According to Bill Maher, “if you get a swine flu shot you’re an idiot.” Given his uninformed views about vaccines and alternative medicine, this is not surprising.

Vaccines are the most powerful public health tool for control of preventable diseases. I recommend listening to what the vast majority of doctors and researchers are saying about the H1N1 vaccine.

22 Responses to “Bill Maher on the H1N1 Vaccine”


  • Give it to sick people < 64 years. Then when there is enough give it healthy people 65.

    And they say there are no Death Panels denying coverage to the elderly


  • Since people over 60 have some immunity to H1N1, death is not the issue. The standard of care has always been to target at risk groups first and then vaccinate everyone else who wants it.

    Welcome back, Don. We missed you. :-)


  • A 66 year old and a 63 year old has the same immunity. If both have medical problems the 63 year old gets it if he wants it and the 66 year old does not. Then if there is enough a 63 year old without health problems gets it before the 66 year old that has health problems. The difference: the 66 year old is on Medicare, and Obama’s Death Panel (by some other name) has decided the way to solve the Medicare solvency problems is to withhold medical treatment, and maybe they will just die and solve the problem.


  • What happened to the email notification this blog used to have?


  • Don said: If both have medical problems the 63 year old gets it if he wants it and the 66 year old does not.

    First, that’s just not true. If the 66 year old wants it, eventually he will be able to get it. Second, it has nothing to do with Medicare. It has to do with vaccinating the “at risk” groups first – which has always been the standard of care.

    Current studies indicate that the risk for infection among persons age 65 or older is less than the risk for younger age groups. However, once vaccine demand among younger age groups has been met, programs and providers should offer vaccination to people 65 or older.

    http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/acip.htm


  • If the 66 year old wants it, eventually he will be able to get it.

    If he is still alive

    Second, it has nothing to do with Medicare. It has to do with vaccinating the “at risk” groups first

    Of course it doesn’t. The fact that non medicare can get it, and medicare can’t, and medicare is going broke, it just a coincidence.

    And from your own words, people over 60 may have SOME immunity, why give it to sick 63 year olds, then healthy 63 year olds, and then, to any 66 year olds that are still alive


  • Don said: The fact that non medicare can get it, and medicare can’t,

    Again (for the third time), they can get it…just not right away.

    And from your own words, people over 60 may have SOME immunity, why give it to sick 63 year olds, then healthy 63 year olds, and then, to any 66 year olds that are still alive.

    I was imprecise. Please see the quote provided above from the CDC.


  • And do you know why the CDC says people over 65 have some immunity? Because they survived the Influenza Pandemic of 1918. Let me get my calculator out. 2009 – 1918 = 91. I was not born in 1918. My parents were, but they were children. I have no protection from 1918. But the the CDC found The 1918 pandemic is also unique among influenza pandemics in that absolute risk of influenza death was higher in those 65; persons 99% of all excess influenza-related deaths in 1918–1919. In comparison, the <65-year age group accounted for 36% of all excess influenza-related deaths in the 1957 H2N2 pandemic and 48% in the 1968 H3N2 pandemic

    According to the CDC (page 30, table 11) life expectancy in 1919 was 56.4, in 59 it was 69.89, in 69 it was 70.75. So in 1918 most people died by 56.4, so the fact that few died of Swine Flu over 65 is not surprising. And it certainly does not justify putting people over 65, when in 2004 life expectancy was 77.8, in third place to get protection, unless they want to kill us off to solve the Medicare insolvency problem.


  • Don said: And do you know why the CDC says people over 65 have some immunity?

    Because that is what the evidence shows. There has been very little 2009 H1N1 illness in people 65 and older since the 2009 H1N1 virus emerged. Regardless of why this is true, we know it is.

    Graph A (below) shows the estimated rate of novel H1N1 cases per 100,000 people reported to CDC in the United States by age group from April 15 to July 24, 2009. Over this time period, 43,771* probable and confirmed cases of novel H1N1 infection were reported to CDC. The number of reported cases per 100,000 population** was highest among people in the 5 years to 24 years of age group (26.7 per 100,000). This was followed by those in the 0 to 4 years of age group, whose case rate was 22.9 per 100,000 people. The rate declined further to 6.97 people per 100,000 in the 25 years to 49 years of age group. The rate was 3.9 per 100,000 people in the 50 years to 64 years of age group. At 1.3 people per 100,000, the novel H1N1 flu infection rate was lowest in people 65 years and older.

