Robert Malone, MD, MSc, who attended the … [+] pandemic, recently claimed that people are being forced to get the annual flu vaccine to “maintain warm base production in case something like 1918 ever happens again”. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Talk about making an argument. At a recent event, Robert Malone, MD, MSc, who has made many questionable claims about the Covid-19 vaccine during the pandemic, claimed that people are being forced to get the annual flu vaccine to “maintain warm base production in case something goes wrong.” as if 1918 will ever happen again.” He tried to build on this claim in an interview shared on social media when he claimed that annual flu vaccination “is there to basically build a market.” He made both claims despite the fact that about 290,000 to 200,000 people are vaccinated each year. 650 000 flu-related deaths occur around the world, with 12,000 to 52,000 in the US and the many scientific studies that have shown how effective the flu vaccine has been in preventing flu, flu-related hospitalizations and flu-related deaths.Speaking of scientific studies, what evidence did Malone back up his claims? Well, during the interview he did say, “I know this case on one side and on the other.” So, what are you to believe, years of scientific evidence or a man who essentially says “trust me?”
Malone made the first claim to “The Future of Medicine in Post-Covid America: Florida Summit on Covid II,” even that stated on the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care (FLCCC) Alliance website. Now the FLCCC alliance is presumably not pronounced as the “Fleece” alliance. But Christina Szalinski covered the FLCCC alliance in an article for Scientific American titled “Fringe Doctors’ Groups Promote Ivermectin for COVID Despite Lack of Evidence,” describing it as “a group of physicians and scientists who support ivermectin, along with other drugs and vitamins with questionable efficacy against COVID.” Yes, the word “fringe” unless followed by the word “benefits” or “cake” is usually not a positive term. The same is often true of a cat emoji doing the “Home Alone” Macaulay Culkin phrase, which appeared in a tweet from Nick Mark, MD, an intensive care physician in Seattle, Washington, showing some of these non-evidence-based treatments promoted by FLCCC:
So what did Malone say specifically at this “Future of Medicine in Post-Covid America” event about the annual flu vaccine. Unfortunately, he claimed, “The annual flu vaccine program, if you sort through the logic of federal funding and so forth, is wrapped around the idea that we have to force, in effect force the population to take a product on a yearly basis so that we being able to maintain a warm base production in case something like 1918 ever happens again.” In mentioning 1918, Malone was presumably referring not to the Boston Red Sox that won the World Series that year, but to the flu pandemic that began that year and eventually led to about 50 million deaths worldwide and 675,000 deaths in the U.S. during the more than two year training.
Umm, anyone who claims that the annual flu vaccine is just there to maintain warm base production is getting pretty cold about the real reasons for the annual flu shot. Flu vaccines were first developed and used in the 1940s, after flu proved to be a killer, not just during a pandemic, but every year.
Since then, flu vaccines have been studied in the wazoo. That’s figuratively, not literally, because the flu vaccine is supposed to go up your arm if it’s the injection and up your nose if it’s the inhaled version. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has compiled nearly two decades of seasonal flu vaccine effectiveness studies on their website. As you can see, from 2009-2010 to 2019-2020, measured effectiveness ranged from a low of 19% in 2014-2015 to a high of 60% in 2010-2011, with effectiveness being 40% and above in seven of those flu seasons.
Now the flu vaccine isn’t like eating a salmon avocado roll while listening to Adele sing “Rolling in the Deep.” It’s not perfect. Its effectiveness depends on how well the influenza virus strains put into the vaccine that year match the influenza virus strains that eventually circulate in the flu season. A good match means a higher effectiveness. A bad match means lower effectiveness. However, lower protection is still much better than no protection. After all, chances are you’ve never met someone who only wore underwear to work and told that person to take off underwear immediately because it doesn’t provide enough coverage. Or maybe you do, depending on what you like and where you work. Anyway, when it comes to the flu. some protection is better than no real protection.
So given all the scientific studies that have shown how effective the flu vaccine is at preventing flu and flu-related complications like death, what scientific evidence has Malone provided to support his claims about the flu vaccine? The answer rhymes with “caught a bowl-bot.” Yes, not very much.
sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) speaks during a panel discussion with (LR) Dr. Peter McCullough, Dr. Pierre … [+] Kory and Dr Robert Malone. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
His main argument seemed to be that he ‘knows the trade’. But how much demonstrable and verified experience does Malone have in studying the effectiveness of flu vaccines? Malone rose to prominence during the Covid-19 pandemic when he started making claims about Covid-19 and Covid-19 vaccines without backing up such claims with, you know, a little thing called evidence. For example, as I’ve discussed in Forbes before, Malone claimed in the Joe Rogan Experience podcast about Covid-19 vaccines: “Our government has no control over these and they are lawless. They’re completely ignoring bioethics, they’re ignoring the federal common rule completely, they’ve broken all the rules that I know I’ve been trained in for years and years, these experimental vaccine mandates are explicitly illegal.” He also suggested that the US government in 2021 resembled the Nazi German government in the 1930s and that they were somehow hypnotizing the public. Then there were Malone’s claims about the Covid-19 vaccines that “the science is settled. They don’t work,” as I reported for Forbes, Malone made such strong statements despite a number of studies showing that the Covid-19 vaccines have helped reduce the risk of serious Covid-19 outcomes.
It now looks like Malone has a bit of the flu from it, turning to (or against) seasonal flu vaccines. His claim that such flu vaccines are only recommended to “maintain warm base production” is a hot stack of you-know-what. It’s easy to make up any kind of conspiracy theory if you’re not asked by an interviewer on a podcast or TV show or a moderator on a panel to provide really concrete scientific evidence to support what you’re saying.