Yesterday, I saw a video about the flu-shot on the website of a major HMO. I didn’t expected the message to be persuasive of vaccination but I was shocked at some of the tactics used in the ad. I at least expected a fair shake when it came to the con side of vaccination.
I grew curious to know what our Federal Government had to say about vaccinations. The video I watched was even more appalling than the last. It starts out with a young pregnant woman. She walks in to her mom’s kitchen as her mother is reminding her of her doctors appointment and offers her a snack. Sure seems innocent enough but this dynamic reminds us of our childhood when we didn’t know much about anything. We had to be reminded by our mothers when to eat, where to go and to tie our shoes. Only because I was looking for it did I notice a ring on the woman’s finger. Everything else in this first scene suggests that she is a single mother who went and got pregnant. As the conversation turns towards vaccination, the mother is quick to refute her daughters reservations about getting the flu shot by citing something she heard on “the news”. When the young woman suggests that she is eating well and exercising (building her health) the mother quickly disparages her by asking her in a condescending tone, “have you been watching something on T.V. or ‘Googleing’ again?”
The next scene is in the doctors office where the non-intimidating, soft-spoken woman OB/GYN gives only the PROs and convinces not only the young woman but also the mother to get vaccinated.
I am not an extremist when it comes to vaccination. I have nothing against the scientific logic it follows. My objection is that from a public health perspective, those in power should do everything possible to show the less-informed citizenry all sides of an issue. If there is to be funds allocated to the seasonal vaccination campaigns, there should be at least as many funds put towards getting people healthy and building immunity for the rest of the year. When you only give an uninformed population half the story, you are not honoring their liberty to make informed decisions about their bodies, you are disrespecting the core of their human dignity. We will only be healthy as a nation to the degree that we-the-people have the ability to know ourselves better than the bureaucrats at the CDC.