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The H1N1 Conspiracy

Yesterday, I got the H1N1 vaccine. But for weeks now, I have been hearing about all the conspiracies and concerns in relation to this vaccine. Some seem perfectly rational and understandable while others are as ridiculous as the Abrahamic God.

The more ridiculous concerns about this particular vaccine deal with the evil Illuminati. Apparently, they created the decease and the vaccine so that they can infect everyone with something evil that will allow them to some how control the world in a way that all vast money and power doesn’t allow. People who believe that kind of crap need straitjackets.

Then there are those who believe that all vaccines have Thermisol in them and that Thermisol causes autism. These people are victims of misinformation and ignorance. The fact is that not all of the H1N1 vaccines have Thermisol in them. Some do and some don’t. All vaccines made for children below age 6 are required to be Thermisol-free just because the CDC has better things to do that present the actual science to hysterical parents. The fact is the Thermisol does not cause autism. This has been shown over and over again through numerous studies and even in court cases.

Bill Maher and many others are concern that the H1N1 vaccine is a symptom of larger problems. They think that our medical industry has been taken over by large corporations who only care about profit and as such, have manipulated the media into thinking that H1N1 is more dangerous then it is. They also think that the human body is better without all the drugs and unnatural chemicals that people pump into their bodies on a regular basis. And finally, they think that modern medicine tends to treat the symptoms of illness rather then the actual decease itself.

Maher’s concerns are valid concerns to some extent. The medical industry has been taken over by large corporations who care more about profit than healing people. But it is still a leap to claim that the medical industry no longer cares about healing people at all. The fact is that they make profit by healing people… for a while. More funding probably does go to treating symptoms rather than curing deceases. The media doesn’t need any manipulation to make people think that H1N1 is more deadly than it actually is. They do that on their own. But that isn’t to say that H1N1 isn’t deadly at all. It is deadly, but it is not a plague of Biblical proportions that will wipe out all life on Earth.

Maher is also correct in that most people pump themselves full of crap. The fact is that the food most people eat is not healthy. I should know; I eat the worst of it. Even our fruits and vegetables have pesticides on them. There is pollution in our air and pollution in our water. These things probably do contribute a lot to the health problems in America. But natural doesn’t always equal healthy and many times the chemicals that are put into foods can make us healthier.

But people can sometimes go in the complete opposite direction too. There are people who think that everyone needs to get every vaccine. This goes too far. While it is true that with some vaccines everyone ought to get because society needs a herd immunization so that we can kill the decease completely (like with small pox), other vaccines don’t require a herd immunity. The Chicken Pox for example is not that deadly a decease and if children get the decease while they are young they are in a sense vaccinated for life.

The seasonal flu isn’t going to go away anytime soon and it isn’t a deadly decease to most people either. Most people really don’t need the seasonal flu shot. Nor do most people need the H1N1 vaccine. But there are certain people who are recommended to get those vaccines. Children should get these vaccines because their immune systems aren’t fully developed yet and because viruses like the flu spread quickly in places like schools. Pregnant women and people over 50 should get it as well. Some people who have certain chronic medical conditions are also in the “at risk” category and should get the flu shot and the H1N1 shot. And finally, people to care for those who are in the “at risk” category should get these vaccines. That last one was the reason why I got vaccinated this year. Most years, I don’t even bother with the flu shot, but now I take care of my 8 month old son who needs to be protected.

I think people shouldn’t get every vaccine that the drug companies create and that we shouldn’t allow the media to get us terrified of the latest decease. We also shouldn’t avoid all vaccines ether. We ought to think and be judicious about the vaccines we get and the medicines we take. Not all medicines are helpful to all people. We should realize that the drug companies aren’t out to get us nor are they benevolent deities in their own right. They are people who want to help other people and who want to make a profit. Sometimes they put helping people over making a profit. Sometimes they put profits above people. Most of the time, they try to find a way to help people and make a profit at the same time.

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  • Tim

    I agree with Bill Maher on this. The flu vaccines are a money making endeavor. There is no conclusive evidence to support the claim that they will keep you free from flu. I never get the flu shot and I have not had the flu since I was in grade school. I’m 35 now. Back then they didn’t throw out flu shots like candy either and I can’t recall a mass epidemic of people dying from the flu.

