Vaccines

The arrival of fall also brings the fearful buzz of the approaching flu season, with media hysteria to get the flu shot.

I know it’s hysteria and we do feel fearful but before you make the choice to get the flu shot-or… NOT, you should at least know the facts.

According to the CDC, between 5 and 20 percent of the U.S. population develops influenza each year, with 200,000 hospitalized from its complications and about 36,000 deaths.

Interesting isn’t it, how the number of deaths doesn’t change annually, regardless of the severity of the annual outbreak…,

But the American Lung Association HAS kept detailed statistics on flu-related deaths and in the last year published their findings

It’s NOT 36,000 deaths but an annual death rate of 1,244 persons.

Flu deaths are only a SMALL percentage of frequently stated 36,000 deaths per year.  The 36,000 is a combined figure for both  flu and pneumonia. Flu deaths are typically 1 to 4% of the combined total of 36,000.  The remaining 34,750 are actually pneumonia deaths.
…………

Last year was probably one of the largest flu vaccination campaigns EVER across the world.
Let’s review the latest meta-analysis by the respected Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.  They concluded vaccinations keep coming up short in study after study – way short – when it comes to what matters most, which is reducing illness and mortality from the flu.

The lead researcher Dr. Roger Thomas said:

“What troubled us is that [shots] had no effect on laboratory-confirmed influenza.

What we were looking for is proof that influenza (true influenza not just a virus) … is decreased. We Didn’t find it.

We looked for proof that pneumonia is reduced. We Didn’t find it.

We looked for proof deaths from pneumonia are reduced. We Didn’t find it.”

There’s no shortage of evidence backing up the claim that flu shots are ineffective, and that OTHER anti-flu strategies DO work!  So it’s increasingly difficult to justify the stance that yearly flu vaccinations are based on scientific evidence showing demonstrable benefits.

Don’t make this a shot on faith…   So let’s review the Science…

Do Flu Shots Work?

Not in babies:
In a review of more than 51 studies involving more than 294,000 children it was found there was “no evidence that injecting children 6-24 months of age with a flu shot was any more effective than placebo.  In children over 2 yrs, it was only effective 33% of the time in preventing the flu.

Not in children with asthma: 800 children with asthma, where one half were vaccinated and the other half did not receive the influenza vaccine. The two groups were compared with respect to clinic visits, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations for asthma. CONCLUSION: This study failed to provide evidence that the influenza vaccine prevents pediatric asthma exacerbations.

Not in adults:
In a review of 48 reports including more than 66,000 adults, “Vaccination of healthy adults only reduced risk of influenza by 6% and reduced the number of missed work days by less than one day (0.16) days.

Not in the Elderly:
In a review of 64 studies in 98 flu seasons, for elderly living in nursing homes, flu shots were non-significant for preventing the flu.  For elderly living in the community, vaccines were not (significantly) effective against influenza, or pneumonia.

So the question is, why do we continue doing something that has been proven ineffective many times over?  As the saying goes, “Insanity is doing the same thing again and again, expecting different results.”

References:

“Vaccines for preventing influenza in the elderly.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 3(2006).
The current review in question looked at the effectiveness of immunizing nursing-home workers to protect the elderly in their care. After reviewing five studies conducted between 1997 and 2009, the results show the vaccination campaigns had NO EFFECT on the number of confirmed influenza cases.

They also concluded that vaccinating staff has no proven impact on reducing the number of related pneumonia cases, or pneumonia-linked deaths.”

Here are several other examples showing that flu vaccines do not work for ANY age group:
•    A study published in the October 2008 issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine found that vaccinating young children against the flu had no impact on flu-related hospitalizations or doctor visits during two recent flu seasons.  The researchers concluded that “significant influenza vaccine effectiveness could not be demonstrated for any season, age, or setting” examined.
•    A 2008 study published in the Lancet found that influenza vaccination was NOT associated with a reduced risk of pneumonia in older people. This also supports an earlier study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
•    Research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine also confirms that there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza and pneumonia in the elderly, despite the fact that vaccination coverage among the elderly has increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent.
•    In 2007, researchers with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the National Institutes of Health published this conclusion in the Lancet Infectious Diseases: “We conclude that frailty selection bias and use of non-specific endpoints such as all-cause mortality, have led studies to greatly exaggerate vaccine benefits.”
•    A large-scale, systematic review of 51 studies, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2006, found no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo in children under 2. The studies involved 260,000 children, age 6 to 23 months.