Posts Tagged “bill frist”

You can add another to the (unfortunately long, and growing) list of people in the mass media who’ve enlisted in the forces of Antivax … Bill Maher. He “doesn’t believe in them.” His stated reasons for this appear to be “distrust of government” and “distrust of ‘western medicine.'” The New York Times Well blog reports on Maher’s interview of former Senator Bill Frist (R-TN):

Mr. Maher recently told his Twitter followers that people who get flu shots are “idiots.” On his Friday HBO show “Real Time With Bill Maher,” he explained his opposition to the flu vaccine during an interview with Bill Frist, a heart surgeon who was a Republican senator from Tennessee.

Mr. Maher questioned letting someone stick “a disease into your arm,” wrongly implying that the flu shot contains a live virus. The flu shot is a killed vaccine. (Only the nasal mist vaccine contains a weakened live virus.)

Maher is fact-deprived on a number of other counts as well, such as:

He said he did not believe that healthy people were vulnerable to dying from the new H1N1 virus. This contradicts statements from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that young, healthy people from ages 5 to 24 appear particularly vulnerable to this flu.

Maher was unable to say anything in response to Frist pointing out that the polio and smallpox vaccines had wiped out these illnesses during the 20th century and thus saved millions of lives in the long term.

This blog entry includes a Youtube video of the interview, so you can get a taste of how truly nutty Maher is … and how well-reasoned Frist is, by comparison. I say this because during his Senate tenure, Frist had been an outspoken proponent of unthinking religiosity; if Frist really has “turned over a new leaf,” as this interview suggests may be the case, I’m gratified to see it.

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