Take a look at these five Cochrane Database Reviews, published between 2006 and 2010, which call into serious question the claim that flu shots are the best way to stay healthy during the flu season.

Take a look at these five Cochrane Database Reviews, published between 2006 and 2010, which call into serious question the claim that flu shots are the best way to stay healthy during the flu season.
Last year, Cochrane reviewed the available scientific evidence that flu shots protect the elderly, and the results were abysmal. The authors concluded:
“The available evidence is of poor quality and provides no guidance regarding the safety, efficacy or effectiveness of influenza vaccines for people aged 65 years or older.”
Cochrane reviewers also evaluated whether or not flu shots given to health care workers can help protect the elderly patients in nursing homes with whom they work. The research did not find an effect from the vaccinations on laboratory-confirmed influenza. Influenza vaccinations were also not linked to a reduction in either pneumonia or deaths from pneumonia. In conclusion, the authors state:
“[T]here is no evidence that vaccinating health care workers prevents influenza in elderly residents in long-term care facilities.
Ditto for children. A large-scale, systematic review of 51 studies, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviewsii in 2006, found no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo in preventing influenza in children under two. The studies involved 260,000 children, age 6 to 23 months.
Two years, later, in 2008, another Cochrane reviewiii again concluded “little evidence is available” that the flu vaccine is effective in preventing influenza in children under the age of two.
As for the general adult population, Cochrane published the following bombshell conclusioniv last year:
“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.
WARNING: This review includes 15 out of 36 trials funded by industry (four had no funding declaration). An earlier systematic review of 274 influenza vaccine studies published up to 2007 found industry funded studies were published in more prestigious journals and cited more than other studies independently from methodological quality and size. Studies funded from public sources were significantly less likely to report conclusions favorable to the vaccines.
The review demonstrated that reliable scientific evidence confirming that influenza vaccines are effective is thin and there is plenty of reason to suspect that there may be a manipulation of conclusions when the studies are funded by drug companies. The content and conclusions of this review should be interpreted in light of this finding.”

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