Well, we can’t seem to stop covering H1N1, there is just so much woo involved.
Lately I have noticed some anti-vax stories in the Vancouver press regarding H1N1 and that’s driving me nuts. The Vancouver Sun, the Province and the Georgia Straight have all published questionable articles, with The Province as the worst offender. (The normally woo-filled Georgia Straight has been pretty quiet on the subject as of late). One minute they are posting excellent articles on the risks of H1N1 and why you should get vaccinated
…and next you find an opinion piece containing little to no facts that reinforce some of the dangerous myths about the flu vaccine. Opinion pieces are for politics, philosophy, and art. When it comes to science, the facts rule. Printing stories based on unsubstantiated facts is just bad journalism, and in this case it’s dangerous. Journalists should be dispelling these myths, not spreading them.
No wonder people are confused about getting the flu shot with all of the mixed messages out there. Here are some doozies:
The Vancouver Sun:
Column: Swine flu shot? Not for this little piggy
The Georgia Straight:
Homeopathy offers an alternative for the flu
Besides the substantial risks that H1N1 pose, there is a bigger danger here. The antivax movement is gaining ground in the H1N1 debate, because people feel like the flu is not dangerous. As they use H1N1 to sow the seeds of fear around vaccines, people will start thinking twice about vaccinating their children from more serious diseases. We need to nip these myths in the bud, and make it clear that vaccinating comes with very small risks compared to the diseases they protect against.
Take a look at the flu stories in your local media. If they aren’t up to snuff, send a letter to the editor, comment on the website with facts, encourage friends to check out reliable sources for the facts on the H1N1 vaccine. Swine flu is now a preventable disease….let’s do what we can to slow the spread of this pandemic and prevent as many deaths as we can.
Or, check out the facebook page: H1N1 Vaccine – Get the Facts