    H1N1 is only popular because they gave it a catchy name that people could remember. Would you be more scared of A34B712 flu or Dog Flu? Those are completely made up, but my point is that the severity of this strain of flu is not in the flu itself, but in the marketing behind it. Yes it caused a large amount of deaths in the early 1900′s, but that was around/during the Great Depression era and medicine/healthcare has progressed quite a bit since then

    I agree that perhaps people in high risk categories should get it if they think it will help, but for the general population it’s senseless. If they think we should vaccinate against H1N1, why haven’t they vaccinated everyone against H10N7 (bird flu) as it reportedly has a mortality rate as high as 31%.

    Wash your hands, avoid big crowds, wear a face mask if you’re paranoid. It’s interesting that people claiming it’s a scam are the ones who are labeled as paranoid but people who believe that the world is being overrun by this virus aren’t?

    In closing, I love this blog. :) I try to read every day. Keep up the good work.

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      Thanks Tim, I am happy to have you as a Dangerous Talker. If you are 35 then you probably don’t need the flu vaccine. The vaccine is designed to lower the risk of flu or to lower the severity of the flu should someone still get it. It isn’t 100% perfect, but it does a pretty good job. I agree with you that there is media hype for the H1N1 and that most people don’t need the vaccine for H1N1 or the seasonal flu. Do you know who else agrees with you? The CDC. They recommend that those in the “at risk” category should get the vaccine, but that the general public can decide for themselves.

      The H1N1 flu is a concern for young children in particular. But for a 35 year old with no medical issues, I wouldn’t recommend it. I am 35 an the only reason why I go it was because I am home with my 8 month old. In past years I never bothered with the flu shot and rarely got sick.

      I do think Maher takes his position a little too far, but not as far as some of his critics seem to claim he takes it. He has been largely strawmaned on this issue but he has since gone out of his way to play into that strawman and that is a shame.

    • existential blues

      Your post is based on an anecdote (“I never get the flu”) and an complete lack of understanding of epidemology. If you think that so many people died of the Spanish flu in 1918 (long before the Great Depression…do you just make facts up as the fit your narrative?) because of poverty, then you need to explain why flu breakouts every year before and after that, INCLUDING during the Depression, had much lower mortality rates. Have you head of the Avian Influenza (H5N1, or the bird flu)? Are you familiar with its mortality rate?

      Do you understand that different strains of influenza settle in different parts of the lungs, and that some strains lead to greater incidence of pneumonia than others? No, you didn’t know that. You have plenty to say, plenty of opinions, but you know jack shit about the subject.

      I think there’s a job waiting for you in cable news.

  • Kat

    Just one correction:Chickenpox is normally a mild disease.(for children) But it can be serious and can lead to complications, especially in these high-risk groups:

    Newborns and infants whose mothers never had chickenpox or the vaccine
    Pregnant women
    People whose immune systems are impaired by medication, such as chemotherapy, or another disease
    People who are taking steroid medications for another disease or condition, such as children with asthma
    People with the skin inflammation eczema

    Chickenpox was once considered a rite of passage for most children. Before the vaccine became available, about 4 million children in the Unites States contracted chickenpox each year, and nearly 11,000 people were hospitalized and about 100 people died each year from chickenpox infections. Thanks to the vaccine, the number of cases and hospitalizations is down dramatically.
    Chickenpox is highly contagious among people who aren’t immune. Most people think of chickenpox as a mild disease — and, for most, it is. But, there’s no way to know which infected child or adult will develop a severe case.Chickenpox may also lead to pneumonia or an inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), both of which can be very serious.
    About one in 10 adults who’ve had chickenpox experiences shingles. The virus is more likely to reappear in older adults and people with weakened immune systems.
    Chickenpox early on in pregnancy can result in a variety of problems in a newborn, including low birth weight and birth defects, such as limb abnormalities. A greater threat to a baby occurs when the mother develops chickenpox in the week before birth. Then it can cause a serious, life-threatening infection in a newborn.

  • http://www.myspace.com/atheistteam The A-Team

    I’m sick of this anti-vaccine crap. Many people have access to the vaccine for free–hardly the most brilliant business model anyway. And isn’t the grocery industry also out to make a profit too? Then I guess that means we should stop eating food too? And I guess barbers are just putting magic hair-growing agents in our hair to keep us coming back. You can make up anything with this logic that because things cost money, those selling them are conspiring to get you to buy more.

    And why don’t these guys who complain that there’s no safe levels of mercury complain about all that arsenic in potatoes or the cyanide in apple cores? Nope, just the vaccines.

