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How I Read a News Article

The Questions I Ask Myself

We read the news so quickly sometimes or so much out of habit that we are literally only skimming, and not paying much attention what is actually written; is it valid? Is something being omitted or not followed up on?

Here is an example. In order for you to understand what I mean. Please read the article 1st, before reading my comments, and then read the article again after reading my comments to see if you are left with the same interpretation.

“Ineffective flu vaccine partly responsible for spike in flu deaths”

CBC News

My comments:

547 people died from the flu virus this past winter in Canada.What was the health history of these people? Were they immuno-compromised in any way? What was the number of deaths vs. the amount of people who actually got the flu (although this is not a number that would be accurate because many people get the flu and don’t go see their doctor) – risk analysis?

A study found the vaccine offered no protection.

What study? What is the title of the study? Where is the link to the study so that I can read it for myself to find out the methodology, how many people were actually in the study?, what were the demographics of the people involved?, what was the health status of the people involved in the study prior to infection?, etc.

Reliability and validity?

A flu vaccine is created based on predictions made by the World Health Organization.
The word “prediction” really peaks my interest. It would be interesting to know what are the exact chances that the correct flu strain will be in the vaccine – 5%, 15%, 50%? Again, it’s the only way for someone to make a true risk/benefit analysis.

Always ask questions!

This is just one article out of many health articles that are published every day. It’s not easy to make our way through the maze of information that is out there these days.

My goal is not to discuss/debate flu vaccines, as this was just a random article that I used to demonstrate something to you. But one thing is for sure, we need to start “reading between the lines” a lot more and start asking a lot more questions, especially if our health is a stake – it’s our responsibility. And if you do come across something that you don’t understand or have questions about, please bring it to our attention; we might have the answers you are looking for!

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