ONE MORE REASON TO QUESTION GETTING THE ANNUAL FLU SHOT
(IF YOU GOT A SHOT LAST YEAR, THIS YEAR’S SHOT IS EVEN LESS EFFECTIVE)
According to the authors, “Recent studies suggest that influenza vaccine effectiveness may wane over the course of an influenza season, leading to suboptimal effectiveness during late influenza seasons.” Which, of course, begs the question of just how bad this problem really is — i.e., how badly is vaccine effectiveness affected over the course of the months that make up flu season? CDC authors concluded that, “We observed decreasing vaccine effectiveness with increasing time. Maximum vaccine effectiveness was observed shortly after vaccination, followed by a decline….. Vaccine effectiveness remained greater than zero for at least six months for influenza A(H1N1) and influenza B and at least five months for influenza A(H3N2) viruses.” What kind of answer is “greater than zero“? The question we need to answer now is how rapidly did vaccine effectiveness erode before it effectively became zero? According to these authors, effectiveness of the vaccine waned at the rate of about 7-11% per month. But this statistic is both misleading and deceptive. Pay attention to Helen Branswell’s recent article (today) from the medical daily STAT (Can A Flu Shot Wear Off If You Get It Too Early? Perhaps, Scientists Say).
“A flurry of studies have since followed. A big one from Europe, published last April, looked at data from five flu seasons. It saw protection against the influenza A virus H3N2 decline to virtually nothing by four months after vaccination. The CDC study, which looked at data from four flu seasons, showed a more consistent pattern. Protection against all the two influenza A families and influenza B viruses all declined steadily in the months after vaccination, at a rate of about 7 percent per month. (The decline was a bit steeper for protection against H3N2 viruses.) That might seem small, but people aren’t starting from 100 percent protection. On average, flu vaccine is estimated to cut the risk of flu by about 50 percent or 60 percent — and some years, the protection is less than that, when the strains in the vaccine aren’t well-matched to those making people sick.”
Did you catch that? Even though COCHRANE has told us over and over again that the CDC’s starting point of 50 to 60 percent vaccine effectiveness is far too high for the flu shot (they found that vaccine-matched years occur once a decade), the CDC continues to promote fairy tales. At the end of last year’s flu season they admitted that it was something like 14% —- and then took the flu mist off the market because its effectiveness had been zero for at least three years (HERE). The study above showed that for all intents and purposes, halfway through flu season the shot’s effectiveness had gone to zero anyway. What does this really mean for those who trust the flu shot to protect them from A DISEASE THAT ISN’T REALLY MUCH OF A DISEASE? If you get the shot in September, by the first of the year it’s not worth a flip even if it were worth a flip to begin with.
But this isn’t even the most disgusting part. In Branswell’s article we found out what BIG PHARMA providing Americans with 150 million doses of flu vaccine is really about —- money. “Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said there’s enough evidence now to suggest early vaccination efforts — part of an attempt by commercial pharmacies to capture a bigger piece of the flu vaccine pie — should be discouraged. ‘I have been concerned for some time that we have gotten into the marketing of influenza vaccine versus the effective use of influenza vaccine.’” Isn’t that special. One of the big-wigs telling us what we learned from Randy Newman back in 1988 — It’s Money That Matters.“