I had a loyal reader of my book Before You Take That Pill: Why the Drug Industry May Be Bad For Your Health write to ask me if my previous viewpoint that Flu Shots Are For Idiots applied to the current virus outbreak related to COVID, which, unless you have been living under a rock for the past year, you probably have heard about.

Lolcat returns from the past to give us guidance on the dreaded covid shot.

Lolcat returns from the past to give us guidance on the dreaded covid shot.

The last time I talked about flu shots was when my employer, Emory University, required me to get one, and I was asked to give a talk on flu shots at that venerated institution, which I titled “Why I’m Not Getting a Flu Shot This Year.” I got a call the night before by the authorities and was asked what the hell I was doing, so I offered half my time to have a debate. The fact is, that there is no evidence that flu shots for the common influenza save lives, other than for people in nursing homes if the medical staff got the shots. I argued that I am a psychiatrist who doesn’t work in a nursing home, and was told “well you walk through the hospital, dontcha?” One of the doctors at the lecture stated they bought 50,000 doses of tamiflu to get ready for the bird flu epidemic, which of course never materialized and was never going to as I wrote about here.

bird flu drugs "Bomb's away!"

“Bomb’s away!”

Needless to say, it didn’t go over well, which is why I stopped blogging about it. That and it was aggravating Mrs. Bremner.

Anyhoo, you can read about my reasons for saying that flu shots are for idiots here, however my feelings about the COVID-19 shot are very different. For one thing, the latest vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna show a 95% rate of prevention with two doses, which for a disease which has a proven 1-2% mortality rate, at least 10 times higher than influenza, is significant. Not to mention being able to go to the Walmart in Georgia without freaking out. Mrs. Bremner is an epidemiologist at Emory and she also thinks its a good idea.

Mrs. Bremner after getting her COVID Moderna vaccine at Emory

Mrs. Bremner after getting her COVID Moderna vaccine at Emory

I got really sick after the second dose (nausea, chills for one day), but it was worth it.

3 Responses

  1. Ralph R. Ristenbatt Jr.

    I believe the loyal reader you refer to is myself. I have a few problems with your approval of the Covid vaccine. In “The Book” you devote 9 paragraphs (two pages) detailing your opposition to the flu vaccine.But you sum up the your approval of the Covid vaccine in one short paragraph. In “the book” you mention mercury and aluminum and their long term consequences. Are they not in the Covid vaccine? The Pope issued a statement that even though the vaccine contained ingredients from unborn fetuses, the Catholic church did not consider the vaccine to be morally problematic. We are not screaming, wild eyed right to lifers but it is troubling to us. Will this vaccine become an annual requirement? Also, Even tho Donald Trump initiated the Warp Speed program, it is obvious that the big pharm giants are no friends of Donald Trump . We find that to be troubling as well. I’m glad we bought “the book” before the Medical profession became so political. Where can we find the truth? We are worried that even you have bent over backwards due to political pressure. You seem allude to that in your above statement. Please reply.

    • Doug Bremner

      Thanks for writing, Ralph. I didn’t mean to imply that I had been totally silenced, it’s just sometimes you get tired of being harassed for your view points, but since you and others seem to be interested by what I have to say, I will start writing about these topics again. I am still an employee of Emory University, and initially when I was required to get a flu shot, there was an option to opt out for religious reasons, and I said I was a Christian Scientist, based on the fact that I had been raised as a Christian, and that I was a Scientist, but when they required a signed not from my pastor, I gave up and started getting the required flu shots. I still believe there is insufficient evidence to justify requiring people to get flu shots, and if Emory University and/or Emory Healthcare wants to fight with me about that, then so be it. However, I do believe that the increase in deaths from the Covid is real, and that vaccination is useful. However, if individuals don’t want to get vaccinated, they shouldn’t be required to do so, and I don’t believe in forcing people to get vaccinated for the “general good.” Mrs. Bremner is an epidemiologist and disagrees with me, but we are all entitled to our own opinions. Hope you and your family are staying safe and well.

  2. Ike Hall

    I’m also one of those people that “walk through the hospital” and have been getting the annual flu vaccine due to the hospital administration’s abundance of caution, not that I think it does much good overall due to the myriad variety of influenza viruses. But I got the Pfizer vaccine as soon as it was offered to me, for the reasons you stated, and while I felt fatigued for about 48 hours after the second shot, it cleared up. I would recommend people get the vaccination unless there is a known contraindication, since the risks of SARS-CoV-2 seem to greatly outweigh the risks of the vaccines at this point.


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