does the flu shot really protect the elderly from the flu?

THE ELDERLY AND THE FLU
IS A FLU SHOT REALLY IN YOUR BEST INTEREST?

Flu Vaccine Damage

Quelle: Deutsche Fotothek

“The news got worse Thursday when the CDC revised its estimates of the flu vaccine’s effectiveness downward even further, from 23% to 18%.   And there’s more bad news: Early numbers show that for the second flu season in a row, the FluMist nasal spray, aimed mainly at children, didn’t work at all for kids ages 2 through 8.  That was a bit awkward for the CDC, which had just advised doctors that they choose the nasal spray over the shot for younger kids. Previous studies had suggested that FluMist was more protective than injections for kids in this age group.  The real effectiveness [of the flu shot] probably sits in a range between 6% and 29%, says Brendan Flannery, PhD, of the Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC.”   From the February 26, 2015 issue of WebMD (Flu Vaccine Just 18% Effective This Year)

VACCINES can be a controversial topic; frequently eliciting debate; particularly when it comes to discussing the ineffectiveness of the Flu Shot.  Yesterday I showed you that according to the CDC’s own statistics, the FLU VACCINATION is not nearly as effective as we have all been led to believe — particularly in the geriatric (over 65) population.  Yet our own government continues to browbeat citizens and incite unwarranted fear — especially in the elderly — via taxpayer-funded ads and PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS; acting as though being vaccinated against the flu is the only thing standing between the American people and their grave.  There’s no doubt that these ads have worked (see Cochran’e Interventions to Increase Influenza Vaccination Rates of Those 60 Years and Older in the Community).  The real question we need to be asking is whether these efforts matter as far as preventing flu is concerned..

According to the CDC’s website (Seasonal Influenza Vaccine & Total Doses Distributed), there were just over 12 million doses of flu vaccine distributed in America in 1980.  The number of doses distributed has steadily increased since then to the point that  today that number stands at about 150 million — approximately a 1,100% increase over the past 35 years.  The overall rate of flu vaccination here in America is around 47%, with 44% of adults being vaccinated, and almost 60% of our nation’s children receiving either the shot or the MIST.  As of a couple weeks ago (the end of October), there had been 123.7 million doses of the vaccine distributed so far this year.  It’s not a stretch to say that numbers of people getting flu shots each year — particularly among the elderly — have skyrocketed, mostly do to using the media to scare them into taking the shots. 

What has the monetary cost of this nearly four-decade long vaccination program been?  There is no way to tell for sure, but suffice it to say, it has been in the hundreds of billions.  The CDC tells us that it is money well spent because the direct costs of the flu each year (medical care and hospitalization) are 10.4 billion, with missed work time costing 16.3 billion).  By the time these vaccines get to your arm, they cost (either directly out of your pocket, via the American taxpayer if you are on Medicare or Medicaid, or through your health insurance premiums) anywhere from $25-$50, depending on exactly which vaccine you choose to receive (Standard or Quadrivalent).

Ten years ago, one of the many journals put out by the American Medical Association (JAMA Internal Medicine) published a study by a group of physicians and researchers called Impact of Influenza Vaccination on Seasonal Mortality in the US Elderly Population.  Interestingly enough, its purpose was not so much to determine whether or not the flu vaccine saved elderly lives — that was a foregone conclusion (the authors readily admitted their pre-study bias later on).  The purpose of the study was to determine exactly how many elderly lives are saved by annual flu shots.  If you are not a regular reader of my site, the conclusions may shock you.

Influenza vaccination coverage among elderly persons (65 years or older) in the United States increased from between 15% and 20% before 1980 to 65% in 2001.  Unexpectedly, estimates of influenza-related mortality in this age group also increased during this period.”   The researchers recalculated again and again, trying to figure out what “confounders” could possibly be skewing the results to make it look as though people actually had a greater chance of dying if they had the shots than if they didn’t.  It turns out that there were no confounders — elders who got the flu shot had a significantly greater chance of dying than their non-inoculated brethren.  Listen to the author’s conclusions of this study that was actually a meta-analysis of many similar studies.

We could not correlate increasing vaccination coverage after 1980 with declining mortality rates in any age group. Because fewer than 10% of all winter deaths were attributable to influenza in any season, we conclude that observational studies substantially overestimate vaccination benefit…..    This vast disconnect between conclusions from different studies must be sorted out.

No benefit for any age group?  What the heck is going on?  And what is the “disconnect” the authors are talking about?  Not surprisingly, they also found that, “a systematic bias exists in observational studies” having to do with flu vaccines.  In other words, individual studies often made it seem like flu shots actually did what the government and our doctors have been telling us they do — prevent the flu and save lives.  However, when the big picture was observed, they found no benefit to the flu shot whatsoever.  In fact, it was actually associated with higher mortality (rates of death).  Believe me when I tell you that “disconnect” and “bias” are are a death knell if you happen to be a mainstream researcher working in our nation’s UNIVERSITY SYSTEM side by side the pharmaceutical industry — who is likely funding the study and paying your salary.

A year later, the journal Vaccine published a similar study — this one done in Italy — whose title tells the story; “Influenza-Related Mortality in the Italian Elderly: No Decline Associated with Increasing Vaccination Coverage.   Instead of going back to 1980, this study went clear back to 1970 and concluded that, “….no decline in age-adjusted excess mortality was associated with increasing influenza vaccination distribution primarily targeted for the elderly.  These findings suggest that either the vaccine failed to protect the elderly against mortality, and/or the vaccination efforts did not adequately target the frailest elderly.  As in the US, our study challenges current strategies to best protect the elderly against mortality.”   Straightforward and to the point.  Flu shots don’t even come close to doing what they are being touted to do by the CDC and the rest of America’s vaccination police.

That same year, two individuals who were part of both studies (Drs. W Paul Glezen; Professor Emeritus of Virology and Microbiology at Baylor’s School of Medicine, and Lone Simonsen; Research Professor for the Department of Global Health, and Research Director, and Co-Director for the MPH Global Health Epidemiology Program at George Washington University) wrote a commentary on this most controversial of topics for the International Journal of Epidemiology called Benefits of Influenza Vaccine in US Elderly—New Studies Raise Questions.   

Although these renowned researchers touted the same old WORN OUT AND LONG AGO DISPROVED STATISTICS on flu mortality (namely that it kills 50,000 people each year — a dramatic increase from the over-inflated 36,000 that is most commonly bantered around), they came to some fascinating conclusions.  “During the period from 1989 to 1997 the vaccination rate for elderly persons 65 years of age or older in the US increased from 30 to 67%. Despite this increase in coverage, mortality and hospitalization rates continued to increase rather than decline as would be expected if the vaccine were optimally efficacious.”  The authors went on to describe the current research into flu vaccinations as having, “serious bias“.  What does this sort of bias lead to?  That’s easy; “Overestimated vaccine benefits” —- something that CONTINUES UNABATED HERE IN AMERICA.  Their solution to this entire conundrum?  It shouldn’t be difficult for you to guess.

Because these researchers are not fans of freedom-of-choice when it comes to vaccines, but instead hardcore flu vaccine advocates, their suggestions for solving this problem reflected thusly.  When it comes to flu shots, they want everyone (your babies included) to be FORCED to get this vaccine — “a universal recommendation that would include all school children.  School children could be accessible through school-based vaccine clinics allowing rapid administration of vaccine to large numbers representing all socioeconomic groups within a short period of time.” 

Despite their own research, they have talked themselves into believing that if we (America) could just immunize every man , woman, and childe, it would somehow keep the elderly from dying; or at least keep them from dying of the flu.  The problem is, if you click my previous link on Disproved Statistics, you will see that this is not true, mostly because it is based on any number of completely false premises.  It also happened to be disproved by these same researchers, who, in the first study discussed today, stated that they, “could not correlate increasing vaccination coverage after 1980 with declining mortality rates in any age group.”  What part of “any age group” do they not understand?

Ask any doctor who deals with the ‘frail elderly‘ on a day to day basis.  There comes a point when these individuals become so weak and feeble that the next infection or physical insult that comes along — be it a COMMON COLD, SINUS INFECTION, COUGH, flu, 24 HOUR BUG (gastroenteritis), or whatever happens to come down the pike — will likely be their demise.  Did the flu actually “kill” them?  No; they died of a natural phenomenon called old age that frequently manifests with increasingly poor health.  However, don’t be surprised to see “flu” end up on the death certificate, where it will become a statistic to be used to coerce (or “force”) you and your family to be vaccinated (HERE).

After trying to account for “frailty” as a confounder, a study published in a 2007 issue of The Lancet Infectious Disease (Mortality Benefits of Influenza Vaccination in Elderly People: An Ongoing Controversy) ran into the same brick wall as other similar studies.  “Recent excess mortality studies were unable to confirm a decline in influenza-related mortality since 1980, even as vaccination coverage increased from 15% to 65%. Paradoxically, whereas those studies attribute about 5% of all winter deaths to influenza, many cohort studies report a 50% reduction in the total risk of death in winter—a benefit ten times greater than the estimated influenza mortality burden. New studies, however, have shown substantial unadjusted selection bias in previous cohort studies.  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. The remaining evidence base is currently insufficient to indicate the magnitude of the mortality benefit, if any, that elderly people derive from the vaccination programme.

Three years later, the Cochrane Collaboration (a universally respected global independent network of nearly 40,000 researchers, physicians, and professionals) published a meta-analysis of their own called Vaccines for Preventing Influenza in Healthy Adults.  After looking at more than 50 studies of over 80,000 individuals, the researchers came to some conclusions that were as shocking as they were interesting.

“Parenterally administered influenza vaccines [a fancy name for shots] appear significantly better than their comparators and can reduce the risk of developing influenza symptoms by around 4%, if the WHO recommendations are adhered to and the match is right. However, whilst the vaccines do prevent influenza symptoms, this is only one part of the spectrum of “clinical effectiveness” as they reduce the risk of total “clinical” seasonal influenza symptoms by around 1%.  We found no evidence that vaccines prevent viral transmission or complications.  Implications for practice:  The results of this review seem to discourage the utilisation of vaccination against influenza in healthy adults as a routine public health measure.”

Did you catch that?  Go back and re-read it until you grasp the magnitude of what this study is really saying.  Even though the CDC is telling you that flu shots are 50% effective in a good year (see YESTERDAY’S POST), this “independent” meta-analysis is telling us that at best, the flu shot is 4% effective in a good year — a year when the ‘experts’ correctly guess all three viruses to put in next year’s vaccine (something that has not occurred in over a decade).  But on average, the flu shot is only 1% effective. 

One percent?  Are you joking me?  Is this a freaking misprint?  4% is barely even statistically significant, let alone 1%.   This is just another of the many reasons it is critical for you to understand that right along with our government who is running this show, Orwellianly-named “EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE” cannot be trusted.   And as for the idea that we can counter-balance the flu-based mortality / morbidity of the old and frail by immunizing the young —- it has repeatedly shown itself to be a pipe-dream as well — may even worse (HERE).  All of which is doubly interesting considering 99% of the population can’t even accurately tell you what the Flu really is (HERE).

If you begin to dig around online, you will quickly find massive financial links between the researchers who actually do the studies, the universities that employ them (see my earlier link), the politicians that MANDATE THE VACCINES FOR EVERYONE, and the barkers at the top who are actually running the carnival —- BIG PHARMA.  If you want to see how this works on many different levels, just start looking at the titles of my posts filed under the category of “Evidence-Based Medicine” (see previous paragraph).   Interestingly enough, one of the only places that EBM is actually working is HERE; but it’s not being followed either.  

All of the studies mentioned today touted the flu shot as safe because people don’t tend to have immediate reactions (WHICH IS NOT COMPLETELY TRUE).  While I would largely agree with this, it is not the immediate reaction I am most concerned with.  It is the accumulative damage that year after year after year of forcing an ineffective and worthless vaccine on you might be having over the long haul (HERE and HERE are two examples of this).   Furthermore, if you are really wanting to avoid infections this winter, including the flu, my number one suggestion to you would be to avoid the Flu Shot and read THIS POST.  Oh; and don’t neglect to listen to Dr. Geier of Johns Hopkins discuss the stupidity / futility of the annual flu shot (BTW, he is not one of those crazy “ANTIVAXXERS“).

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