Opinion Column

End mandatory flu shots for B.C. workers

Bill Tieleman

By Bill Tieleman, News, Views, and Attitude – 24 hours

FOTOLIA

FOTOLIA

“Why are we vaccinating so many people in whom we have no proof that it works?” — Dr. Margaret McCartney

After the repeatedly failed effectiveness of flu shots, it’s time to end expensive mandatory flu shots or the use of masks for B.C. health workers, and end the fear campaign that benefits pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Flu shots are remarkably ineffective — just 7% protection last flu season. Influenza deaths are dramatically exaggerated, and forcing doctors, nurses and health-care workers to either have the flu shot or wear an uncomfortable, ineffective mask up to 16 hours a day is counterproductive and creates a false sense of security for patients.

And none of this is in the Jenny McCarthy anti-vaccine-conspiracy-theory category — it’s based on scientific research and government statistics.

Flu shots are a stunningly poor and expensive gamble to prevent the illness.

And last year’s flu shot was a nearly complete bust.

“I would say overall it’s signaling no protection,” Dr. Danuta Skowronski from the BC Centre for Disease Control said in January 2015 about a Canadian study on the 2014-15 flu shot.

But it’s only reached over 50% once in 10 years and last year dropped to 7%.

Fortunately, Ontario arbitrator Jim Hayes injected some common sense last year — ruling that a mandatory “vaccine or mask” policy was a “coercive tool” and “unreasonable.”

While Saskatchewan announced in reaction that flu shots or masks would be voluntary, BC Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall refused to back down.

Government continues to heavily promote getting flu shots through the use of fear-mongering by exaggerating the risk of death.

The Public Health Agency of Canada states on its website: “It is estimated that, in a given year, an average of 12,200 hospitalizations related to influenza and approximately 3,500 deaths attributable to influenza occur.”

But PHAC also says elsewhere on the same website that in the past four years the range of reported flu fatalities was 100 to 600 annually, while hospitalizations ranged from 2,000 to 8,000.

Canadians deserve the full story on flu shots — and spending massive amounts of public money on ineffective vaccines, while forcing B.C. health workers to have shots or wear masks, is simply dead wrong.

Bill Tieleman is a former NDP strategist. Read his blog at http://billtieleman.blogspot.com or Email: weststar@telus.net Twitter: @BillTieleman  

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