By Paul Bremmer
The surgeon general of the United States recently showed up on Sesame Street to try to convince kids to get vaccinated, and his spiel was pitched “at the appropriate intellectual level,” according to one prominent medical doctor.
“It just puts the argument down on a juvenile plane and insults people’s intelligence,” said Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. “Because these little kids are not the people you need to be talking to. The people you need to be talking to are the parents who are making the decisions.”
In the video released late last week, Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general, arrived on Sesame Street to comfort Elmo as the muppet nervously waited to get a vaccination.
“Why does Elmo need a vaccination anyway?” the young monster asked.
Murthy told Elmo getting vaccinated is just like carrying an umbrella when it rains or wearing a helmet while riding a tricycle. He explained vaccines provide the body with information to help make antibodies that fight germs.
Orient scoffed at Murthy’s comparison.
“It’s not a question of do you have an umbrella in the rain, it’s a question of whether vaccines have more risks than benefits,” she told WND.
Dr. Lee Hieb, past president of the AAPS, agreed the surgeon general made a bad analogy.
“There’s no downside to wearing a helmet,” said Hieb, author of “Surviving the Medical Meltdown: Your Guide to Living Through the Disaster of Obamacare.” “There’s no allergic reaction or risk of death or infirmity from putting an umbrella up unless it pokes you in the eye. I mean, those things don’t have side effects. I think that’s absolutely criminal for the surgeon general to say.”
According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, any vaccine can cause mild fever, shivering, fatigue, headache, muscle and joint pain, or pain, swelling, and redness at the injection site. Some people develop allergic reactions after vaccination that include an itchy rash or, in rare cases, breathing difficulty and physical collapse. However, the NHS claims most vaccine side effects are “mild and short-lived.”
The National Vaccine Information Center, on the other hand, warns consumers that some vaccines may cause such complications as brain inflammation, chronic arthritis, chronic nervous system dysfunction, shock, seizures, and even death. The website lists several symptoms that may be caused by vaccines if they occur in the first few hours, days, or weeks after vaccination. These include paralysis of any body part, severe diarrhea, chronic ear or respiratory problems, excessive bruising or bleeding, social withdrawal, head banging, changes in sleep patterns, hours of inconsolable crying, and memory loss, among others.
“All medical procedures have both risks and benefits,” Orient emphasized. “Some vaccines are very important, some are less important. All of them have potential side effects, and in every case, it’s the right of the patient or the person who’s making decisions for the patient to weigh the risks and the benefits, and not just blindly follow a rigid schedule that’s set up by an unaccountable government bureaucracy that is heavily influenced by vested special interests.”
Hieb agrees that a person’s decision on whether to vaccinate needs to include a careful cost-benefit analysis.
“When parents see a benefit from a vaccine, like for smallpox and polio – there’s no question they didn’t want their children to get those things,” Hieb said. “They were willing to accept the moderate risk of having a vaccine to get rid of the significant risk of the diseases. Just like people choose value in their other purchases, sometimes they realize there’s not value in a vaccine and there’s more risk than they’re willing to assume.”
Near the end of the video, a nurse showed up onscreen to give Elmo his shot, and Murthy suggested that Elmo turn around and sing a song so he wouldn’t feel any pain. Elmo did this and didn’t even notice when the nurse stuck the needle in his arm.
Upon learning that the shot was all over, Elmo remarked, “That was so easy. Why doesn’t everybody get a vaccination?”
“That’s a good question, Elmo,” Murthy replied as he turned to the camera and stroked his chin, seemingly speaking directly to vaccine skeptics. “That’s a good question.”
Hieb was revolted by the Obama administration’s one-sided presentation of the vaccine issue.
“Here they are, going to Sesame Street and propagandizing children and their mothers, too, who are watching the show with them, that vaccines make people well, and we should all get vaccinated and be good little soldiers in the war against disease,” Hieb said. “Basically, that’s the principle.”
Of course, Murthy is not the first person to try and spread the Obama administration’s message to kids on Sesame Street. Michelle Obama has appeared on the show many times to promote her “Let’s Move!” campaign by teaching the characters about healthy eating and exercise.
Orient believes it’s unnecessary to explain to kids how vaccines work in the first place. She said all medical professionals need to do is make the experience as pleasant as possible for nervous children.
“Why do you need to talk to kids about vaccines?” Orient asked. “I don’t know why you need a video for kids about going to the doctor to get a shot.”
She believes the surgeon general was simply capitalizing on January’s Disneyland measles outbreak, which, coincidentally, was declared over last week.
“Of course, they will take advantage of any crisis,” Orient said.