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Swine Flu – Why Bill Maher Is Being an Idiot

By bethanysanders |

bill-maherBill Maher recently twittered that “if u get a flu shot ur an idiot.”  And in last Friday’s show, during an interview with former Senator Bill Frist, he also urged pregnant women not to get the swine flu vaccine.

I do not think Bill Maher is an idiot.  In fact, I’m a regular view who — until he starts talking about breastfeeding and vaccines — tends to agree with him.  But on this, he’s being stupid.

Pregnant women make up about one percent of the population in the United States at any given time, yet studies show that they make up about nine percent of the critically ill cases of swine flu.  Their risk is unique during this pandemic.

Maher also claims that he doesn’t believe that healthy people can die from the swine flu.  I’d argue that a) the lives of healthy people aren’t the only lives that matter, and b) a recent study found that 45 percent of serious cases had no underlying conditions.  Maher blows off this point by saying “Western medicine misses a lot.”

Fortunately, the swine flu is far less dangerous than originally feared.  And so far, almost everyone who gets it recovers.  When it comes to vaccination, I’m all for people making the decisions they feel are right for themselves and their families.  Get the shot, don’t get the shot — your body, your business.

But what I can’t stand is when personalities like Maher use their station and celebrity status to spout pseudoscience that could have a major impact on public health.

Take this clip from Fox News.  (And yes, I realize that the swine flu probably won’t kill Bill Maher, but being compared to Fox News just might.)

Dr. Kent Holtrof claims the virus has “lost virulence” (the virus has never changed) and that he won’t give his kids the vaccine because it’s loaded with  “adjuncts.” The word is ADJUVANTS, and the U.S. vaccine does not contain them. (Trials are ongoing, in case the virus suddenly mutates.) This guy cares more about recruiting people to his side of the vaccination fence then he does about vocabulary or, oh, FACTS.

So in the words of Dr. Frist, Bill, I think that you’re very, very wrong.

Now tell us … what do you think?

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22 thoughts on “Swine Flu – Why Bill Maher Is Being an Idiot

  1. Laure68 says:

    I honestly think Bill Maher has completely lost his mind. On top of this, I recently saw a clip where he said people who have cancer should forgo chemotherapy, and that alternative treatments that can be found overseas are effective.

    The funny thing is that he actually supports Gardasil, I think mostly because it pisses off the religious right.

    His whole argument against flu shots has nothing to do with science and everything to do with conspiracy theories. It is one thing for him not to get a shot, but the fact that he is telling people (especially pregnant women) that they are idiots if they get the flu shot is horrendously stupid. How can people make these public statements with no science to back up their “theories”?

  2. Laure68 says:

    Also, I have to say I do think he is an idiot. I watched him a few times, but he has no consistency in his beliefs. He thinks Americans are prudes and we shouldn’t be afraid of nudity, but he also thinks women should not be able to breastfeed in public. He believes in science (so he says) when it comes to global warming, but not when it comes to medicine. Since my personal knowledge is in science and medicine, I feel like I can’t believe what he says when he talks about other subjects.

  3. Lex says:

    As someone currently suffering with the much dreaded swine flu, I encourage people to follow their doctor’s advice, rather than some tv host- hopefully most people will be intelligent enough to follow this? That being said, swine flu is pretty much the same as regular flu.

  4. Medstudent says:

    BM incorrectly stated that disease will be injected into your arm. The injection is killed influenza that is incapable of infection. This virus is highly infectious and even with a 1/1000 mortality rate, when 100 million people are infected we are discussing serious casualties. There may be a risk of Guillan-Barre syndrome, but it has not been demonstrated over hundreds of thousands of vaccines given out. From a public health, cost benefit aspect this is a no-brainer.

  5. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    I’m sure the swine flu is just like the regular flu. The regular flu kills 36,000 Americans a year. I hope you get better soon, Lex.

  6. jenny tries too hard says:

    Bill Maher seemed a lot smarter way back in the 90s and early 00s on Politically Incorrect. I wonder how much of that is because it was in the dark days before DVR and it was 2am when I was watching….

  7. leolabeth says:

    Maher’s gone ’round the bend on food and vaccines. As for breastfeeding, I got wind of his misogynistic streak when he mocked the dead Princess Diana days after she was killed. Eh, he’s good on most things.

  8. LogicalMama says:

    He probably supports the Gardisil vaccine because he’s a spreader of HPV! He’s a freakin’ man-whore with strippers!

  9. Robyn says:

    Healthy Child Healthy World published a level-headed article today:
    http://healthychild.org/blog/comments/four_perspectives_on_the_h1n1_virus_and_vaccine/

  10. Blacksheep says:

    I am not planning on getting the regular flu shot or the H1N1 shot, but my kids are getting both. I believe they are effective and necessary. As for me, I am literally not allowed to get the shots as I had Guillain-Barre (Miller Fisher variant)when I was four years old. The shots can retrigger the disease. It says so right there on the consent form! So I have never gotten a flu shot.

