Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Mandatory Flu Shots for EMS? First do no harm?

Greg Friese asks Influenza Vaccination: Is it Our Duty?

He has a poll, but before you take the poll, listen to the following podcast by an infectious disease doctor.

The ERCast – Dr. Rob Orman interviewing Dr. Mark Crislip about vaccination for influenza –
Mark Crislip on Vaccines and Why You Should Get a Flu Shot

Dr. Crislip points out the flaws in the excusesc of the people who do not want to get the flu shot. Here is the first of 12. Go read the rest.

1. The vaccine gives me the flu. Dumb Ass.

It is a killed vaccine. It cannot give you the influenza. It is impossible to get flu from the influenza vaccine.

Did Mary Mallon have a duty to avoid cooking for others?

She didn’t feel sick, so she didn’t think that she could make anyone else sick.

One of the places where she worked as a cook was a hospital.

By simply cooking food for people, she passed typhoid to dozens of people and two of those people died of typhoid.

She felt fine. She did not think that there was any reason for her to change her behavior because of some doctors.

Mary Mallon refused to see any connection between her work and the transmission of illness.


Part of the New York American article of June 20, 1909, which first identified Mary Mallon as “Typhoid Mary.” Photo Credit: New York County Clerk Archives

Many health care workers claim not to see any connection between working with patients during our asymptomatic, but highly infectious prodromal period of influenza infection; that delay between the start of our ability to infect others with influenza and the start of influenza symptoms; and development of fatal influenza complications by the already sick patients we care for.

Why is it too much to ask us to get a flu shot?

Like Mary Mallon (Typhoid Mary), some of us think that we will not make others sick if we do not feel sick.

Unlike Mary Mallon, we have some medical education.

When Mary Mallon started giving fake names in order to get work as a cook, she could no longer claim that she did not know she was dangerous.

What’s our excuse?

Immunize by ZDoggMD

CDC estimates that from 2010-2011 to 2013-2014, influenza-associated deaths in the United States ranged from a low of 12,000 (during 2011-2012) to a high of 56,000 (during 2012-2013). Death certificate data and weekly influenza virus surveillance information was used to estimate how many flu-related deaths occurred among people whose underlying cause of death on their death certificate included respiratory or circulatory causes. For more information, see Estimating Seasonal Influenza-Associated Deaths in the United States [dead link] and CDC’s Disease Burden of Influenza page.[1]

We do need better evidence of the amount of transmission of influenza by medical personnel to our patients, but it is not reasonable to assume that it does not happen.

My freedom ends when I begin to harm others. When I harm others by avoiding a shot (or nasal spray) that is a minor inconvenience, I am not exercising any kind of due regard for my patients.

We work with some of the sickest patients – the ones going to the emergency department, often from nursing homes.

These patients are not just vulnerable to the influenza complications that have killed 3,000 to 49,000 people a year over the past 31 years, but they may be too sick to be vaccinated. They depend on others to be vaccinated to protect them. These are our parents and grandparents. they may be veterans who served our country or people who never fought in any war, but they depend on us to protect them.

If you haven’t already, go listen to the ER Cast – Dr. Rob Orman interviewing Dr. Mark Crislip about vaccination for influenza –

Mark Crislip on Vaccines and Why You Should Get a Flu Shot

Updated 00:15 10/04/2012 – Thank you to Dr. Brooks Walsh of Mill Hill Ave Command and Doc Cottle’s Desk for the correct link for the podcast.


[1] Summary of the 2017-2018 Influenza Season
How many people died from flu during the 2017-2018 season?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Web page


Edited 11/22/2019 to replace dead links. Unfortunately, there is a dead link in the new text, but there weren’t any links in the replaced text. The old information was to a link that is no longer available. The original text and footnote with the dead link are below:

CDC estimates that from the 1976-1977 season to the 2006-2007 flu season, flu-associated deaths ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. Death certificate data and weekly influenza virus surveillance information was used to estimate how many flu-related deaths occurred among people whose underlying cause of death was listed as respiratory or circulatory disease on their death certificate.[1]


[1] How many people die from seasonal flu each year in the United States?
Estimating Seasonal Influenza-Associated Deaths in the United States: CDC Study Confirms Variability of Flu
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Web page


One Injection (Flu Shot Anthem) from ZDoggMD

Do we need some singing doctors to help convince us that the flu shot is an important way to protect ourselves and those around us from the flu?

