A Doctor, A Television Show Host, and A Musician Walk Into A Television Studio…

A bit of advice, if you hear any form of the words “I’m not a doctor, but….” come out of someone’s mouth just turn around and walk away.  Better yet…run!  I think we all have a friend or familyBad Advice member who believes their personal experiences with illness or medication has awarded them a medical degree (or at least the knowledge to dole out medical advice), but for goodness sakes ignore it or at the very least confirm the information with an ACTUAL physician!  Who prompted this little rant? Piers Morgan, Dr. Oz, and Dwight Yoakam that’s who.  Seems like an odd combination of people so let me take a step back and explain.

On a recent episode of CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, Morgan received his “first ever flu shot;” live on-air, from Dr. Mehmet Oz.  Sounds great right?  Dr. Oz even had some notable words of wisdom for viewers explaining that the flu shot is “one of those smart things” and that vaccination is “beneficial with very low side effects.  We’ve got 130 million of these little vials out there to help people with.  Let’s take advantage of it.”  While prepping for his vaccine, Morgan asked a question that many people are concerned about.  He asked Dr. Oz to clarify the all too common belief that flu vaccination can actually cause the very illness it aims to prevent.  Dr. Oz clearly explained, “You cannot get the flu from the flu shot because the material is actually dead virus.”  Morgan and Dr. Oz then both reiterated that the notion of the flu actually causing illness is nothing more than a myth.

Great message and factual information aimed at helping prevent the spread of a vaccine-preventable disease.  So what’s the problem?  An issue arose when Morgan fell ill with flu-like symptoms ten days after receiving his vaccine.  Shortly after, singer Dwight Yoakam was the featured guest on Morgan’s show.  Almost immediately the two began discussing the host’s illness and even attributing it to his vaccination just days prior to its onset.  Things went from bad to worse when Morgan asked Yoakam what he should do about his sore throat.  The advice: “Don’t ever take a flu shot again.”  Unfortunately, Morgan apparently believes the myth (which has been dispelled by everyone from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)).  He replied by saying “We’re both doing the math, so I mean, we both saw him put that thing in my arm and within 10 days I’m struck down.”  Yoakam’s retort: “I’m not a medical advisor.  Get your vaccines if you…I don’t believe in them.”  Sounds like solid medical advice from a competent reliable medical professional, right?

What started out as a fantastic public platform to promote the safety, efficacy, and overall importance of vaccination against the flu quickly spiraled into the very misinformation it was intended to dispel.  Before making any medical decisions or taking any solicited (or unsolicited) advice relating to your health and safety talk to a doctor who can provide you with scientifically proven information.  It’s important to stick to what you know.  Maybe next time Dwight will focus on his music and Piers will provide commentary on issues he actually knows something about instead of contributing to misinformation that can be potentially fatal for those left unprotected.  Talk to your doctor today if you have concerns about any vaccination and remember it’s never too late to protect yourself from the flu!

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