    This epidemiological data supports laboratory serology studies that indicate that older people may have pre-existing immunity to the novel H1N1 flu virus. This age distribution is very different from what is normally seen for seasonal flu, where older people are more heavily impacted.

    http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/surveillanceqa.htm#7


  • So first they try to justify withholding treatment based on some imagined immunity from a 1918 pandemic 25 yaars before they were born, and now based on statistics since mid-April when they stopped individual counting since then, we still have a government with a medicare system threatened financially, which would be solved if many of them died, and questionable statistics used to put them at the end of the list for getting protection


  • Don said: Only if you are on medicare you need to rely on some imagined immunity because of a Pandemic 25 years before you were born.

    Whatever the reason for the immunity – it is not imagined. Epidemiologic and laboratory studies support this conclusion.

    http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/surveillanceqa.htm#7

    …and questionable statistics used…

    Funny how they’re only “questionable” when I use them but they are good enough to support your wild conspiracy theory. Perhaps the issue isn’t the CDC’s credibility but your analysis of their information.


  • Have you ever read the book How to Lie with Statistics

    We have seen several justifications from the CDC for withholding treatment for Seniors

    They have partial immunity from the Pandemic of 1918. Perhaps, if they are over 91, and were alive in 1918.

    Very few over 65 died in the Pandemic of 1918. Reasonable since the average lifespan was 56. So any 65 year olds had some pretty good genes. But their own figures show significant deaths in the two examples since then, when the average lifespan was > 65.

    They pick a range from April 15 to July 24, 2009 to do a study, and then throw out all reported cases where they did not have a record of the age of the patient. If you let me see all the data for the year, and pick my own three month period to sample I can probably get significantly different results.

    What is wild about my theory? Is Medicare not about to go bankrupt? Would the problem not be solved or at least significantly reduced if some of the seniors would just go ahead and die? When faced with balancing the budget do Canada and Britain not both delay expensive tests and expensive treatments for months or even years, and do patients not die in the meantime, thus removing a problem for those systems.

    Too much Kool Aid is bad for you.


  • LOL. It’s good to have you back, Don.

    I can’t believe you’re actually coming at this from the perspective of trying to prove that Obama wants to kill elderly people. Sure, if you try really hard to spin it that way, maybe you can come up with an extremely simplistic argument that makes sense to only the irrational and intellectually incurious. However, as with anything else, such an approach will never lead to the truth.

    One important gaping hole in your argument is the idea that the 65 year age cannot be supported by the facts. First of all, the H1N1 virus did not show up in 1918 and then disappear in 1919. That virus circulated well into the 40′s and 50′s. Also, there were many who were vaccinated in 1976. The fact is that a line must be drawn somewhere, and the CDC has a good reason for doing so:

    Q: Why aren’t the elderly higher on the list?

    A: The reason is interesting. Elderly individuals at some time in the decades of their life have come into contact with a virus that has some crossover similarities with the current H1N1, and they have partial immunity to it. Now that could have been people who were vaccinated for the famous swine flu in 1976 or people who were alive and around in the ’50s or the ’40s, when you had H1N1 still circulating that had some similarity to this. So if you’re older, you’re relatively protected from H1N1.

    http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2009/10/q-a-swine-flu-what-you-need-to-know-.html

    This has nothing to do with death panels and you know it. Quit trying to make everything into an anti-Obama campaign.

    On another note, I’d like to say that I disagree with Maher on this, and would even go so far as to say that, at least on this subject, he’s the idiot. I would think people who have a broad audience woud make a better effort to be sure they are clear on the facts before they make asinine pronouncements, but I’m being proved wrong on that count time and time again, on both sides of the aisle.


  • One other comment on Don’s approach. I think it’s hilarious that someone who replied to nearly every criticism of President Dubya with the tired old “Bush Derangement Syndrome” nonsense is now choosing to turn literally everything into a criticism of Obama. It’s funny what happens when it’s the other party occupying the White House, isn’t it? Yes, there are legitimate criticisms to be made, but this is definitely not one of them.


  • That virus circulated well into the 40’s and 50’s.

    undergoing gradual antigenic drift and ith the appearance of a new H2N2 pandemic strain in 1957 (“Asian flu”), the direct H1N1 viral descendants of the 1918 pandemic strain disappeared from human circulation entirely (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol12no01/05-0979.htm)

    there were many who were vaccinated in 1976

    If that protected you the limit should be 33, not 64

    s now choosing to turn literally everything into a criticism of Obama

    If Bush had proposed having a panel decide who gets what treatment (whether they called it a Death Panel, or whatever Obama called it) I would have opposed him too.

    And Dr. Anthony Fauci said I can’t imagine if a 75-year-old grandmother comes up to a place and says, “I’d like my vaccine,” that somebody will say, “No, go away and come back in two weeks.” Somehow I don’t see that.. He obviously does not understand bureaucracy and their response to guidelines. When I was 64 (under the Bush administration) my doctor wanted me to get some shot, but she did not have it in her office and the home health agency could not get it. They had it at the hospital, but they could only provide it if I was 65 or older (Bush was not trying to solve the medicare financial problem by killing off seniors), and if I wanted it I would have to go downtown to some health center.