    There’s an exhaustive amount of literature debunking anti-vaccine claims here:

  • http://www.myspace.com/rothtalltales Tralf

    Instead of pushing vaccines, push healthy living. In response to the growing laziness of Americans, medicine, too, has become lazy. Doctors don’t ask basic health questions anymore, such as what do you eat, how you sleep and so on. They process your symptoms through a flowchart and the solution invariably is “here, take this pill.” I’ve seen the stats on H1N1, and so far, it’s less lethal than seasonal flu…but it’s killing more children. Yes, children whose mother have sealed them in a bubble and fed them antibiotics like popcorn. These kids are dying because they have no immune system. A flu shot does nothing to prevent a mutated variant from killing them, which it will. That of course will be classified as death of another color. No word of the ineffective flu shot shall be included in the report.


  • http://www.myspace.com/atheistteam The A-Team

    Healthy living is great but healthy living has no affect on the immune system. All the diet and exercise in the world is no match for flu, measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, Heb B, Hib, chcken pox, polio, etc. Viruses don’t care that you run 5 miles every day or avoid dairy.

    Doctors don’t ask basic health questions anymore? Really? That’s sort of their job. I’m pretty sure they do it over 50 or 60 hours a week. Which doctor processes your symptoms through a flowchart and simply concludes, “here, take this pill?” I’d like to know their name.

    “I’ve seen the stats on H1N1, and so far, it’s less lethal than seasonal flu”
    Nobody says otherwise. This is what we call a straw man argument. It’s not that H1N1 kills more people; it’s that its evolved enough to thrive around the world and that those people that do die from it are disproportionately under the the age of 65, otherwise healthy, and often small children and pregnant women. Otherwise healthy people don’t typically die from seasonal flu. Most deaths from seasonal flu are above the age of 65. That’s why we’re concerned.

    “A flu shot does nothing to prevent a mutated variant from killing them”
    Care to show me the studies that back up this preposterous statement?

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      Mike, I have to say that a lot of doctors don’t ask basic health questions. I recently switched doctors offices and the one I switched from I went to for 10 years. That whole time, I( never actually met my doctor and just interacted with nurse practitioners. Some were pretty good, but some weren’t. Some just prescribed me medication and sent me on my way. My new doctor at least seems more thorough, but she still just prescribed me medication that I probably don’t even need. Healthy living does lead to less illness, btw. Any doctor will tell you that.

  • Derynie

    I’m a little wishy washy on whether I’m going to get the shot or not. I have actually never had the flu before, nor have I ever been vaccinated against it. I’m taking the wait and see approach, but knowing my luck, it will get worse and they’ll run out of the vaccine.

    It costs nothing at the health clinic in my area, and my mother had to get it because she is a nurse, so I’m not afraid of a reaction to it or feeding the big Pharm companies. I’m basically just lazy. I just got over a bad cold, which made my inner scales tip in favor of getting it. We’ll see. I’m a big baby when I am sick and cannot afford to miss work right now.

  • Tim

    @ The A Team – People have access to the vaccine for free… okay, but that doesn’t mean it’s FREE. Someone ultimately pays for it. When community health clinics buy a bunch of vaccines to give out, it’s still tax dollars paying for them. Don’t mistake those as being free. The government is BUYING them as well. There are no altruistic motives when it comes to this vaccine being manufactured by pharmaceutical companies.


    There’s an interesting video to watch. The doctor reads from the actual package insert from the vaccine. Gotta love how safe and effective it sounds. :)

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      I just watched that video and I have to say that those guys are a little off the deep end. That type of fear-mongering conspiracy stuff is close to straitjacketing.

      The CDC doesn’t recommend that everyone get vaccinated from the flu or H1N1. But there are certain people who are in the “at risk” category. Those people ought to get the vaccines.

      A lot o medications (vaccines included) have a lot of scary shit on the package insert. All you have to do is read the insert for any other medication you take and you will see that it is all for legal protection in case someone has some sort of negative reaction which may occur in 1 out of a 100 million people or something.

  • Tim

    My question at this point is this: If H1N1 is so dangerous and can cause a worldwide pandemic, why were they not vaccinating against it after 1976? It didn’t just appear. With the amount of FUD that’s passed around by the news I’m inclined to believe that if it’s as bad as they make it out to be, the human race should have been nearly decimated by 1989 or so…

    It just doesn’t make sense to me. If it ends up saving some people, then that’s great. I’m just unconvinced at this point that it is as safe and effective as the media and many doctors are claiming it to be.

  • H
  • existential blues

    It has been conclusively shown that thimerosol in vaccines has nothing to do with autism. Thimersol was removed from childhood vaccines years ago, and the incidence of autism diagnoses has not decreased. Why do people still talk about thimerosol autism? Ignorance.

