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Flu Vaccines Don’t Work Very Well Either

By January 10, 2023Commentary

One reason to be dubious about the potential effectiveness of the CV-19 vaccines was the unimpressive track record of the influenza vaccines.  I and others were probably more hopeful than we should have been that the new mRNA approach might improve respiratory vaccine effectiveness, but no such luck.  A couple of recent articles on flu vaccine effectiveness highlight the issue.  The first was carried out between October of 2021 and April of 2022, during the typical peak of flu season.  The study design wasn’t ideal, at seven sites patients were enrolled who came in with respiratory symptoms including a cough.  People who tested positive for CV-19 were excluded and there were a large number of them.  Since co-infection is often seen, not sure why they should be excluded.  The nominal reason was some strong confluence between those who got vaxed for CV-19 and for flu, but so what, just do the analysis across various subgroups.

In any event, effectiveness was only around 36%, which the authors attempted to promote as beneficial.  I don’t think so.  Apparently, the mix of the flu vaccine missed a particular antigen which turned out to be common.  And for the elderly, effectiveness was 10%.  Whoopee.  A very high number of people had CV-19 infections, and since there was a high percentage of CV-19 vaxed people, another sign that those vax are not particularly effective.  The average age of the flu infection was 19, whereas it was 37 for CV-19.   (Flu Study)

The second study was published by the CDC itself.  Let me just quote the authors’ summary:  “Based on data from 3636 children, adolescents, and adults with acute respiratory infection during October 4, 2021–February 12, 2022, seasonal influenza vaccination did not reduce the risk for outpatient respiratory illness caused by influenza A(H3N2) viruses that have predominated so far this season.”   Hmmm, don’t think I can add to that.   (CDC Study)

The limited effectiveness of the flu vax doesn’t mean some people can’t benefit from them, especially more vulnerable older people, but in the usual human biology irony, vaccines typically prompt a lesser immune response from the elderly.

Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • David says:

    I’ve never taken the flu vaccine. I’m old-fashioned and accept that illnesses come & go. I don’t blame anybody if I catch something and I battle the symptoms until the war is won. My unscientific observation is 10-30% of the people I’ve seen get the flu vaccine, end up with flu symptoms shortly afterward. I learned that the present year’s vaccine is based on the strain from last year. I’d rather take my chances.
    Especially after the covid debacle, I am very skeptical of anything promoted by the medical machine.

  • joe Kosanda says:

    FWIW – Back in the mid 1980’s – I recall a study that number of man hours lost getting the flu vaccine exceeded the man hours lost from actually getting the flu ( Man hours being the number of hours worked ).

  • Cooter says:

    I understand that if a vaccine misses the target, the effect on the patient’s immune system is potentially harmful.

    What say you?

  • David Black says:

    Thanks for this update about the flu effectiveness. I read the referenced CDC study and see that they continue to recommend shots, even with a lack of evidence that they help. In fact they hurt. I went into this subject fairly deeply and wrote up the results of flu effectiveness studies here:

  • Ben the Layabout says:

    Cochrane, an independent (at least used to be) investigator, found ca. 2018 that influenza vaccines had (per my notes):
    For older adults, reduce risk of catching influenza from about 6% to 2.4%
    For younger, the improvement was from 2.3% to 0.9%.
    Note that the above are absolute rates. If stated in relative terms, as they are normally presented, they sound much better. Yes, flu vaccine helps, but it reduces a very small risk just a bit more.

    Rarely, if ever, are the risks of adverse events considered. They are difficult to document and often what data is collected is hidden and refused to outside investigators.

  • DuluthGuy says:

    About 12 years ago, I had an awful cold/flu that lasted a good 6 weeks or so. For several years afterward, I made sure I ate better (at least a little bit) and took vitamin D pills (5,000 iu) daily from October-April. I didn’t anything more than a minor cold for several years. Then about 4 years ago when we were having a child, we were told very strongly by our doctor to make sure we both got the flu shot. It was the first time I got it at least since I was a child. So I got the flu shot that year. I probably didn’t eat as good without as much spare time, but did take my vitamin D pills the same as in the past. And as it happens, I got pretty sick for a good two weeks that season not all that long after I took the flu shot. It wasn’t quite as long lasting as the one I had many years earlier, but I’ll probably never take the flu shot again. I don’t think there’s anything nefarious about the shot, I just think it’s worthless.

    This year I had a very nasty cold that lasted a good 2.5-3 weeks, the same time as my kids did. I definitely didn’t eat as healthy this year and I’m sure that probably made it worse.

  • JT says:

    All vaccines are suspect for effectiveness vs. risk. Most of the world’s major diseases are related to nutrition and cleanliness. You can’t take government money more than once without providing them with a future income stream … all research is rooted in this paradigm. Today’s perverted relationships between government funding, research universities, regulatory bureaucracies and the pharmaceutical industrial complex needs to be torn down and rebuilt.

    Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and The Forgotten History – July 27, 2013
    by Suzanne Humphries MD (Author), Roman Bystrianyk (Author)

    • Kevin Roche says:

      You must be feeling better, JT, you are back to the semi-conspiracy theories. Most vaccines, especially for children, have been immense life-savers. There is nothing wrong with vaccines.

  • JT says:

    I don’t write the books, just share other perspectives that use well referenced data to construct their arguments. Your feedback makes it sound as though you’ve read the book … what in it rings the conspiracy bell? I stop by here to learn, not argue …

    • Kevin Roche says:

      general tone of book is to ignore the actual evidence and focus on made-up theories and cherrypicked articles. Statins alone have decreased heart disease deaths enormously. The massive decrease in infant and toddler mortality is largely due to vaccines against infectious disease.

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