  • The full quote from the CDC document:

    They probably also circulated continuously in humans, undergoing gradual antigenic drift and causing annual epidemics, until the 1950s. With the appearance of a new H2N2 pandemic strain in 1957 (“Asian flu”), the direct H1N1 viral descendants of the 1918 pandemic strain disappeared from human circulation entirely, although the related lineage persisted enzootically in pigs.

    If they caused annual epidemics until the 1950′s, I’d say they lasted into the 40s and 50s, wouldn’t you?

    If that protected you the limit should be 33, not 64

    LOL. It’s not a “limit”, as in no one can ever get it over a certain age. This is a priority list we’re talking about. The fact that H1N1 was around in the 40s and 50s AND that immunization shots were given in 1976 simply reinforces the fact that those who are 65 and older are not at high risk for becoming gravely ill. They would either have been naturally immunized early in life, or received an immunization in the 70′s, and the data support this claim that they are not a high risk group for H1N1. You’re losing sight of the bigger picture in your attempt to indulge in nonsensical conspiracy theories.


  • If they caused annual epidemics until the 1950’s, I’d say they lasted into the 40s and 50s, wouldn’t you?

    undergoing gradual antigenic drift, in other words they were not the same that has reappeared, perhaps out of someone’s refrigerator

    It’s not a “limit”, as in no one can ever get it over a certain age. This is a priority list we’re talking about.

    And if someone vaccinated in 1976 should still be protected, as supposedly 65 year olds are, then 33 year olds should be in the third tier along with >65.

    But Washington is not yet in charge of health care for 33 year olds, as they are for people on Medicare, so it is not necessary to try to kill them off to reduce costs. However if Obama’s health care bill passes, they will be just as in jeopardy as canadian and British citizens.


  • Congratulations, Don. You’ve proven that you have absolutely no ability to think critically or intelligently on any subject. This is ridiculous. That you would even consider such an absurd scenario, much less argue in favor of it, should be extremely embarrassing.

    undergoing gradual antigenic drift, in other words they were not the same that has reappeared, perhaps out of someone’s refrigerator

    Why do you continue to debate issues that you obviously do not understand? If you don’t know what you’re talking about, at least look it up first. “Gradual antigenic drift” does not result in a completely different virus that might have surfaced “out of someone’s refrigerator”. Look it up.


  • My husband can’t get the H1N1 vaccine. He has heart disease and he is 66. He gets every darn virus that goes around. And those of you who are siting the CDC should include ALL that the CDC says which is that while those over 65 seem to have some immunity, those who do contract it have greater chance of serious illness and complications. Add to that any existing chronic illness and that’s a real recipe for disaster. Given that this is the CDC’s own info, why excluding this group is unforgivable. See it for yourselves: “The new 2009 H1N1 virus does not seem to be affecting people 65 years and older in the same way that seasonal flu usually does. Most people who have gotten sick from this new virus have been younger. In fact, people 65 and older are the group that is least likely to get infected with this new virus. There have been relatively few infections and even fewer cases of serious illness and death with this new virus in people older than 65. Laboratory tests on blood samples indicate that older people likely have some pre-existing immunity to the 2009 H1N1 flu virus. But while people 65 and older are the least likely to be infected with 2009 H1N1 flu, those that do become infected are at greater risk of having serious complications from their illness.”

    http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/65andolder.htm


  • You’ve proven that you have absolutely no ability to think critically or intelligently on any subject.

    Which to Reasic’s mind means I disagree with him.

    “Gradual antigenic drift” does not result in a completely different virus

    It is not a completely different virus, but it is not the H1N1 that appears to have surfaced “out of someone’s refrigerator”

    C-dub: My husband can’t get the H1N1 vaccine. He has heart disease and he is 66. He gets every darn virus that goes around.

    I sympathize. I also am 66 and while my heart is fine I have other health problems. At least they are not putting on ice flows, but the only way to solve Medicare’s financial problems is to get rid of a lot of us.


  • Give me a break. No one has suggested that we in our sixties, survived the 1918 flu epidemic–those of you so deluded need to learn to read.

    We survived the 1957 pandemic which is attributed to swine flu and are resistant.

    The vaccine should go to those who will benefit.

    Frankly, I’d rather take lots of Vitamin D than any flu shot!


  • Actually one of the arguments was that we had immunity from the 1918 one, and if the 1957 pandemic was the thing that protects us, then the cutoff should be 52, not 65. But they did not set the guideline at people that were alive in 57. It is people on Medicare that is in financial difficulties, and would be helped if more of would just go ahead and die. And if people over 65 do get it, we spend a lot more time in the hospital, which will hurt, not help, the Medicare financial problems.

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