19 October 2011

Vaccine Against Propaganda

When I opened the paper this morning, I was met with a nearly full-page, bold article on the flu jab.  It was in a Q&A format, but was clearly designed to convince everyone 6 months and older to get the flu jab.  I was somewhat taken aback by the outright propaganda and scaremongering to convince everyone that the flu is the worst disease ever and that they're sure to get it if they don't get the jab. 

I later discussed the article with my husband, who commented that what we need is a vaccine against propaganda, so people can easily recognise propaganda and not be swayed by it.  Let me be clear that I have nothing against the flu jab for those who need it, but I do object to using propaganda and scare tactics to try to convince everyone to get it, as that seems a bit too much like advertising for the purpose of making money on the flu jabs. Just my opinion, of course.

In lieu of such a vaccine, I'd instead recommend looking at the actual data for the disease and the vaccine.  Look at the vaccine inserts and read them.  If you're given the package inserts for a prescription you pick up from the chemist, why wouldn't you look at the one for the vaccine before getting it?  I know from experience that they happily give you the insert if you ask (at least they do in England).  Examine whether the benefits outweigh the risks for you (whether you get the vaccine or not).  Don't be swayed by emotional appeals, but look at the actual data.  That last one is easier said than done, I know.  I've been swayed by the emotional appeals more than once, and then kicked myself later. 


  1. I saw this posy in the Parenting Bloggers daily email and it took me forever to find it (there wasn't a link!)
    Great post - I think that Critical Thinking should be a class that children take throughout their school years. Elementary-aged kids can learn about the hyperbole in toy commercials, middle school-aged kids need to learn about reading the fine print. High school and beyond need to learn how to differentiate between real news and propaganda like this vaccine ad masquerading as a legitimate news article. If people were taught to look at everything with a critical eye, so many things would be different in this country - especially the vaccine "debate".

  2. Absolutely! I'm glad my father taught me to question, research & evaluate everything, really, even if I sometimes got annoyed at the time.