  11. Jeff B says:

    There was plenty of pseudoscience on the airwaves before Bill Maher weighed in. You probably heard some of it yourself. It sounds like this: “Vaccines are completely safe and effective.” A big lie, repeated often enough, becomes indistinguishable from the truth.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/SwineFluSafety

  12. Laure68 says:

    Jeff B, can you give a summary on why you believe what you do. I clicked on your link, and saw something about Nazis performing mass sterilization. (Maybe this continued to something about the flu vaccine, but I didn’t have the patience to find out.

    There is also an “interview” with someone who is supposedly an ex-vaccine researcher, but won’t give his name. I read part of this, but he doesn’t give any real facts.

    If what you are saying is that there are side effects to vaccines, you are absolutely right. Nothing in this world in 100% safe. Also, nothing is 100% effective either. We are talking risk vs. benefit.

    I find pseudoscience mongers often talk about “the truth”, but hate “the facts”. (a la Stephen Colbert)

    Maybe I am misunderstanding? If so, please explain.

  13. [...] normally intelligent commentators like Bill Maher groundlessly sound off against the vaccine, the Internet is abuzz with reports of potential swine flu [...]

  14. T says:

    If you look at the FDA insert for the swine flu vaccine you will see that it has not been shown safe in pregnant women or children under age 18.

  15. Marj says:

    Good point Mistress Scorpio. I’ve gotten the regular flu shot, and will be getting the H1N1 as soon as I can.

  16. Gene says:

    Let me get this straight…He doesn’t trust the government but he is a far left lib who wants the government to run or control everything…mmmm..makes total sense??????

  17. Ken Stolton says:

    Bill Maher is 100% correct. My neighbor got the normal flu shot, got Gullain Barre syndrome and his respitory system shut down. Now they claim he died from H1N1! Amazing he just happened to get H1N1 and die a week after getting the normal flu shot. It’s a giant coverup.

  18. Claude says:

    @ Ken Stolton: Are we surprised your neighbor’s death would be blamed on the flu rather than what it really was, which is complications from treatment? How many cancer patients are killed by what chemo and radiation does to the veins and tissues of our bodies – but we’re told they died of cancer?

  19. RC says:

    The vaccine is poorly tested, full of toxic ADJUVANTS-(mercury, aluminum and squalene) is completely unnecessary and ineffective besides. Most Americans have been completely deluded and brainwashed.

  20. ShadeTail says:

    The weird thing about this is, Maher is generally not a conspiracy theorist nutcase. When it comes to evolutionary biology, 9/11 truthers, global climate change, the moon landing, and on and on and on, he explicitly rejects the unhinged conspiracy theories and listens to the actual experts who know what they’re talking about.

    But when it comes to this anti-vax nonsense, he goes with the unhinged wack-jobs. It’s completely backwards from how he usually rolls. I don’t get it.

  21. Ashley says:

    I know I’m commenting on this wayyyyyy after it was posted, but I just came across it and wanted to share my story. In the beginning of Oct. ’09 my oldest daughter was 17-1/2 months old and I was about 25 weeks pregnant with my youngest daughter. One morning in the first couple days of Oct. not all that long before this post was written I woke up to my daughter having a fever of 102 but acting totally fine, so I gave her Tylenol per her doctors instructions and was told if she started vomiting or otherwise acting like she was sick to call back and they would see her or otherwise advise us what to do next. That fever lasted about four days yet she acted like her normal happy playful self, but on day 3 she developed a rash over most of her body so we took her to the doctor to find out it was just a heat rash from the fever, but because of the swine flu outbreak they swabbed her nose and sent it off to get tested. The next day I woke up with a fever and felt like I had been hit by a semi. Being pregnant I immediately went to the doctor since I knew how risky it could be for me to have swine flu. A couple days later we got the results back confirming my daughter had swine flu(but was symptom free at this point by some miracle) and confirming that not only did I have swine flu but influenza a or b(can’t quite remember) as well. I spent almost two weeks hardly able to move because of how sick I was. I’d take having mono again(which I enjoyed for a month at age 15) over getting half as sick as I was with swine flu any day. Once I was better I didn’t think it would have any impact on my pregnancy, and oh how wrong I apparently was. At 29 weeks I went into labor, had it stopped and was sent home and then repeated the whole thing again less than 24 hours later with the addition of steroid injections and was put on strict bed rest. At 32 weeks my water broke while at home and I delivered a screaming(thanks to those horribly painful steroid shots) 3 lb 15 oz little girl who then had to spent 3 painfully long weeks in the NICU, and the only thing they think could have caused all this was swine flu. Anyone who tried telling people to do anything other than doing every possible thing they could to prevent getting swine flu is an idiot.

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