ZDoggMD has the answer –

So we’re hoping that this video raises awareness about the importance of our seasonal influenza vaccination. Myths about flu shot, dispelled:

Flu Shot Causes Flu: nope. Inactivated viral fragments in the vaccine don’t cause the flu. The virus is deader than Tupac, yo. You may get some localized soreness and low grade fever/muscle aches from the immune response to the vaccine (a good thing), but that ain’t flu. Like any vaccine, there are rare severe side effects, but the benefits of mass vaccination outweigh these by far.

Flu Shot Don’t Work: untrue. Flu shot is an effective way to produce complete or partial immunity to the covered influenza strains. Obviously, no vaccine is 100% effective, but even a partially effective vaccine has huge benefits when we’re talking about something nasty that can be prevented, like the flu.

I Don’t Get Sick, So I Ain’t Gettin’ the Shot: OK, and I bet your s**t don’t stink either, smarty pants! Up to 50% of people with documented influenza viral infection have no symptoms. Yet they can in theory spread the virus to our most vulnerable, like little kids and the elderly. So vaccinate yourself, because it’s about Community Immunity![1]

Maybe we need a bit more of the kind of information that an infectious disease specialist would provide.

Dr. Mark Crislip provides excellent unbiased information about vaccines.[2]

Dr. Crislip is entertaining and very informative.

What we do not need is advice from the fraud known as Andrew Wakefield –


This is what a fraud looks like.

An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes the study’s author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study — and that there was “no doubt” Wakefield was responsible.

“It’s one thing to have a bad study, a study full of error, and for the authors then to admit that they made errors,” Fiona Godlee, BMJ’s editor-in-chief, told CNN. “But in this case, we have a very different picture of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data.”[3]

Why do people listen to this dishonest and unethical person?

Because their beliefs are more important than reality.

We want to protect our children, but listening to dangerous people is a bad idea.

Andrew Wakefield, who has been stripped of his medical license and should be reported to the police if he is seen practicing medicine, is largely responsible for the scare tactics about vaccines.

According to BMJ, Wakefield received more than 435,000 pounds ($674,000) from the lawyers.[3]

Andrew Wakefieled received hundreds of thousands of pounds for his lies.

Money from lawyers who want to create the impression of harm, so they can sue.


[1] One Injection (Flu Shot Anthem)
August 20, 2012
By ZDoggMD
Article and YouTube

[2] QuackCast 45. A review of the the alleged side effects of the third greatest invention of all time. After clean water and the flush toilet. This is a re-recording of a lecture I gave to the Portland OFR and CFI.

Slides of the talk can be downloaded from this page as KEY or PPT files.

Page with links to all podcasts as mp3 downloads

[3] Retracted autism study an ‘elaborate fraud,’ British journal finds
By the CNN Wire Staff
January 5, 2011 8:14 p.m. EST


The Importance of Booster Shots for Whooping Cough

A free vaccination clinic for emergency responders will be held on Friday, April 27th from 12:30 – 3:00 PM at Brookhaven Municipal Building in Brookhaven, Pennsylvania.

Whooping cough (pertussis) immunity wears off, so booster shots are important. It does not matter if the immunity is from a vaccine or from having the disease, both forms of immunity to whooping cough wear off.

With the popularity of the anti-science propaganda, a lot of people are avoiding vaccines, or delaying vaccines out of some misguided attempt to protect their children from adverse vaccine events. Reactions to vaccines are much more rare than the illnesses they protect against. The adverse events from vaccines are much less serious than the illnesses.

Compared with older children and adults, infants aged <12 months have substantially higher rates of pertussis and the largest burden of pertussis-related deaths. Since 2004, a mean of 3,055 infant pertussis cases with more than 19 deaths has been reported each year through the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (CDC, unpublished data, 2011). The majority of pertussis cases, hospitalizations, and deaths occur in infants aged ≤2 months, who are too young to be vaccinated; therefore, other strategies are required for prevention of pertussis in this age group.[1]

The majority of pertussis cases, hospitalizations, and deaths occur in infants aged ≤2 months, who are too young to be vaccinated

If we really want to protect our children from illnesses, the best way is to use vaccines.

The way for police, fire, and EMS to protect children from whooping cough is for all of us to get booster shots. Just because a parent does not immunize a child does not mean that it is acceptable for us to transmit pertussis to the unvaccinated child. Illnesses may also prevent some children from being vaccinated. This protects our children, our friends’ children, as well as any other children we have contact with, not just our patients.

Delaware County Pennsylvania is offering free vaccination for police, fire, and EMS this Friday.

