Originally Posted by teacozy
Myth #6: Flu vaccines don’t work. (Um, they do work.)
I decided I was going to tackle this point as lots of evidence shows the flu vaccine is not very effective. However, I don't really need to tackle it in a big way - she actually did a good job discussing the ineffectiveness of the flu shot. Her title bites, though, as it implies the flu vaccine is more effective than it is.
A few stats by demographic to fleshthings out:
"It found that a flu shot cut an older adult's risk of contracting a case of influenza A H3N2 that needed medical care by only nine per cent. When the scientists calculated the overall effectiveness — the vaccine's ability to prevent medically attended flu caused by both flu A and B viruses — the estimate was 27 per cent for older adults." Ouch.
Children under 2:
"Feb 25, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – An analysis of 24 studies yielded no clear evidence that influenza vaccines prevent flu in children younger than 2 years old, though they work reasonably well in older children, according to a new report in The Lancet.
"Immunization of very young children is not lent support by our findings," says the report by T. Jefferson of Cochrane Vaccines Field in Alessandria, Italy, and colleagues from there and the University of Oxford in England."
I would read the whole article, though, some people though it was a bit more effective than the above quote - but still not very effective.
The article did not touch on the possibility that flu shots actually increase the likelihood you will get sick with something else:
There is this article out of Canada discussing how those given the flu shot were more likely to get H1N1:
And there is the study on kids with cystic fibrosis and the flu shot, and how getting the flu shot led to building up less antibodies for other strains:
"Children who were not vaccinated built up more antibodies across a wider variety of influenza strains than kids who were vaccinated, the small study found."
It would be nice if they did a study on healthy vaccinated and healthy unvaccinated kids and compared anitbody levels, hopefully such a study will be forthcoming.
If vaccines were 100% safe, then questions of efficacy would not be overly important. People would still want better efficacy, but any efficacy rate is better than no efficacy rate if a vaccine is 100% safe. When vaccines are not safe, efficacy comes into the equation: at what point do safety concerns trump the possibly small amount of protection provided?