How Well Does the Flu Vaccine Work?

While everyone seems to be recommending that we all get flu vaccines this winter, the evidence remains scant. The prestigious Cochrane Collaboration as recently reviewed the science behind our flu vaccine recommendations for well adults. According to these experts, the scientific studies show only minor benefits and rare but very serious side effects (Guillain-Barre Syndrome) when flu shots are given to well adults.

“Influenza vaccines have a modest effect in reducing influenza symptoms and working days lost. There is no evidence that they affect complications, such as pneumonia, or transmission”. …(vaccines) caused local harms and an estimated 1.6 additional cases of Guillain-Barré Syndrome per million vaccinations”.Jefferson T, Di Pietrantonj C et. al. (1999)

Then it actually gets worse. These mainstream scientific researchers point out that the deck appears to be stacked to make flu vaccines look good.   In other words, the meager benefits noted above may be an exaggeration and the harms may be understated. Below is the Jefferson T and Di Pietrantonj ‘s    group’s warning regarding the poor qualit,  the evidence and the way it has been handled

“WARNING: … 15 out of 36 trials funded by industry (four had no funding declaration)”. “The review showed that reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin but there is evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions and spurious notoriety of the studies. The content and conclusions of this review should be interpreted in light of this finding”.

Maybe all of the experts are right and we should all be getting flu shots, but it sure would be nice if they had some science to back up their recommendations.

Receiving his B.S. from Cornell University and his M.D. from Georgetown University School of Medicine, Dr. Michael Doyle is a board-certified family physician with nearly two decades of clinical experience. His background includes extensive experience in both conventional and alternative medicine.

Micheal Doyle, MD Michael E. Doyle, MD, is a board-certified family physician with nearly two decades of clinical experience. At Darien Integrative Medicine in Darien, Connecticut, he combines his extensive experience in both conventional and alternative medicine to offer his patients uniquely safe and effective care.

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