Good Afternoon –

I am pleased to provide you with the attached flier pertaining to an upcoming FREE vaccination event geared toward Delaware County Emergency Responders being sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Delaware County Council. This vaccination clinic will be held on Friday, April 27th from 12:30 – 3:00 PM at Brookhaven Municipal Building.

This event is intended to offer our Emergency Responders access to the Tdap (Tetanus/diphtheria/acellular pertussis) vaccination which protects adults against three serious vaccine-preventable diseases caused by bacteria. Diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) are spread from person-to-person. Tetanus enters the body through cuts, scratches or wounds. Adults 19 years and older should receive a single dose of Tdap to replace one Tetanus booster.

I would greatly appreciate it if you would please share this flier with your respective Emergency Responder constituents in an effort to encourage their participation in this event. Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions or concerns.

Thanks so much!


Maureen Hennessey Herman, Ed.D.
Delaware County Intercommunity Health Coordination
201 West Front Street
Media, PA 19063
Phone: 610-891-5311
Fax: 610-891-5375

Brookhaven Municipal Center
2 Cambridge Rd # 100
Brookhaven, PA 19015
Address on Google Maps


[1] Updated Recommendations for Use of Tetanus Toxoid, Reduced Diphtheria Toxoid and Acellular Pertussis Vaccine (Tdap) in Pregnant Women and Persons Who Have or Anticipate Having Close Contact with an Infant Aged <12 Months — Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2011
MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report)
October 21, 2011 / 60(41);1424-1426

[1] Emergency Responder Tdap Vaccination Clinic
Delaware County Intercommunity Health
Flier in PDF format


Sleaze Returns to Times Square with a Vengeance – Part III


Continued from Part I and from Part II.

Barbara Loe Fisher and Dr. Joe Mercola are running ads that suggest they are providing information about vaccines, but they are providing scare stories about the horrors of vaccines.

I wrote about Barbara Loe Fisher. What about Dr. Joe Mercola?

Dr. Mercola is paying for Barbara Loe Fisher to make the world more dangerous for our families. Dr. Mercola makes his money selling natural remedies. Dr. Mercola pretends that natural medicine is safer than vaccination. Selling natural remedies is very profitable for Dr. Mercola. We should not be surprised by advocacy from this salesman.

With all websites, newspapers, magazines and other publications offering health advice, with every new multi-million dollar TV ad for another proclaimed miracle drug, with any recommendation offered by traditional and natural physicians, it is essential to answer this question above all others: what is their real motivation?[1]

I agree.

What are Dr. Mercola’s motivations?

Mercola.com is not, in other words, a tool to get me a bigger house and car, or to run for Senate. I fund this site, and therefore, am not handcuffed to any advertisers, silent partners or corporate parents.[1]

But Dr. Mercola is the millionaire profiting from selling these products.

No conflict of interest in making millions of dollars selling these drugs, while criticizing others for doing the same thing.

Are there any other reasons to believe that Dr. Mercola is a sleaze?

I don’t doubt Mercola’s sincerity—and I know nothing about how he allocates his income. But I recently made some interesting observations. The word “Mercola” on the labels of his “Dr. Mercola Premium Supplements” is service-marked. Records at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office say that he began using the mark in commerce in 2000, applied to register it in 2009, and was granted registration in 2010. The registration address is for his home in South Barrington, Illinois, which the BlockShopper Chicago Web site states has 5,083 square feet and was purchased by Mercola in 2006 for $2 million. The Bing Maps aerial view indicates that it is quite luxurious.[2]

OK. Dr. Barrett doesn’t doubt Dr. Mercola’s sincerity, but Dr. Barrett is no supporter of Dr. Mercola. Here is some more from Dr. Barrett. Dr. Barrett writes Quackwatch. Dr. Mercola is just one of the quacks Dr. Barrett reports on.

In 2005, the FDA ordered Mercola and his Optimal Wellness Center to stop making illegal claims for products sold through his Web site [10]. The claims to which the FDA objected involved three products:[2]

The information about these illegal claims made by Dr. Mercola are available at Quackwatch.

In 2006, the FDA send Mercola and his center a second warning that was based on product labels collected during an inspection at his facility and on claims made on the Optimum Wellness Center Web site [11]. This time the claims to which the FDA objected involve four products:[2]

The information about these illegal claims made by Dr. Mercola are available at Quackwatch.

