Just one week ago, I posted an article on new discoveries about the immune system and how they help explain the inefficacy of the flu shot. Not surprisingly, it stirred up some controversy, and many in our community voiced their opinions loud and clear.
I, for one, was not surprised. Immunization is a volatile topic since we are told that the flu vaccine is on the cutting edge of science and is an iron-clad way to stay healthy during the influenza season.
However, a study published this week may prove otherwise.
New and Shocking Flu Shot Study
Coincidentally, one of the world’s most respected medical journals – The Lancet Infectious Diseases – released a long-range study on October 26, 2011, that for the first time ever reviews the efficacy and effectiveness of flu shots dating back from 1967 to 2011.
Titled “Efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines: a systematic review and meta-analysis”, the study authors reveal that…
“Evidence for protection in adults aged 65 years or older is lacking.” 1
And what’s more, the study further found that “flu shots prevent only 59% of infections in adults”.1 This does not mean, however, that for every 100 adults that get vaccinated 59 were protected by the flu shot. The 59% figure represents a “pooled efficacy of 59% in adults aged 18 to 65 years.”1
So in reality, the numbers for adults are much lower, since the study revealed the highest efficacy of the flu vaccine in children aged 6 months to 7 years.1
And what about reducing the number of hospitalizations due to the seasonal flu? It showed a mere 8% reduction.
Lead researcher Michael Osterholm seems jolted by what many in the medical establishment consider shocking results. In an interview with USA Today he states that,
“We have an obligation to tell the public what we know. We know we need better vaccines.” 2
Indeed, Osterholm’s team concludes that,
“Influenza vaccines can provide moderate protection against virologically confirmed influenza, but such protection is greatly reduced or absent in some seasons. Evidence for protection in adults aged 65 years or older is lacking.”
This most recent study is making big news around the medical world. But the question is, how much evidence is necessary for the medical establishment to realize that the answer to reduce influenza outbreaks is to focus on health rather than on disease.
Because previous studies have already shown similar results. Just to give one example, back in 2007, The Lancet published the study titled “Mortality benefits of influenza vaccination in elderly people: an ongoing controversy” that basically arrived to the same conclusion as today’s study.3
Quoting from the article, the authors write this stunning statement:
“We conclude that frailty selection bias and use of non-specific endpoints such as all-cause mortality have led cohort studies to greatly exaggerate vaccine benefits.” 3
Reduce Your Risk… Protect Yourself Naturally
This study further confirms my contention, that what’s most important is to remember that you can prevent catching the flu by following simple natural protocols to boost your immune system. If you haven’t yet (or if you need a refresher), read my previous blog post titled ‘The Flu Shot: Everything You Need to Know'. You’ll find my common-sense suggestions to naturally arm yourself against the flu and stay in top shape.
Stay informed and healthy!
1 Osterholm M T, et al. “Efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines: a systematic review and meta-analysis”. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Early Online Publication, 26 October 2011.
3 Simonsen L, et al. “Mortality benefits of influenza vaccination in elderly people: and ongoing controversy”. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Volume 7, Issue 10, Pages 658 – 666, October 2007