A nonsense article with the headline “ ABC: Experts say flu shot potentially caused the flu epidemic (Shocker, in mainstream no less)” is circulating online.
Like many articles relating to this conspiracy nonsense niche, the headline doesn’t match the actual content within the article itself, and is merely used to mislead readers who may only give the actual content a casual glance.
The headline implies that the article is somehow related to the ABC News Channel, and that an expert has claimed the flu shot potentially caused the recent flu epidemic. However both the implication and the assertion are false. The content of the article confirm neither.
Firstly, the article includes a quote from a public health nurse Anna Treague (presumably the expert mentioned in the headline) that reads as follows –
I believe that the low effective rate of the vaccine this year is due to the mutations that the virus made in the processing of the vaccine itself… That is at LEAST part of the reason that influenza cases are so widespread this year.
The author of this nonsense article, Erin Elizabeth, appears to have somehow managed to misconstrue that quote to believe it means that the flu shot was (or is) somehow causing the flu epidemic, when that is not the case at all.
What the nurse actually means is that flu vaccines are only designed to provide sufficient protection against certain strains of influenza, and if the influenza virus in the real world mutates at the same time as authorities are developing a vaccine, then that vaccine may not be able to provide sufficient protection against those mutated strains.
Basically, yes the vaccine wasn’t as effective as it has been in previous years, but this absolutely does not mean the influenza shot is dangerous, or causing the epidemic. In fact, in the article, the quoted nurse Anna Treague still advises readers to get the vaccine, something which seems to confuse the author Erin Elizabeth, who clearly hasn’t managed to grasp what the nurse was saying, accusing her of “cognitive dissonance”.
Secondly, the headline quotes ABC and mainstream media. However ABC isn’t mentioned in the article at all and doesn’t appear to have covered this at all.
Essentially, the article is misleading from start to finish. The author, Erin Elizabeth, makes sure to include in her bio that she was the recipient of a “Truth in Journalism” award in 2017. Given the nature of this article, we would take that with a pinch of salt.