In 2011, the FDA ordered Mercola to stop making claims for thermography that go beyond what the equipment he uses (Medtherm2000 infrared camera) was cleared for. The warning letter said that statements on Mercola’s site improperly imply that the Meditherm camera can be used alone to diagnose or screen for various diseases or conditions associated with the breast, they also represent that the sensitivity of the Meditherm Med2000 Telethermographic camera is greater than that of machines used in mammography. The statements to which the FDA objected included:[2]

The information about these illegal claims made by Dr. Mercola are available at Quackwatch.

There appears to be a pattern of making unsupportable claims to make money for his multi-million dollar business. What a hypocrite.

Also covered at Respectful Insolence, Skeptical Teacher, and Skepchick.


[1] Dr. Mercola’s Background

[2] FDA Orders Dr. Joseph Mercola to Stop Illegal Claims
by Stephen Barrett, M.D.


Sleaze Returns to Times Square with a Vengeance – Part II


Continued from Part I.

Barbara Loe Fisher and Dr. Joe Mercola are running ads that suggest they are providing information about vaccines, but they are providing scare stories about the horrors of vaccines.

Dr. Mercola is a quack who appeals to the Huffington Post and Fox News.

Should you get your medical advice from the Huffington post?

Should you get your medical advice from Fox News?

The NVIC (National Vaccine Information Center) is an organization with a name that suggests safety, but the NVIC only spreads misinformation. The NVIC is run by Barbara Loe Fisher.

Who is Barbara Loe Fisher?

Barbara Loe Fisher is the Chicken Little behind the pertussis vaccine scare of the 1970s. She did not understand the difference between cause and coincidence then. She is not any smarter today, but she has made money selling her books and other products.

Barbara Loe Fisher is one of the people responsible for the lawyers telling the doctors how to treat patients. It doesn’t matter that vaccines are probably the safest medicines we have available. If the drug companies can be dragged into court for nothing other than baseless scare tactics, Barbara Loe Fisher will probably do it.

Wait. Maybe Barbara Loe Fisher and the NVIC actually do something to promote safe vaccines. That is what they say that they do, so maybe we should look at the ways that the NVIC and Barbara Loe Fisher promote safe vaccines. We should give her the benefit of the doubt. Right?

That is reasonable. Here is all of the work that is done by the NVIC that is not anti-vaccine, but encouraging the use of the best vaccines that we already have.

Sorry. I could not find any on the NVIC site. The NVIC site is a plethora of paranoid exaggerations about the risks of vaccines.

Consider this comparison. Rather than preventing diseases with vaccines, we would treat our children only after these Barbara Loe Fisher diseases vaccine-preventable illnesses infect our children.

What would be the fatality rate from Measles?

Measles is a leading cause of vaccine-preventable death among children. In 1999, measles killed an estimated 873,000 people globally. The vast majority of measles deaths – 791,000 – were among children under five.[1]

They aren’t Barbara Loe Fisher’s children, so those 873,000 dead people don’t count. Not that measles is the only vaccine-preventable illness that kills a lot of people.

In developing countries, measles death rates range from 1-5 percent, but in populations with high levels of malnutrition and poor access to health care, the death rate may reach 10-30 percent.[1]

Contrary to what these anti-vaccine propagandists claim, measles and other illnesses are not just annoyances. These illnesses do kill with the assistance of Barbara Loe Fisher.

The primary reason for the ongoing high number of measles deaths is the failure to deliver at least one dose of measles vaccine to all infants.[1]

Not the only reason, but the primary reason these children die is the failure to deliver at least one dose of measles vaccine to all infants.

Barbara Loe Fisher isn’t working to save lives, because the using vaccines does more to save lives than not using vaccines. Barbara Loe Fisher opposes vaccines.

Your child can die from measles, but Barbara Loe Fisher will do nothing for you. You are her enemy.

Barbara Loe Fisher sues the vaccine manufacturers and makes vaccines unnecessarily expensive.

Barbara Loe Fisher sells books that spread misinformation about vaccines.

Barbara Loe Fisher is not helping keep children safe from disease.

Barbara Loe Fisher is helping keep disease safe from vaccines.

Barbara Loe Fisher is making money spreading germs.

Barbara Loe Fisher is making money protecting germs.

Also covered at Respectful Insolence, Skeptical Teacher, and Skepchick.

To be continued in Part III.


[1] Global Measles Initiative
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Vaccines & Immunizations


Sleaze Returns to Times Square with a Vengeance – Part I


Do you live in a world of conspiracy theories?

Do you think President Bush is the mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorism?

Do you think President Obama is a Muslim who wan’t born in America?

