It's definitely not a perfect study, and I'm eager to see more research on the matter. It's just interesting in light of the whole the-vax-is-ineffective-but-some-is-better-than-none argument.
Study: Annual Flu Vax in Children and Subsequent Immunity
I've heard about natural flu exposure offering longterm partial protection a fcouple times in the main stream media, but never with citations or anything, it was just presented as medical fact. I wonder how many studies there are out there about it? Around here, during the H1N1 vax push, they didn't offer the vaccine to the age group with previous exposure to swine flu because the previous exposure was said to provide some protection even all these years later.
What happened with h1n1 was interesting. It was an anomalous flu in a lot of ways.
It was my understanding that the natural immunity from previous flu exposure is relatively broad, certainly far broader than the vax.
Now you're confusing me, which part has yet to be proven, and is there evidence that this year's flu won't offer partial protection against future years' strains, or is there just no evidence that it will? As I said, the statements I'd heard didn't come with citations, I'm curious to see what, if any research has been done, although I suspect that any that has been done would be pretty old (but still interesting) since current research is largely focused on the vaccine.
It hasn't been proven that flu infection induces some kind of broad immunity that will protect you from future flus. Having the flu will protect you better from THAT flu strain than the shot will. But since multiple strains circulate every year and change from year to year that's of little practical importance.
Okay, that's what I thought about it being a "not proven" situation. I'm quite aware that the flu mutates, and why, and it makes total sense that natural immunity can be more cross reactive than vax immunity. I bet if it's studied (or if it has been studied) for the more common strains of flu, the same phenomenon will be found. I don't think there's much financial incentive for that sort of study though.
Comparison to what? The authors were very clear that they were studying a CF population, and obviously results are generalizable only to that group. I do think the results of this study are salient because the flu shot gets pushed on such high-risk populations.
The flu virus mutates, true, but looks enough like the previous year's strain that the immune system recognizes it quickly. The theory is that because there was an all out production of t cells, some are still being produced a year later and match the newer strain of virus enough to lock on. I've heard that this protection generally lasts five years, then the virus is different enough that you are at risk again.
I've always heard a lot of people "get" the flu but it's asymptomatic or virtually so. My experience suggests this is true. In a household of five I was the only one who got the flu (the first time I have in about five years) and felt truly sick for several days. We are all in constant close contact. Three of my family got slight symptoms of the same illness at the same time or within days but didn't develop fully. Likely all five of us are now immune to that, including ds who developed no illness at all. So really only one of us got sick but we all got immunity--I'd bet that at the least the four people who had some symptoms fought it off for sure.
It doesn't require a commitment to suffer again and again and again every year to acquire immunity without vax. Howevre, we do not get to control the process like we think we are doing when we get shots.
My flu vulnerability seems to be in the neighborhood of the 5 years pattern for my entire life. I've never had a flu shot. Apparently the same pattern, approximately, applies to all of my children. It's actually unusual for there to be more than a cold or two in any given year in our household.