    There is nothing special about the H1N1 flu vaccine. It was developed in the same way, using the same culture medium, as other flu vaccines. It has been tested like other flu vaccines as well, and has been shown to be efficacious. Why do people still say that the H1N1 vaccine is untested/the work of the devil/gives them the heebie geebies? Ignorance.

    Smallpox wasn’t wiped out by praying to God. The folks who say that vaccines are ineffective never have data at hand supporting their case, although there is plenty of data from the CDC and other sources that show the effectiveness of vaccines. I wonder how that could be. It transcends ignorance. Some folks are willfully spreading misinformation.

    Because of the influence of people with their heads up their asses, childhood diseases that were until a few years ago very rare are now making a comeback (e.g., the DPT illnesses). Ignorance is not only annoying and stupid. It is destructive. What the head-up-their-ass conspiracy theorists are doing is contemptible.

  • Tim

    It’s nice that you make your point without adding insults. Okay want some facts? Since April when H1N1 first appeared (again), less than 7000 people have died from it (or complications relating to it) worldwide. Compare that number to the death rates from flu from 1979 to the present day. The seasonal flu kills over 40,000 people in the US alone each year.

    Why the hype about H1N1? Less than 7k worldwide in 7 months is nowhere near as serious as 40k+ per year in one country. The fact is, it’s blown out of proportion. And yes, some vaccines still do contain formaldehyde as well as mercury.

    People SHOULD question what the doctors and politicians say. They proven many times that they didn’t know what they were talking about. I’m not saying disbelieve everything they say…I’m saying that everyone should question it and do research.

    The reason more diseases are returning has little to do with lack of vaccinations due to “conspiracy theorists” it has to do with the overall decline of well-being. People spend less time doing physical activities and are cooped up inside more now. Food is poisoned with additives, pesticides, and bio-engineered garbage. The air is polluted, the water is full of pharmaceuticals and other chemicals. It’s no wonder people are more susceptible to disease now.

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      There is no doubt that the media has overblown the H1N1 concern. That is not the issue. And while it is true that more Americans die from the seasonal flu than H1N1, the percentage is much different. The fact is that H1N1 is more deadly percentage wise than the seasonal flu. Is it going to kill everyone? No, The media definitely overplayed that for ratings. But it is still deadly to those with a weakened immune system and those people ought to get the vaccine. Like I said in the blog, some vaccines don’t have Thermisol in them. Besides, Mercury in small doses has little to no effect on adults. Just like an apple won’t kill you even though it contains trace amounts of cyanide which is poisonous. Yet they still say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

      Like I said in the blog:
      But there are certain people who are recommended to get those vaccines. Children should get these vaccines because their immune systems aren’t fully developed yet and because viruses like the flu spread quickly in places like schools. Pregnant women and people over 50 should get it as well. Some people who have certain chronic medical conditions are also in the “at risk” category and should get the flu shot and the H1N1 shot. And finally, people to care for those who are in the “at risk” category should get these vaccines.

      If you don’t fit one of those categories, then I wouldn’t bother getting the vaccine for either flu.

  • Copyleft

    Whenever some theist tries to torture the definition of ‘religion’ or ‘worship’ to make it apply to “any strongly held position or enjoyment,” I smile to myself. Not only do they wind up looking foolish, but they’re also internalizing the notion that ‘mere religion’ is something to scorn and look down on. Their attempt to drag skepticism or atheism down to the level of another religion is an admission that it WOULD be a step down.
    And that means reason has already won.

    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      I completely agree and have made that point often.

  • Daydreamer1

    I wouldn’t even open a dictionary. When a theist says such a thing they are providing the definition they are using, namely ‘you are only doing what I am doing’.
    By using it as a type of apologetic defence they define the meaning. By using it as a defence of their theism, and as a parry to others beliefs, they define the type of defence necessary to counter the parry.
    We are devoted to a methodology, but our reasons for doing it are, as you say, because it works. The motivation is entirely different. But we do not worship it in the sense required to respond to their defence and attack. If they come at us with a ‘you are like us in regard X’ we do not need to respond to them ‘nope, not X or Y’.
    Playing devils advocate to myself though, it may be necessary in situations where they are too dim witted to understand what they have even said.
    If they want to say ‘your Not God = my God’ then perhaps a face palm is all we can do (yes, that is basically what atheism says) – and hope that some of the rest of our species can understand the mistake they have made.

  • stripeyunderpants

    Belief is the important thing in religion, and believing something is real is not the same as knowing it is real–a fact that the religious don’t seem to figure out. If they had evidence for their deity, they no longer would need to merely believe in it. Faith would fly out the window, because faith IS belief.