Get your flu shots -- and ignore Bill Maher

Get your flu shots -- and ignore Bill Maher
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I just want to endorse Linda Bergthold's recent HuffPo column about Bill Maher. Maher is a funny guy who often displays a sharp intellect. On matters of public health, however, my view of him parallels President Obama's opinion of Kanye West.

As Bergthold notes, there is a lot of good evidence out there indicating that seasonal flu and H1N1 immunization are safe and valuable to protect the public health. There is also a lot of misinformation out there from misguided celebrities among others. Dubious claims sometimes even find their way onto Huffington Post. You should enjoy these web pages and learn from many fine columnists, including a huge number of bona fide public health experts. You should always remember, however, that venues such as this one are not positioned to provide authoritative or scrutinized medical advice regarding vaccines and other matters. You should certainly remember that sincere and passionate celebrities such as Bill Maher and Jenny McCarthy don't always get things right.

A far more credible source, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports the obvious: By getting a flu shot, you are protecting your health. You are also protecting others, including elderly people and those with immune system challenges in your community. You are saving lives.

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