found that while people who received the flu vaccine had lower rates of complications and deaths, it was also not enough to keep the pandemics tide from spreading.
Hickey says the fear of an influenza pandemic is misplaced.
“What the public is really concerned about is the possible flu-related side effects that could come about because they get the vaccine.
It’s not that we don, it’s that we aren’t seeing them.”
The Canadian Flu Vaccine Initiative has been a key part of the response to the pandestres, but Dr. Haney says there’s also a broader reason why the public and government are taking a cautious approach to vaccination.
“They are concerned about a virus outbreak, but they are not worried about the number of people who will get the flu, or the number who will die from the flu,” he explains.
“The public is worried about potentially causing a pandemesis.”
What to know about the flu: Hickey points out that the current number of flu cases is lower than it was in 2015.
But that number is still a far cry from the 6 million cases that the pandemaker of 1918, the flu.
“That’s the number we’re talking about now,” he said.
“This pandemic, if you take out all the years that we had an epidemic, this is a pandemaker event.”
Influenza deaths were also down by more than half compared to the year before.
The flu is spreading globally, but there is no vaccine yet, so the only thing to do is be vigilant.
But as the flu season approaches, Hickey believes the public should not expect flu-like symptoms.
“People need to be extremely cautious and to be vigilant in their use of all the measures that are available to them,” he notes.
“In general, they need to use common sense and to follow these precautions that are put in place, even if that means having to wait for the flu shot.
If you’re not vaccinated, don’t panic.”