The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC), the foremost research and informational component of the US Department of Health and Human Services, claims that 36,000 deaths per annum occur due to influenza, suggesting that foregoing a yearly flu vaccination is the cause.
Yet the American Society of Registered Nurses (ASRN) argues that the CDC’s claims of tens of thousands of deaths is actually a public relations ploy. Data retrieved from death certificates and the U.S. National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) indicate that a maximum of 500 people die each year from the flu. Further, a study appearing in the American Journal of Public Health suggests that even this figure may be excessive.
According to ASRN, CDC decided to exaggerate flu deaths in the early 2000s when it realized the public wasn’t heeding its advice on annual flu vaccination. During the 2003 flu season “the manufacturers were telling us that they weren’t receiving a lot of orders for vaccine,” the associate director for communications with CDC’s National Immunization Program told National Public Radio. “It really did look like we needed to do something to encourage people to get a flu shot.”
Thereafter CDC devised its “Seven-Step ‘Recipe’ for Generating Interest in, and Demand for, Flu (or any other) Vaccination,” a slide show Nowak introduced at the 2004 National Influenza Vaccine Summit.
Lawrence Solomon, “Don’t Believe Everything You Read About Flu Deaths,” Huffington Post Canada, January 24, 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/lawrence-solomon/death-by-influenza_b_4661442.html.
Jonathan Benson, “CDC Caught Inflating Flu Deaths to Sell More Vaccines,” Natural News, January 21, 2015, http://www.naturalnews.com/048356_flu_deaths_CDC_statistics_vaccines.html.
American Society of Registered Nurses, “Do Not Believe Everything You Read About Flu Deaths,” The Journal of Advanced Practice Nursing, October 2014. http://www.asrn.org/journal-advanced-practice-nursing/1212-do-not-believe-everything-you-read-about-flu-deaths.html.
Student Researcher: Laurie Schuler (Florida Atlantic University)
Faculty Evaluator: James F. Tracy (Florida Atlantic University)