Winter is upon us, which means that influenza is making its rounds. And this year is shaping up to be an especially bad flu season. But while the Center for Disease Control continues to advocate for patients to get their flu shots, Gloria Copeland, an evangelical minister who acts as a religious adviser to President Donald Trump, is disputing that advice.
In a video posted by the conservative website Right Wing Watch, Copeland said that faith in Jesus alone is enough to prevent influenza.
Copeland, who serves on Trump’s evangelical advisory board along with her husband, offered a prayer for those who are suffering from flu symptoms. She also said that “Jesus himself gave us the flu shot” and urged viewers to stave off the virus by thinking, “I’ll never have the flu.”
As of February 5th, 53 children have died of the flu in the 2017-2018 flu season. And acting CDC Director Anne Schuchat told CNN that this year has had the highest number of flu-related hospitalizations since 2010.
Despite what Copeland says, flu season is a well documented phenomenon. And although the flu vaccine varies in effectiveness from year to year, the CDC still recommends that most people get a shot every year. The organization suggests getting your shot in late October, but you can receive the vaccination even in February.
The flu shot is the most effective way to prevent influenza, period.
This year, the flu shot has been reported to be only about 10 percent effective against the most prevalent strain of the virus. But flu shots have very few side effects, and any reduction in the spread of flu, no matter how seemingly insignificant, can make a difference.
Copeland’s dismissal of modern medicine isn’t just illogical — it’s dangerous. Irresponsibly applied natural or alternative medicine can actually be bad for your health, so it’s important to listen to doctors and other trusted health care workers when determining how to fight off illness. We hope that everyone stays healthy this flu season.