Should I Get the Flu Shot? CDC Data Raise Concerns
In February the CDC revealed that the 2014-2015 influenza vaccine had an efficacy rate of only 19 percent. If that was not bad enough, in June the CDC’s committee that advises on immunization practices announced that nasal spray flu vaccines should not be used in the 2016-2017 flu season because, in the CDC’s own words, “no protective benefit could be measured” from taking them.
Indeed, numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies have shown that the flu vaccine is not effective either at reducing the flu or reducing flu-related deaths.
When a team of researchers at the National Institutes of Health compared flu vaccine rates with influenza-related illness over a 19-year period, from 1980 to 1999, they found that deaths from the flu increased as vaccination rates increased. “In conclusion, the increase in elderly influenza vaccination coverage in the U.S. after 1980 was not accompanied by a decline in influenza-related mortality,” the researchers concluded.
A study, led by a researcher at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, found that increasing vaccination coverage did not correlate with declining mortality and the decline in influenza-related mortality could not be attributed to the flu vaccine but was rather the result of naturally acquired immunity. Observational studies crediting the flu vaccine with contributing to decreased deaths from the flu, “substantially overestimate vaccination benefit,” these researchers concluded.
A study published in the American Journal of Perinatology of vaccine effectiveness in pregnant women in Northern California across five flu seasons found that women who received flu vaccines during pregnancy had the same risk for influenza-like illness as unvaccinated women, and infants born to women who received flu vaccines also had the same risks for influenza or pneumonia as infants born to unvaccinated women. In other words, vaccine status made no difference to whether or not pregnant women or their offspring got the flu.
A study published in Pediatrics International of Japanese children ages 6 months to 2 years who were vaccinated against the flu found that the influenza vaccine did not reduce the rate of influenza A infections in children under two.
CDC Presents Updated Estimates of Flu Vaccine Effectiveness for the 2014-2015 Season
Flu vaccine did not protect against drifted H3N2 viruses, but protected against vaccine-like H3N2 and B viruses
On February 26, 2015, updated interim influenza (flu) vaccine effectiveness (VE) estimates for the current 2014-2015 season were presented to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The updated VE estimate against influenza A H3N2 viruses was 18% (95% confidence interval (CI): 6%-29%).This result is similar to the VE point estimate of 23%, which was reported in a January 16 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) and confirms reduced protection against H3N2 viruses this season. The VE estimate against influenza B viruses this season was 45% (95% CI: 14% – 65%).
How well the flu vaccine works can vary depending on a number of factors, including the similarity between circulating influenza viruses and vaccine viruses, and the age, health or immune status of the person vaccinated. The findings for VE against H3N2 viruses this season are about one-third of the VE expected when the flu vaccine is well matched to circulating influenza viruses. The VE against influenza B viruses this season is similar to the effectiveness observed when vaccine viruses and most circulating viruses are well matched.
ACIP votes down use of LAIV for 2016-2017 flu season
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, June 22, 2016
CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) today voted that live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), also known as the “nasal spray” flu vaccine, should not be used during the 2016-2017 flu season. ACIP continues to recommend annual flu vaccination, with either the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) or recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV), for everyone 6 months and older.
ACIP is a panel of immunization experts that advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This ACIP vote is based on data showing poor or relatively lower effectiveness of LAIV from 2013 through 2016.