The flu shot. Influenza vaccine effectiveness. Doesn’t matter what you call it, it is the center of controversy. There are the opponents, and then there is seemingly every public health recommendation and forced mandatory vaccination in many hospitals across the country.
If all the public health officials and departments as well as the hospitals are pushing it so hard, everyone else has to be delusional, right?
Count me in the delusional group. It is not that influenza cannot be dangerous; it certainly can. But the number of deaths associated with influenza is far, far fewer than most realize and the government proposes.
Given that I’m a self-proclaimed research junkie and that influenza vaccination effectiveness is always on my watch list, what does the research actually say about the effectiveness of the flu vaccine?
The single most recent and comprehensive review I have come across was the subject of a massive review funded by the federal government that was published in December of 2012 (I reviewed this review back in December and that can be read by clicking here), Here is a summary of the results:
- The greatest risk of influenza complications occur in the elderly. That means that there is very little evidence that either vaccine works in the group we really need it to work in.
- Healthy adults showed strong evidence ONLY for the dead virus vaccine, but, in general, this group is the least likely to suffer complications.
- The only group that showed high protection was 6 months to 7 years for the live vaccine, but the live vaccine (LAIV) is only licensed here in the US from 2 years on.
Let’s put the risks into perspective. In 2003-04, according to the CDC’s own numbers, 42 children died of the flu. 40% of these had underlying chronic conditions that adversely affected their health. You can read this info in a previous block post by clicking here.
Taking all of this together, can anyone actually tell me just why any hospital should have mandatory vaccination???
This particular review is part of this process and shines the bright light on our world’s obsession with the influenza vaccination despite paltry results at best. Remember this next time your doctor suggests that flu jab.