Flu vaccine stance is dangerous

This letter comes in response to a Nov. 3 letter to the editor in which the author offers seemingly genuine medical advice cautioning the reader of the dangers of influenza immunization. Rather than get an annual flu shot, which the vast majority of medical professionals in the world agree is the best way to prevent flu, the author suggests rather, “get yourself adjusted by your chiropractor.”

In addition to being extremely dangerous, I find this recommendation to be quite self-serving, as the author clearly identifies himself as a chiropractor.

Influenza kills around 30,000 people every year, typically pregnant women, the elderly and the very young. It is clear in the scientific literature the flu vaccine is not 100 percent effective for everyone as the author points out. Few widely used medical treatments are, yet we accept them without cavalier skepticism because we trust our physicians to do no harm. I would challenge the author to cite peer-reviewed research demonstrating the benefits of chiropracty in preventing influenza.

The fact is the benefits of the flu vaccine far outweigh the potential for harm. Mountains of scientific research has shown that not only is annual flu vaccine effective at preventing flu, it also significantly decreases the risk of deadly bacterial pneumonia, which the author opines as effectively treatable with “parenteral antibiotics,” while in the same breath decrying “you cannot inject health.” As with any medical treatment, it is true there are potential side effects which should be discussed with your doctor.

I too would encourage the reader to make informed medical decisions. One of the best ways to collect medical information is from your family or primary care doctor where you’ll likely learn that nearly all persons, age 6 months and older, should receive an annual flu vaccine.

Patrick Burke