Reassessing Flu Shots as the Season Draws Near
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of New York Times
Posted: December 16th, 2019
It's flu-shot season, and public health officials are urging everyone over 6 months of age to get one. For vaccine manufacturers, it's a bonanza: Influenza shots ... are a multibillion-dollar global business. But how good are they? Last month, in a step tantamount to heresy in the public health world, scientists at the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota released a report saying that influenza vaccinations provide only modest protection for healthy young and middle-age adults, and little if any protection for those 65 and older. Moreover, the report's authors concluded, federal vaccination recommendations ... are based on inadequate evidence and poorly executed studies. Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy [stated,] "It does not protect as promoted. It's all a sales job: it's all public relations." While researching the report ... the authors discovered a recurring error in influenza vaccine studies that led to an exaggeration of the vaccine's effectiveness. They also discovered 30 inaccuracies in the statement on influenza vaccines put forth by the expert panel that develops vaccine recommendations, all of which favor the vaccine. The new report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy is not the first to point out the shortcomings of influenza vaccines, however. The Cochrane Collaboration, an international network of experts that evaluates medical research, concluded in a 2010 review that the vaccines ... have minimal impact in seasons when vaccines and viruses are mismatched.
Note: A 2020 study on the annual flu vaccine in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluded that "no evidence indicated that vaccination reduced hospitalizations or mortality among elderly persons." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources.