Wednesday, September 15, 2004

'Flu Season Hysteria Begins

By Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, DO

The following article is an article in the Online Vaccine Conference at This important online conference on vaccines will play a significant role in stimulating public discussion on this vital public health issue. You can also view other essential articles on vaccines at the Online Vaccine Conference.

As predictable as the return of yellow school buses and Monday Night Football, the arrival of fall also brings the first fearful chatter about the approaching flu season. But this year, there is a twist: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has devised a portentous new blueprint to ensure the economic success of this season's flu vaccine.

Concerned over data documenting that almost 65 percent of the people surveyed in 2003 did not receive the flu shot -- including nearly 47 percent with chronic illnesses and 78 percent of children ranging in age from 6-23 months -- a new strategy has been devised. The plan was fully disclosed in the 51-slide communiqué, "Planning for the 2004-05 Influenza Vaccination Season: A Communication Situation Analysis," prepared by Glen Nowak, Ph.D., associate director for communications at the National Immunization Program.

The most important part of the program, "The Seven-Step Recipe for Generating Interest in, and Demand for, Flu (or any other) Vaccination," is designed to methodically manipulate the general public.

Language within the presentation reveals the intent of the government and their drug company "partners" to use major news media (newswires, TV) to send scheduled, fear-based messages in an attempt to convince the unsuspecting public that not only is the flu shot necessary, but to motivate them to demand it. This will amount to millions of dollars of free advertising for flu vaccine manufacturers.

A Synopsis of the CDC plan
Step 1: Start discussing the flu at the beginning of the "immunization season."
Posters, fliers and media campaign materials are generally mailed to public health departments and healthcare provider offices in mid-August, "planting the seeds" in the minds of patients so that they request the flu vaccine when it arrives.

Step 2: The media will begin to make pronouncements that the "new" influenza strains anticipated this year "will be associated with severe illness and serious outcomes."
Right on cue, the government announced on Aug. 25, that it is "preparing for world's next big flu outbreak." A report released to the Associated Press suggests that a bad flu season could kill up to 207,000 Americans. To fuel the hysteria, the CDC and Department of Human Services announced that they are issuing a joint "Pandemic Influenza Response and Preparedness Plan" which will stress "ways to speed up vaccine production, limit the spread of a super-flu, and care for the ill."

Step 3: The buildup will continue through the early fall, as local and national "medical experts and public health authorities publicly (e.g., via media) state concern and alarm (by predicting dire outcomes) -- and urge influenza vaccination."

Here's one example: "We know we're going to have a pandemic because, historically, we're overdue for one," said Neil Pascoe, epidemiologist in the infectious disease division of the Texas Department of Health. "When it happens, it's going to be huge. It will be global, and everyone is going to be affected ... it could be terribly fatal. Imagine 4 million Texans [becoming] infected, and 20 percent of them die."

Be prepared for many similar statements in major newspapers and on national TV stations as the weeks progress.

Step 4: Reports from medical experts will be used to "frame the flu season in terms [that will] motivate behavior." Language to be used will include "very severe," "more severe than last or past years" and "deadly."

Last year, there were 1,026 messages sent via the media between September 21-28. Some of the phrases the media used included, "This could be the worst flu season ever," "The flu kills 36,000 people per year" and "The flu shot is the best way to prevent the flu." Even though less than 175 people actually died from influenza in 2003, anticipate exponentially more messages regarding the "deadly flu" will be pushed through the news media this year.

Step 5: Continue to release reports from health officials through the media that influenza is causing severe illness and/or affecting lots of people "helping to foster the perception that many people are susceptible to a bad case of influenza."

Step 6: Give visible, tangible examples of the seriousness of influenza by showing pictures of ill children and affected families who are willing to come forward with their stories. "Show pictures of people being vaccinated, the first to motivate, the latter to reinforce."

Step 7: List references to, and have discussions regarding, the influenza pandemic. "Make continued reference to the importance of vaccination."

The language used to describe Steps 5, 6, and 7 was taken directly from Nowak's presentation. This should leave little doubt the government intends to use the media to create hysteria that will increase the demand for a pharmaceutical product.

Vaccine manufacturers often cry the blues about revenues lost by producing vaccines. However, last year, Chiron, one of the two largest vaccine manufacturers, made 38 million flu shots, accounting for nearly $230 million in revenue. And even though sales of FluMist, the intranasal flu vaccine, reportedly "failed miserably," the company still marked $33 million in revenues from sales of the product. Not exactly the stellar returns MedImmune had hoped for, but clearly revenues were made.

Health officials are expecting that, through the publicity generated by last year's flu hype, coupled with a carefully planned and implemented new strategy, record numbers will seek vaccination this year. Perhaps, understanding the tactical maneuvers of the "CDC-Big Pharma-Media" partnership will result in another "bust" year for the flu vaccines.

Many thanks to Mrs. Lujene Clark, president of for her research and bringing this to my attention.

Sherri J. Tenpenny, D.O. is a nationally renowned and respected vaccine expert.

Cheryl notes that the best defense against the 'flu is a strong immune system. Eat whole foods, exercise and use glyconutrients and other supplements to build your immune system.

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