FDA: add “Shingles” as “Side Effect”
FDA sent a letter to Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. August 28, 2014:
We have approved your request (to) update the Package Insert, Section 6.3 Postmarketing Experience to include “infections and infestations: Herpes zoster (vaccine strain)” and to update the Patient Package Insert to include “Shingles” in the “What are the possible side effects of ZOSTAVAX?” section.
The Magic Bullet: Vaccination
Years of propaganda touting the influenza vaccine every “flu season” have turned many of us into Pavlovian dogs that salivate at the sound of a bell because we’ve been taught to associate it with dinner. We have all been “taught” for decades to associate vaccines with the eradication of some natural malady or other. When we hear the latest vaccine advertising pitch – which cleverly doesn’t sound like advertising – and always leads with the horrors of what is going to happen to us if we don’t vaccinate, we can’t wait to run to Wal-Mart or Walgreen’s or to our own doctors to preempt this terrible scourge with the magic vaccine bullet.
Problem, Reaction, Solution
It is the oldest advertising trick in the book – a riff off the old Hegelian Dialectic: Problem, Reaction, Solution – and the most effective. In the case of the shingles vaccine, we are shown horrific pictures of people uglified with red skin rashes, and given their horror stories of the terrible pain associated with shingles. Sometimes the pictures are animated reproductions, or something, but we get the idea: Yikes! How do I keep this terrible thing from happening to me? Help! (Shingles can be a problem, of course, but it’s also a complete non sequitur to imagine this Zostavax vaccine is the answer; let’s stay focused.)
Help is on the way, of course, with the magic of vaccines. Whether you favor left-leaning propaganda from MSNBC, say, or the New York Times, or whether you prefer right-leaning flavor from Fox News or The Wall Street Journal, the answer is the same: Get yourself vaccinated and you can once again sleep the sleep of the righteous.
Shingles Vaccine causes Shingles
The problem is that shingles vaccine, in this case, doesn’t work very well. And just one more small thing, hardly worth a mention, really: The shingles vaccine can give you the very disease its maker and media pushers claim it will protect you from.
But forget all that. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. Just go ahead and play it like the vaccine lottery. Those shingles vaccine “side effects” are so rare, every major media outlet will tell you, and the horrors of shingles so great, that the vaccine is worth the risk.
Just take your marching orders and go get yourself vaccinated. Don’t make waves. Don’t ask wearisome questions. Follow the herd.