Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Don't get Flu Shots
New hype over flu shots doesn’t match reality by William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.
It’s that time of year again… and no, I’m not talking about the approaching holidays.
It’s the time of year when they’ll say just about anything, no matter how absurd, to get more patients to roll up their sleeves for a flu shot — like the claim from a new study that supposedly finds the vaccine is “60 percent effective” at preventing the flu.
Makes it sound like 60 percent of the people who get the shot are protected from the flu, right?
That sounded a little on the high side to me — like around 60 percent too high — so I dug a little deeper. Sure enough, the study actually proves what I’ve been saying all along: Statistically speaking, the shot protects practically no one.
In fact, the data from 31 studies published over the past 44 years finds that pretty much no one even gets the flu in the first place.
An exaggeration? Maybe — but not by much, because despite the media’s annual flu-shot frenzy, the study finds that it’s simply a non-event: Just 2.7 percent of the unvaccinated and 1.2 percent of those who do get the shot come down with the disease in any given year.
On paper, that’s a difference of 60 percent, but the ABSOLUTE reduction in risk isn’t even close to 60 percent — it’s a measly 1.5 percent.
Whoop-de-doo… and believe it or not, even that number is a little on the high side, because other studies haven’t been nearly as generous.
One analysis released earlier this year found no evidence the shot reduced the rate of hospitalization or slowed the spread of the disease. That study even found that the little evidence FOR flu shots came from studies that were rigged by vaccine makers.
But while the benefits may be nonexistent, the potential risks are all too real: Flu shots have been linked to fatigue, pain, nerve damage, seizures, paralysis and even death.
The bottom line here is you can do everything wrong and still not get the flu — but if you want to slash your odds even further, don’t waste your time with a vaccine.
Work on good hygiene and a strong immune system instead