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Do Flu Shots Work??

This article on the flu and vaccines comes courtesy of Dr. Richard Burns of Palmer College of Chiropractic. Dr. Lopes liked it so much he is just passing it on to his patients with the following comment:

Whether or not you get a flu shot is your own decision. Having knowledge beyond the typical sales pitch to get a flu shot, much of which is Big Pharma’s (drug industry) marketing ploy along with a complicit CDC, is an important part of making an informed decision. We can no longer just depend on CDC and other government agency advice on these issues since the regulatory personnel are now not too distinguishable from the industry they regulate!

What You Need To Know About The Flu And Vaccines

J. Richard Burns D.C., D.Ph.C.S.

How many people really die of influenza every year? The following are from the Center of Disease Control:

2002: 753 died - (p.16) 2001: 267 died - (p.16) 2000: 2,175 died - (p.15)

1999: 1,685 died - (p.28)

Do flu shots work?

  • 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. It did not change the number of people needing to go to hospital or take time off work.”

Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy adults. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 1(2006).

  • Not in the Elderly: In a review of 64 studies in 98 flu seasons, Forelderly 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, ILI or pneumonia.

Vaccines for preventing influenza in the elderly. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 3(2006).

“The results [of this study] were not encouraging. Vaccination was associated with an 8% reduction in pneumonia during broadly defined influenza periods. During peak influenza periods, when influenza related pneumonia should be most common, vaccine effectiveness was –4% [meaning influenza vaccinated elderly were 4% more likely to come down with pneumonia than those who were not vaccinated].”

Influenza vaccination and risk of community-acquired pneumonia in immuno-competent elderly people: a population-based, nested case-control study. The Lancet Volume 372, Issue 9636, August 2, 2008, Pages 398-405

  • There is no evidence flu vaccines help elderly Americans avoid death from the disease, according to a study that tracked flu mortality rates during a 33-year period. Led by researchers from the National Institutes of Health, this study challenges standard government dogma. Yearly flu shots have been recommended for people 65 or older since the 1960's, and for those 50 or older since 2000. The study, found that vaccination rates had risen among the elderly to 65 percent in 2001 from 20 percent before 1980. But the researchers could find no corresponding decrease in death rates. Instead, the authors say, the government should consider extending vaccination to schoolchildren, the biggest spreaders of the virus. (By way of comment from Dr. Lopes-there is little proof that change to emphasize school children would be effective either-they just don’t seem to want to give up their dogmatic approach to this issue.)

Archives of Internal Medicine. February 12, 2005

  • A review published by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research, looked at 51 studies worldwide involving more than 250,000 children under age 16. The review uncovered few studies of children under age 2, and found that in studies of vaccines using killed virus -- the only kind approved for use in children under 5 – shots were no more effective than placebo.

The Washington Post, The Toddler Debate, Tuesday, January 31, 2006

  • The flu shot helps infants and children with asthma and congenital heart disease? Not at all. In fact a study published in Archives of Diseases of Children showed the opposite. The vaccinated group had a significantly increased risk of asthma-related clinic and emergency room visits.

Christy C, Aligne CA, Auinger P et al. Effectiveness of influenza vaccine for the prevention of asthma exacerbations. Arch Dis Child. 2004;89(8):734-735.

  • There is no good science to back new American and Canadian policies of vaccinating children under the age of 2 against the flu. The researchers also did not find any convincing evidence that vaccines have an effect on death rates, hospital admissions, serious complications and transmission of the flu. "In children below the age of 2, we could find no evidence that the vaccine works” lead author of the study, which appears in this issue of The Lancet."

HealthDay News Feb. 24, 2005

  • There is no proof that flu shots work well in children under 2, concludes a study released Friday - the second in as many weeks to seriously challenge the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's flu shot policies. "Immunization of very young children is not lent support by our findings,” wrote the researchers, led by Dr. Tom Jefferson of the Cochrane Vaccines Field in Rome. "We recorded no convincing evidence that vaccines can reduce mortality, admissions, serious complications and community transmission of influenza."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Published on: 02/26/05.

  • 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 years, it was only effective 33% of the time in preventing the flu.

“Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy children." The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2 (2008).

  • Not in children: Significant influenza vaccine effectiveness could not be demonstrated for any season, age, or setting after adjusting for county, sex, insurance, chronic conditions recommended for influenza vaccination, and timing of influenza vaccination (Vaccine Effectiveness estimates ranged from 7%-52% across settings and seasons for fully vaccinated 6- to 59-month-olds).

Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Among Children 6 to 59 Months of Age During 2 Influenza Seasons Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine October 2008;162(10):943-951.

  • Not in children with asthma: A study 800 children with asthma, 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 (ED) visits, and hospitalizations for asthma. CONCLUSION: This study failed to provide evidence that the influenza vaccine prevents pediatric asthma exacerbations.

Effectiveness of influenza vaccine for the prevention of asthma exacerbations. Christly, C. et al. Arch Dis Child. 2004 Aug;89(8):734-5.

  • Not in children with asthma (2): “The inactivated flu vaccine, Flumist, does not prevent influenza-related hospitalizations in children, especially the ones with asthma…In fact, children who get the flu vaccine are more at risk for hospitalization than children who do not get the vaccine.”

The American Thoracic Society’s 105th International Conference, May 15-20, 2009, San Diego.

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