Friday, October 23, 2009

Consider the Questionable Efficacy of Flu Vaccines (Opinion)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 by: Dana Ullman, MPH, citizen journalist

(NaturalNews) Evidence to date suggests that the H1N1 flu is not a major threat, and there is little evidence that flu vaccines are effective in preventing the flu, so says Tom Jefferson, MD, arguably the world's leading expert on influenza vaccines.

Dr. Jefferson has authored 10 reviews of research on the influenza vaccine for the Cochrane Collaboration, which is a widely recognized leading international science institution that evaluates clinical research.

Jefferson notes that Australia has just completed its wintertime, and only 131 deaths related to the flu occurred this year. Because Australia's population is 22 million people, this death rate is not significant. One does not need to predict the future when the future has already happened somewhere else.

Jefferson's previous detailed analyses of flu vaccines show very little efficacy in providing real health benefits. Jefferson's team asserted strongly, "There is not enough evidence to decide whether routine vaccination to prevent influenza in healthy adults is effective."(1) Jefferson's research confirmed that flu vaccination did reduce slightly the number of adults experiencing confirmed influenza, but there were increased numbers of adults experiencing "influenza-like illness" (its symptoms are similar to the flu, though are presumably causes by other viruses, not the flu viruses). The bottom line is that the number of adults needing to go to the hospital or take time off from work did not change between those adults giving the flu vaccine and those who did not.

Although the media commonly promotes the flu vaccine for children, Jefferson and his research group summarized their investigation on this subject by asserting, "National policies for the vaccination of healthy young children are based on very little evidence."(2) They expressed strongest concern about the lack of efficacy and safety of flu vaccination of infants two years of age and under. They did note that the flu vaccine is effective in reducing the flu in children over two years of age, but they found little evidence that the flu vaccine was even effective in reducing school absences. Further, they found "no convincing evidence that vaccines can reduce mortality, hospital admissions, serious complications and community transmission of influenza.


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