Real Time host Bill Maher revisited his skepticism surrounding vaccines on Friday, while arguing that he was not specifically against measles vaccinations.
“I’m not an anti-vaxxer, I never have been,” he told his panel. “I’m an anti-flu shot guy. I think that’s bullsh*t and I think the fact that it was 23 percent effective this week bears that out. But if Ebola was airborne, I’d get the vaccine tomorrow.”
He complained that coverage of the issue demonized anti-vaccine arguments by unfairly comparing them to climate change deniers.
“I don’t think all science is alike,” Maher argued. “I think climate science is rather straightforward, ’cause you’re dealing with the Earth. It’s a rock. I’m not saying I know how to deal with it. But climate scientists, from the very beginning, have pretty much said the same thing. And their predictions have pretty much come true.”.
As ScienceBlogs reported last month, Maher has argued against flu vaccines for years, despite public criticism and a contentious 2009 interview with then-Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN), a heart surgeon who challenged him on his argument that pregnant women should not get the innoculation.
While Maher was correct about the CDC’s findings, he did not mention that the CDC had already sent an advisory stating that this year’s shot was developed before the spread of the strain of H3N2 virus responsible for that lack of effectiveness.
He also expressed doubt whether patients who get vaccines have stronger immune systems over the long run, saying that there have been increases in medical issues like auto-immune disorders, colds, and ear infections, among others.
“I’m not saying the vaccines caused them,” he argued. “I’m saying, I think there’s a lot of environmental factors that causes this sh*t.”
He then suggested that not using one’s immune system made them more vulnerable to these types of diseases, and was backed up by Amy Holmes. a host for Glenn Beck’s TV channel, The Blaze.
“Certainly there’s concerns about women being put on birth control pills starting in their early teen years, and having that in their systems for the next 25 to 30 years,” Holmes added.
Author Marianne Williamson said that, while she believes in vaccines for the public good, the government had lost its “moral authority” to issue directives on the issue.
“We know that the government has suppressed information,” she said. “We know that the medical establishment has suppressed information and withheld information. At this point, even when they say something that we should listen to, people have a skepticism, and that’s the real problem.”
Watch the discussion, as posted online on Friday, below.
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