Then you should be right at home with Barbara Loe Fisher and Dr. Joe Mercola.

Conspiracy theories are about two things.

1. A lack of understanding (a lack of understanding of coincidence, statistics, science, logic, et cetera).

2. Fear.

Vaccines save lives.

Barbara Loe Fisher and Dr. Joe Mercola are opposed to vaccines.

The ability of vaccines to save lives can be demonstrated easily. all it takes is a little understanding of the germ theory of disease. The introduction of something that causes an illness (or something that resembles it) will allow the immune system to strengthen itself against that infectious material. If the immune system produces antibodies to that germ, the person will almost always be immune to that germ.

This is where the conspiracy theorists get excited. Almost always. If it isn’t perfect, they consider vaccines to be fatally flawed.

Their alternative to vaccines?

Alternative medicine.

Alternative medicine is definitely not perfect.

Alternative medicine is so not perfect that alternative medicine is not even as good as a placebo.

In other words, alternative medicine is not even as good as kissing it and making it all better, but this is their alternative to real medicine.

What are these two frauds doing to make Times Square even more sleazy?

They are running ads that suggest they are providing information about vaccines, but they are providing scare stories about the horrors of vaccines.

The stories fall into two categories:

1. Not true.

2. Not caused by vaccines.

In other words, no matter how you look at this, these two are telling lies.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has written a letter to CBS, the owner of the JumboTron running these ads as paid for by Dr. Joe Mercola.

The AAP and many other child health organizations have worked hard to protect children and their families from unfounded and unscientific misinformation regarding vaccine safety.[1]

and –

Diseases like measles and pertussis (whooping cough) can have serious consequences, including seizures, brain damage and even death. From January 1 through December 31, 2010, 9,477 cases of pertussis (including ten infant deaths) were reported throughout California. This is the most cases reported in 65 years there.[1]

Also covered at Respectful Insolence, Skeptical Teacher, and Skepchick.

To be continued in Part II and later in Part III.


[1] AAP asks CBS to pull anti-vaccine ad
Autism News Beat
April 13th, 2011
Article including letter from the American Academy of Pediatrics


Stupidity Is Its Own Reward – I

Too Old To Work, Too Young To Retire points out to us that The Stupid It Hurts.

Apparently, it also kills.

What is more stupid than killing our children?

The real picture seems to be that the more affluent white counties account for a higher percentage of Pertussis in the groups of children who are of age to be vaccinated.

The CDPH weekly report has been showing for several weeks that whites have the highest rate per 100,000 for whooping cough infection in all age groups over 6 months. Hispanics have the highest rate in infants

It is a dilemma that some of the most highly educated people have some of most notable lack of common sense This is not proof of a causal relationship. The same people would likely lack common sense even without their non-medical college degrees.

This is one of the reasons that the solution to bad paramedics is not simply more time in a classroom a college degree. The answer is better education.

Research makes it very clear that –

Vaccines are safe.

Vaccines are much safer than the illnesses they protect against.

Being vaccinated is less risky than not being vaccinated.

Increases in the number of vaccines given do not mean increased risk for children.

Thimerosal does not cause autism, so the internet Luddites need to make up other scare stories about vaccines.

Remember when evaluating the rate of Pertussis in Hispanic children that it’s higher than for whites up until the age where vaccination is recommended. At that point, the rate for Hispanics is lower.

Why do I say it kills? Because the death rate for Pertussis is higher in California than it was for H1N1. Kids are dying at a higher rate from Whooping Cough than they did from the so called H1N1 epidemic.

Common sense for affluent white college graduates appears to be a failure of intelligence.

Look at how this works.

Even though vaccines are the most effective protection against illness –

We create communities of undervaccinated/unvaccinated people.

We don’t vaccinate our children, or we delay vaccination of our children.

We put our children in those undervaccinated infectious communities.

Is it a surprise that more of our children become sick with vaccine-preventable illnesses?

Is it a surprise that more of our children are killed by vaccine-preventable illnesses?

More information on vaccines is available at –


Science-Based Medicine topic section on vaccines.


The Flu Shot and Protecting Patients

How does your employer handle those who refuse to get the flu shot, or those who cannot get the flu shot for medical reasons?

For those who who have contact with patients, the approach taken by some employers is to require that unvaccinated employees wear a mask and gloves to protect patients.

What rules your employer have to protect patients?

Does anyone know of any research comparing the infection of patients by vaccinated health care workers and unvaccinated health care workers?