Medical Officer of Health Gives False Statistics

Dr. Paul Mariquet, MD
Medical Officer of Health,
Coast Garibaldi Health Services
British Columbia

Dr. Martiquet,

I have your Coast Reporter Sept 30, 2001 "Healthy Choices" column in front of me. The emphasized quote under the headline "Get a ‘vaccine, not the flu!" states "6000 people died because of the flu in Canada last year, In the body of this article you state "....6000 died as a result of the flu or its complications." and "In British Columbia, 1,400 people die each year from the flu and from a complication of pneumonia."

I have just received influenza stats from the BC Ministry of Health Department of Vital Statistics. Their records show that in 2000, 80 people died as a direct result of influenza and 13 died as an indirect result giving the grand total of 93. And according to information received from them, some of this total would have been confirmed through tests but this would not have been the general case.

According to Health Canada information on the internet, the number of deaths due to influenza or its complications in Canada during the flu season each year is estimated to be 500 to 1,500. According to the Respiratory Viruses Section of the National Microbiology Lab, for the 1999 to 2000 season (4 Sept 1999 to 31 Aug 2000) a total of 5907 influenza cases (not deaths) were confirmed.

In October in a telephone conversation with a PHN named Leah, she told me that 30 to 50 children 0 to 11 years old die each year in BC from hep B. According to BC Vital Statistics, 0 (zero) children 0 to 14 years old died last year or during the last 10 years from hep B or its complications.

I would like to see a retraction of your false statistics published in "Healthy Choices" in the Coast Reporter Nov 18, 2001 edition, as well as in all other newspapers and websites where the above article was published. It should be printed in a similar manner to, and as clearly visible as the original statistics. In addition, if these statistics have been given to the public in any other way, I would like them retracted. If you fail to do these things I will feel compelled to go public with this issue myself.

Susan Fletcher
Sechelt, BC
Vaccination Risk Awareness Network