Nothing says “genuine concern for public health” like giving people beer in exchange for taking a flu vaccine. For those health officials not paying attention to the stats, booze is responsible for 13.2% of deaths in Montana for those between the ages of 20 and 64. Each year, more than 8,713 Montans die from alcohol-related diseases or accidents. The seasonal flu, on the other hand, kills about 60 Montanans each year.
In a state that suffers from alcoholism (it ranks 4th nationwide), one would think that handing off free booze to Montanans in exchange for a flu vaccine with a 45% success rate would be a bad public health decision. With 3.11 gallons of booze drunk each year per capita, we probably don’t need to have more of it shoved in our faces by health officials who are bad at doing a basic cost-benefit analysis.
Nonetheless, the Missoula Health Department has given its blessing to Cranky Sam Public House in its “Get a brew, not the flu” drinking campaign.
Kyle Austin, a pharmacist with Pharm406 in Billings, went to the bar to administer 200 doses of the flu vaccine. In return, the bar gave everyone a coupon for a free beer.
Cindy Farr, with the Missoula County Health Department, said, “If you get your flu shot, you can be protected against the flu, so if you were to get COVID, then you don’t have to worry about having them both at the same time which could just make the illness from either one much more severe.”
That the flu vaccine definitively protects against the flu is actually not true, and if there were any fairness in the world, an army of third-party “independent fact checkers” would call the claim false. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released a report that says the 2019-2020 flu vaccine 50% effective against Influenza B and 37% effective for Influenza A, giving it an over-all success rate of 46% for those two strands combined.
Ironically, drinking alcohol after receiving a flu shot is not recommended by health experts. While drinking alcohol after a flu shot will not render the shot completely ineffective, at least if it’s the more popular varieties of Fluzone, Afluria, Fluad, Flucelvax, Flublok, and Fluarix, the vaccine can cause headaches (and does in more than 50% of adults), and so does alcohol consumption. Experts think the two in a combination might cause even worse headaches. According to the CDC, drinking alcohol can suppress your immune system, which is not something health officials should want during a ‘pandemic.’ One vaccine site says “It is sensible to avoid alcohol within several hours of taking the flu shot.”
Apparently, health officials are so caught upon pushing vaccines they seem to have little concern for the overall wellbeing and health of Montanans.